Earlier this week, Ryan Fitzpatrick described the fact that his first start as a Buccaneer would come against his old team as "very ironic". Jets fans dreaded the prospect of losing to a guy whose knocking-them-out-of-postseason-contention days they assumed were in the past.
Sure enough, like a black fly in your chardonnay, the Jets lost 15-10 and their playoff chances now seem spent.
Obviously, Fitzpatrick returning to the starting line-up against his old team isn't ironic at all. You'd expect someone smart enough to get a scholarship to a prestigious university such as Harvard to be the last person to perpetuate the widespread misconception that Americans don't understand the concept of irony. I find this to be contrary to expectations in a way that seems almost too convenient to be accidental.
When the league upheld the Mike Evans suspension, this seemed like good news for the Jets, but it meant that Chris Godwin was inserted into the starting lineup and the rookie responded by coming up with a career-high five catches for 68 yards, four of which went for first downs.
Fitzpatrick likely had better chemistry with Godwin than he would have had with Evans because that's who he'd have been primarily working with in practice and during preseason. So, there was a level of incongruity between the situation Evans' absence was expected to create and what actually happened in reality.
With Evans out, DeSean Jackson was the primary target and the Jets got a boost prior to the game when Morris Claiborne was announced as active and back in the line-up. However, by matching up a gimpy Claiborne with their primary target the Jets probably ended up making themselves worse off than they would have been had they instead just tried to scheme around his absence.
Eventually, after Jackson had three early catches, Claiborne went back to the sideline and, in a way that subverted expectations, the Jets shut Jackson down for the rest of the first half and he had less production over the remainder of the game.
Of course, what really would have been ironic was if Fitzpatrick, having found himself starting against his old team, played just as badly as he usually did to compel the team to decide to get rid of him and yet still managed to win the game because the Jets somehow managed to be even worse. And that's what happened.
When all's said and done, the Jets probably would have been better prepared and less likely to come out flat if Evans and Jameis Winston has played, which would probably have led to them winning. This strikes me as...um, what's the word I'm looking for here?
And as the Jets went down, I said "Well, isn't this nice?"
Much more "proper" analysis to come over the next few days, starting early tomorrow morning...