EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Three months later, the ill-fated decision to play Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of the third preseason game still hovers over the New York Jets. Rex Ryan can't get away from it.
"It's easy when you look back on things," said Ryan, who was asked about it after Sunday's 23-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins. "Injuries are part of the game. Anytime a player gets hurt, you regret that. There's no question about it. If I focus on what's behind us, it's not going to help us right now. No matter what my personal opinion is on that ... all I know is what's in front of us right now. We have to find a way. I'm not going to dwell on this or that. We just have to look forward and do what's best for the team right now."
It's an issue because, once again, the Jets are at a loss at quarterback. Ryan benched an ineffective Geno Smith at halftime, but Matt Simms failed to provide a spark. Going forward, Ryan's choices are a Smith, Simms and veteran David Garrard, who hasn't played in nearly three years.
Sanchez, two months removed from season-ending surgery, made his first appearance on the Jets' sideline.
Playoff picture: It ain't pretty. At 5-7, the Jets are behind the Dolphins (6-6) and Baltimore Ravens (6-6) for the final wild-card spot -- and both teams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets.
Afterward, a few players sounded like they've surrendered in the playoff chase.
"It's not like the season is over ... well, it might be record-wise," tight end Kellen Winslow said. "But it's still football and we still love the game."
What happened to the pass rush? Ryan Tannehill was sacked a league-high 44 times in the Dolphins' first 11 games. The Jets' defensive line should've had a field day, but they managed only one sack (Quinton Coples).
"It's not just the defense, it's the whole team," defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. "We haven't played great ball in all three phases -- offense, defense or special teams."