Jets QB Mark Sanchez dropped the ball this year, leading to a late-season benching. (US Presswire)

The New York Jets' 2012 season included many more lowlights than highlights. Finishing 6-10, the worst record in Rex Ryan’s four years as head coach, the team struggled all year with injuries and events that seemed unbelievable. There were a few bright spots, and the team remained united throughout, unlike 2011 when the locker room fractured.


  • RB Shonn Greene rushing for 1,000 yards for a second consecutive season -- The ground and pound wasn’t consistent, but Greene had a solid year going over the 1,000-yard mark in Week 17 against the Bills. It's a tribute to Greene, who split a fair amount of time with RB Bilal Powell. Powell, who missed several games with a shoulder injury, finished the season with 437 yards.

  • CB Antonio Cromartie’s improvement -- It took until Week 17 for a receiver to have a 100-yard game against the Jets (Bills Stevie Johnson, 111 yards), and Cromartie was a big reason why. When CB Darrelle Revis went down with an ACL injury, Cromartie stepped up his game and became the cornerback the team was confident he could be. He finished the season with modest stats (35 tackles, three interceptions, one pick-6 and 13 passes defensed), but that's largely because quarterbacks avoided him. His play was clearly noted by Jets’ opponents. Cromartie made the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2006, when he was with the Chargers.

  • DL Muhammad Wilkerson -- The team’s first-round pick in 2011 had a solid rookie season and didn't follow it up with a sophomore slump. In fact, he became one of the most reliable and productive members of the defense. Although there is a rotation in the front seven, Wilkerson played the majority of snaps all year long and finished the season with 70 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four passes defensed. On special teams, he blocked a field goal against the Titans.


  • Tie: The season-ending injuries to CB Darrelle Revis and WR Santonio Holmes  -- In Week 3 against the Dolphins, Revis went down with a torn ACL, ending his season. The Jets relied on the NFL’s best corner to shut down the league’s best receivers by himself, freeing up others on the defense. His loss caused a reconfiguration of the Jets defense, which had its worst finish since the arrival of coach Rex Ryan in 2009. In Week 4 against the 49ers, Holmes landed awkwardly and came down clutching his left leg. It turned out to be a LisFranc injury in his foot and Holmes, the team’s No. 1 receiver, was placed on injured reserve.

  • The Butt Fumble -- With things going from bad to worse in their 49-19 Thanksgiving night loss to the Patriots, QB Mark Sanchez, on a busted play, accidently slid into RG Brandon Moore’s backside. Sanchez fumbled, and it was recovered by the Patriots and returned for a touchdown.

  • QB Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions against the Titans on Monday night football -- Sanchez finished the season with 18 interceptions (a total of 26 turnovers), five of which he threw against the Titans, matching his game high of five thrown against the Bills in his rookie year. It was the final straw for coach Rex Ryan, who benched him the following week.

Stay dialed in on the New York Jets by following correspondent Lisa Zimmerman on Twitter @CBSJets and @LisaZimmerman.