4-6. Right where we want to be. The Jets will talk a lot in the coming days about the fact that they were 4-6 in 2009. And you know what happened after that – they went on to win 5 of their next 6 en route the AFC championship game in Indy. But that was a very different Jets team – one with a top 5 run game and a top 5 defense. And while we looked like we had both of those things today, I don’t necessarily see the Jets replicating this performance each week for the rest of the year.
But a win is a win is a win as they say. And while the Rams are a bad, bad team (I wonder which team Schotty wishes he was still coaching?), there were a few encouraging things to take away from this game.
- QB – A very efficient game for Mark Sanchez, and his first turnover-free game in a long time. He was shaky early and sacked 3 times in the 1st half, but he steadied and made some nice throws. The throw of the game in my opinion was when he looked right, and then checked down to the left for a 25 yard pass to the TE Reuland, which set up the 1st of Powell’s TDs. He showed patience and poise on that throw and it left me wondering, where has that been all year? And it’s no coincidence that Sanchez had one of his best games while Tebow had a season-low in snaps. I think this game proved once again that the Tebow experiment has been a colossal failure.
- RB – Forget about a QB controversy; might we have an RB controversy on our hands? Unlikely, but it was really nice to see Powell and McKnight have an impact. Powell had career TDs no. 1 and no. 2 and showed some nice burst in the 4th quarter. McKnight seemed to make things happen every time he touched the ball – MORE carries please! And Greene was solid, but not spectacular – typical Greene. Solid blocking by the O-line as well. A game to build on for sure.
- Receivers – Despite a number of key drops by Stephen Hill (it’s crazy to think the Jets thought this guy would have an impact in his rookie year. He will be a stud in 1-2 years, but he is RAW), the receivers had a solid day. Kerley continues to make big, clutch plays, and Schillens had his best game as a Jet with a beautiful 25 yard TD. They still miss Santonio’s game-breaking abilities, but this squad is coming along nicely.
- D-Line – This was the defensive line’s most impressive game of the year, primarily due to another studly performance from Mo Wilkerson, who is quickly becoming one of the best D-lineman in the game. He’s established himself as a dominant force on the edge, and the rare lineman that can stay in on rushing and passing downs. And with Coples coming on strong, it’s clear the Jets will have a pair of beastly defensive ends the likes of which we haven’t seen since John Abraham, Jeff Lageman and the New York Sack Exchange days.
- LBs – Bart Scott is slow. Great recovery of the fumble by Wilkerson, but man is he slow. You are seeing the last few games of Scott in a Jets uniform.
- CBs – Another great game by Cromartie – he’s really stepped up since Revis his been hurt. The hit he levelled on Pettis was bone-crushing. And Laron Landry continues to be a force in the defensive backfield – one of the few great offseason moves by Tanny and hopefully someone we can resign. Ditto for Yeremiah Bell.
Special Teams – What happened to the days when the Jets were one of the top units in the NFL? A blocked FG – the 4th this year! – and a botched fake punt, just in the 1st half. And if it weren’t for a holding call, they would have given up a 100 yard KO return for a TD. Nick Folk continues to be solid in the kicking game, but this unit is a shell of its former self.
Coaching – Credit to Rex for pulling the team together after a brutal start to the game. The team stayed focused, and they executed a very efficient game plan on offense and an opportunistic one on defense. It was especially impressive given all of the distractions during the week. This would have been a very easy game for the Jets to lose, and with that, the season would be over. But now they have a glimmer of hope.
And now the Pats come to town on Thursday Night – Thanksgiving. This has the makings of either being the win that truly turns around the Jets’ season and catapults them into the playoffs (look at the rest of the schedule) or a beatdown of epic proportions that exposes the team for what they really are. If history repeats itself, we are unfortunately in for the latter. Just look at the last 2 seasons when the Jets played the Pats in a big spot (excluding the playoffs) – it usually doesn’t end well. I hope I’m wrong, but this has destruction written all over it.
But at least we have a reason to watch as we digest our turkey and stuffing (here in London my Dad and I will be watching over a cup of coffee at 7am – no spoilers!). This win should quiet down the critics for a week, and should definitely quiet down the Tebow talk. In fact, he might be the only guy that’s not excited about this win. But that said, we shouldn’t get too excited about things – this was a win over a very bad team (lots of parallels between these two teams with Bradford being drafted no. 1, just 4 spots ahead of Sanchez in the 2009 draft). Next week is a much truer test. We will find out for sure if this team is “close” as Rex would have you believe each week, or on their way to a 2nd straight playoff-less season.