Many are going to want to start questioning the direction of the team after back to back losses, and some might even start blaming the wrong people (first comment if the link doesn't work properly), but let's take a moment to put the past two weeks into perspective.
- Week 4: Saints 24, Jets 10 - Yes this was not a good game. Mark Sanchez finally showed his inexperience and made a couple of bad errors (the throw into coverage that Sharper took 99 yards, the fumble Ayodele took back to the house as well). However, after the game, I felt that more than Sanchez's play was the play calling after their best offensive quarter ended in a pick six. Take a look at the drive log for the first quarter:
Result 8:06 3:27 NYJ 20 7 42 Punt 2:59 3:14 NO 49 6 34 Int
The offense gained 76 yards on 13 plays. 6 of the next 8 drives went 3 (or less) and out. There was the costly fumble in there, but mostly I blamed Brian Schottenheimer for getting too conservative and overprotecting his rookie.
The play call ratio on the first quarter drives was 7 pass plays to 6 run plays. Nice, and balanced. The play calling for the next 8? 14:19 Run vs. Pass. Still pretty balanced, especially considering how your playcalling changes when you're down 2 scores late in the game. So perhaps I was wrong, and Sanchez did deserve all of the blame for that loss. Still, the defense had only allowed 10 points to the number one offense in the league to that point. That in itself was a small victory.
- Week 5: Miami 31, Jets 27 - So its obvious after the previous outing by the new franchise, the goal for this week is to bounce back and shake off any of the bad feelings from the week before. Let's have a look at the stat line last week to this week:
Att Com Yards TDs TOs Rate 30 17 171 0 4 20.7 24 12 172 1 0 87.5
So those aren't exactly numbers that set the world on fire. His completion percentage actually went down 1.9%, and he only had 1 TD. However, Braylon Edwards dropped what should have been a touchdown, and the referees overturned what also should have been a touchdown. So it should have been as many as 3 TDs. In fact, there were a lot of positive things about Mark's performance. The biggest being no turnovers.
The defense, however, was another story. Last week's defense gave way to the one that played Tennessee the week before + 14 more points allowed. There was no defensive touchdowns for the Dolphins. 31 points allowed is almost as much as the defense has allowed in the entire season thus far: 36 points between the Texans (Top 5 offense last year, have since been a top offense this year as well), the Patriots (held without a touchdown for the first time in a long time, especially with Tom Brady under center), the Titans (#1 seed last year has fallen quite far since then), and the Saints (10 points allowed by the #1 offense in the league this year).
How could a defense that has stopped such vaunted offenses go to sleep on the #1 rushing offense in the league? Rex Ryan has preached third down stops since he came over from Baltimore (and probably before). Tonight, the Jets allowed 9 of 14 on third down. The usual blitzes that Rex loves to utilize to great success came up empty tonight. Zero sacks, only a few hurries. But most of all, I believe Chad Henne was the difference in this game. I'm not going to start crowning him after two starts, but he is showing great ability in the NFL thus far. However, I think more than his ability was perhaps the lack of film on Henne. As I said, it was his second start in the NFL. Sure there's preseason tape, and tape from last week against the Bills, but overall the Jets know more about Chad Pennington (who did not have a deep threat in him) than Chad Henne (who obviously does).
However, one thing I can certainly give Rex and the Jets credit for is bouncing back. They've been a team that is better in the second half than the first all year to this point. They are fantastic at making adjustments (as evidenced by Rex's postgame speech as seen on Sound FX on NFL Network, praising his defense for allowing just 40 yards of passing in the second half in the win against the Titans) and I have no doubt that the upcoming schedule of Buffalo and Oakland (a trap game a year ago) will no doubt reawaken the Jets.