All is well again. The Jets are back over .500. They finally got a win on the West Coast and totally dominated their opponent. Sure, it was an opponent that couldn't have looked less dangerous, but a win is a win in the National Football League. It sure beats losing to the Bills (or the Raiders a year ago). The Jets can go into next week's showdown with the Dolphins feeling good about themselves.
More after the jump.
Commitment to the Run: Some of us have been begging Brian Schottenheimer for over a year to just use his terrific stable of backs and his big offensive line and just pound opponents with the ground game. All it took was a rookie quarterback meltdown to finally deliver it. I love the 55-15 run to pass ratio. In future weeks, not every team will be as outclassed up front as the Raiders. That disparity will have to go down. It's just nice to see the Jets finally focus on the ground game. The tendency in the past has been to start putting it up when things don't click early. Today it was a bit of a struggle early, but the Jets kept with their gameplan of pounding it and eventually worked into a groove and wore Oakland out up front. The end result is a second consecutive game with over 300 yards on the ground.
The Offensive Line: Just a dominant performance up front one through five. The guys had holes to hit all day long. Things are finally clicking for this unit with a physical opponent coming up.
Shonn Greene: For whatever reason, some talented rookies don't get a chance to shine until the team has no choice. I think back to a pair of promising inside linebackers the Jets had earlier in the decade. Jonathan Vilma couldn't sniff the field until Sam Cowart got hurt. Ditto David Harris three years later until Vilma went down. Enter Greene. Shonn looked really good in limited action prior to today. The coaches still wouldn't give him much playing time. Today Leon Washington's injury forced the Jets to play Greene. The result? 19 carries, 144 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He looked like a complete runner. He showed he had the vision and burst to hit the holes, the power to break tackles, and a second burst running away from defenders that frankly took me aback. The book on Greene is that he's a power runner. I know the opponent stunk, but we have something special on our hands.
Thomas Jones: Struggled early but got stronger as the game went on and wore the Raiders out. A second straight big outing, 121 yards on 26 carries.
David Clowney: We're seeing this guy mature as a receiver. The knock on him has always been he's a one trick pony, a guy who can run the vertical route. What I saw today really impressed me. He showed a lot of intelligence breaking off his route on a third down when the Raiders brought heat on Mark Sanchez. He run a good comeback route on one of his receptions. He made a great adjustment on the football on his long touchdown reception. This is a guy who is improving in front of our eyes. With Leon Washington out, the Jets need to find a new homerun threat. This could be an answer.
The Fake Punt: Three for three this year. This was clearly the Jets scouting out the Raiders and Oakland not correcting what it's been doing wrong. There was no way that was ever going to fail the way the Raiders just immediately released down the field, not even looking at the punter. Give the quality control coaches a game ball.
Calvin Pace: Nice to see Pace being the difference maker this defense needs him to be. 7 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. As teams use more maximum protection schemes against their blitzes, the Jets are going to need guys to win one on one matchups. Pace is going to play a big role. It's great to see him swatting when the quarterback leaves the ball exposed. His strip sack on the first play was huge. It seems like the Raiders just resigned themselves to a long day after that.
Darrelle Revis: He's in here every week. He dominated his assignments and had a great interception.
Dwight Lowery: It looks like he's passed Donald Strickland on the depth chart, and it's easy to see why considering all the plays he made when the ball came in his direction. The Jets have to be thinking twice about the Lito Sheppard trade given Sheppard's inability to stay on the field and Lowery's return to his early 2008 playmaking form.
Total Defense: There were some outstanding individual performances, but the defense pitched a shutout. Three of the four turnovers were forced by intense pressure. Always great to get the other quarterback benched.
Leon Washington's Injury: As great as it was to find out about Shonn Greene, there had to be a better way than losing Leon. He's going to be missed big time, especially next week. He always gives the Dolphins fits.
Howard Green and Sione Pouha: And I could put the other defensive linemen there. They weren't getting off thier blocks well enough and allowed too many big runs. That's scary with a physical offensive line and the Dolphins up next week.
Bart Scott's Injury: What's a guy that valuable doing on the field with 3:00 left in a 38 point game?
Mark Sanchez's Antics: I know a lot of you will disagree with me, but I really was upset with what I saw out of Mark Sanchez today. You stunk last week. The team took the keys from you. Stop showing up your opponent by throwing the ball through the goal post after a 3 yard run in open field or eating a hot dog on the sidelines. Show some respect for the other team. Act like you're totally focused. You still have a lot to learn. You're not good enough yet to be doing that stuff.
- The next time you call an NFL player greedy for complaining about his contract, think of Leon Washington. Leon did everything right. He didn't hold out. Now because of his serious injury, he may very well lose out. I know. He's making way more than you are or I am. We're not also playing a violent game for a living that will affect us for the rest of our lives at a position when a career span is under 10 years.
- Nice touch pouring the Gatorade on Bill Callahan. Great to see Rex leading it. It's stuff like this that makes the team love its coach, and it's why I believe these guys are going to keep battling for him. Keep the faith with our coach.
- Braylon Edwards' hidden effect was shown today. He was constantly drawing double teams, opening things up for David Clowney. Look out for Jerricho Cotchery once he gets better.
- This was the original formula, pound the ball, let the defense dominate, and don't ask too much of the quarterback. It's kind of a credit to Sanchez it took the Jets this long to get to it. He showed he was capable of handling more up to last week.
Great way to bounce back. The Raiders weren't much of a test. In fact, they seemed content handing the Jets the game. Still, a nice confidence builder heading into the Miami game.