There seem to be a couple of misperceptions about the Jets recently that I'd like to dispel. The first is that the Jets are 6-2 because they're winning really close games, often with a significant dose of luck. Some people here have been arguing that this is the sign of a championship team, that they're able to put together enough points in the final minute of a tough situation; others are saying that if they need that luck, then they're not really that good. While these last minute heroics are what we remember, that's not quite what's happening.
Of the Jets 8 games, three have been decided by more than one score; NE, MIA, and Buffalo.* The Jets won all three. Of the five games that have been within one score, the Jets have gone 3-2.
*(I'm counting both MIN and GB as being within one score, because the last score in both games was effectively after the game was over. One of them being a win, and the other being a loss means that it doesn't really change the point no matter which category you put them in)
Why does this matter? Simply put, good teams don't win the close ones; they win enough games by wide margins and don't lose any by the same margin, that even if they go .500 in close games, they have winning records. What's appearing as luck for the Jets is that they have managed to put together a scoring drive in tough circumstances. They did that in rousing fashion in Denver and Detroit (twice). They failed to do it in Baltimore and Green Bay. In Minnesota, it was their defense which held together at the critical moment to give the Jets the win. All of these games could have gone either way, but every football game can go either way. In three games the Jets pulled it off. In two they didn't.
Point #2; In this last game, the concern with Sanchez has been continuing, noting that he went 23-38, and that his yardage totals were boosted by a few big passes. To which my only response can be --- Ummm....so what?
The reason why QBs pass is to get the big yardage gains. By that measure, Sanchez had a terrific game. Despite throwing 38 times, he was only intercepted once, and averaged nearly 9 yards per pass. I watched the game, and I understand that it would have been a lot more soothing had he completed another 7 passes, even if he ended up with the same total yardage; but that wouldn't have made the Jets much more likely to win the game.
Point #3 - It looks to me like we learned a few things about the Jets yesterday.
One is that they have the capability to make big passing plays. It wasn't just Braylon Edwards. It wasn't just Santonio Holmes' huge catch. It was Dustin Keller stepping up for some big catches, after not being targeted for a while. It was Jerricho Cotchery bringing down a big pass too. Some people have said that Holmes' catch doesn't count as a long pass because most of the yardage was after the catch. But clearly it's a sign that the Jets' total passing game - QB and WR - have high upside. Sanchez was close to make this stuff happen in previous games, but yesterday he did.
A second is that the top 2 CBs are extraordinary. A combined 2 receptions is fantastic against any 2 WRs, but especially so when one is named Calvin Johnson.
A third is that though Sanchez still can't really throw a short pass, he kind of learned how to throw a screen. 8 receptions for 56 yards by LT and Greene is a nice improvement.
Quite clearly, the Jets have a lot of problems. I learned yesterday precisely why Rex Ryan drafted Kyle Wilson, and it's evident that the Jets have real holes in their secondary beyond Revis and Cromartie. They need to come up with some way to produce a consistent pass rush. They also need to figure out a role for Greene and LT that makes the offense more consistent, while preserving its ability to score big points. But all in all, I'm confident they will. Not because they won this game, but because they are never out of these games, and have often dismantled opponents.