There was panic in New York last week after the loss in the opener to the Ravens. The Jets looked lousy. This week we saw what happens when everything is working. The result was dominating a team that dominated a division winner itself a week ago. The Jets are 1-1, and the AFC East looks like it will be a season long street fight.
More after the jump.
Mark Sanchez: See, Mark, you have a lot of weapons. Using them is a good thing. Playing quarterback in the league isn't easy. A quarterback cannot be successful taking no chances. A quarterback also cannot be successful playing with reckless abandon. Sanchez showed too much of the former last week and too much of the latter during his rookie campaign. Playing quarterback in the NFL is not easy. Finding that mix is very tough. It is why few at the position are really good. Today we saw that Sanchez does indeed have that potential. He was 21 for 30 with 220 yards, and 3 touchdowns. His accuracy wasn't the best at times. He'll need to work on it, but that is part of the reason the Jets got him so many weapons. These guys don't need everything to be perfect to make plays. They just need a quarterback to put them in a position to make them.
Mark faced a lot of adversity today. He was criticized all week. His offensive line did him no favors as he was often rushed and hit. He still stood tall. This is definitely a game on which to build.
LaDainian Tomlinson: When the Jets signed him, I said it does not come back for running backs once they lose it. Perhaps that is true for everybody other than LT. He looks as good as he ever has. He had 76 yards on 11 carries. Tack on his 24 yards on 4 receptions, and the future Hall of Famer had a 100 yard day from scrimmage. I'm seeing things I did not see from him in San Diego last year. He's running with authority. He's decisive making his cuts. He's making people miss.
Shonn Greene: The stat line didn't look great. He only had 52 yards on 15 carries, but he did everything he should be doing. He grinding out extra yardage by lowering his shoulder, and most importantly did not put the football on the ground.
Braylon Edwards: I was surprised to see that Braylon only had 5 catches for 45 yards because it felt like he abused Darrius Butler all day long. He made some spectacular catches. It feels like Sanchez is starting to throw it in his direction and trust him to make a play. That is a very good thing.
Jerricho Cotchery: Cotchery was held in check for much of the game, but his touchdown grab to put the Jets ahead was clutch. It was a classic case of a veteran making a move on a rookie in coverage to create just enough space.
Dustin Keller: This was the game for which the Jets got him. Gang Green traded up to get him in 2008 in no small measure because New England could not cover Dallas Clark. This contest in which he had 7 catches for 115 yards, and 1 touchdown resembled his brilliant game his rookie year in Foxborough. He kept finding the seam in the defense. Keller has the talent to be a top notch receiving tight end. It hasn't come together yet. We all hope this is him taking a step in that direction.
Sione Pouha: He led the team with 6 tackles and held the point of attack. The Pats only gained 2.6 yards per rush, which is a tribute to the job Pouha did as the Jets went small up front and played the pass pretty much all game long.
Mike Devito: Devito also played well. I'm not saying he will do everything Kris Jenkins would. Very few players could. The Jets are going to get high quality play from that spot, though. It will still be a strength.
Jason Taylor: He was quiet for much of the game, but his strip sack just about ended it.
Antonio Cromartie: I love seeing a guy step up when the chips are down. Cromartie had a very rough start. It felt like the Patriots were picking on him. Then Darrelle Revis left. He moved over to play Randy Moss. Moss was shut down from that point. Cromartie had an interception and tipped a ball that turned into another. It was almost as if he said to himself, "This team really needs me. I need to step up." He might have been the biggest reason for the second half shutout.
Nick Folk: Folk's career renaissance continues. He was 2 for 2 on field goals including a 49 yarder.
Steve Weatherford: Where did this guy learn to kick like this? He hit a 58 yarder and a 55 yarder that should have been a 54 yarder downed at the 1 if not for a bad job downing the ball by the Jets.
Brian Schottenheimer: It's easy for an offensive coordinator to look good when his player execute. I didn't think Schottenheimer was all that bad last week, but I am thankful he scrapped the complicated shifting and allowing liberal audibles.
Darrelle Revis: The touchdown was an obvious bad. I'll be interested to hear what Rex has to say about the play because it looked to me like Revis might have released thinking he had Eric Smith helping deep. If not, he got torched. You also have to admit, he looked a tad like Michael Johnson pulling up after he was beaten. I don't think he played that well even if you take that away. Some receivers got open on him, and the Pats left some plays on the field. Some will say the injury was caused by missing training camp and the preseason. I don't particularly buy it, but Darrelle brought that speculation and criticism on himself. Nobody forced him to sit out.
The Coaching Staff Deciding to Play Revis: Once again, the Jets did not really utilize the game plan from a year ago and have Revis follow Moss around the field the whole time. They changed their coverages a lot. They didn't leave Revis alone and roll coverage to the other side of the field. That might be a reason Aaron Hernandez had such a big day. Remember how bad the Jets were in 2008 covering a tight end before the days of Revis Island? Perhaps this was due to the hamstring limited Revis. They portrayed it as a minor thing. If there was even the slightest risk, they should not have had Revis play in this game. It's better to lose him for a single afternoon than for a long time.
Pass Protection: Sanchez may have impressed responding to the licks he took, but the reason he took those licks was that his blockers weren't playing particularly well.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson: Brick is my man, but he was getting beaten too frequently. The left tackle always stands out.
Coleman and Cole Not Downing the Punt at the 1: I still can't figure out how that ended up a touchback. It cost the Jets 7 points by allowing the Pats to shift from run out the clock mode to attack mode.
Blitzes: The Pats picked up a lot of New York blitzes. Most of the time, the pressure came from a traditional pass rusher. That makes two weeks in a row the opponent did a good job.
- If you add the 22 points Florio gave the Jets, the score turns into a 50-14 rout.
- This is the second straight year the Jets shut the Pats out in the second half of the game at the Meadowlands.
- Great teams are able to avoid the injury bug. Watching Revis, Nick Mangold, and Brad Smith leave this game makes me squeamish. Great teams also have guys step up when the stars go down. Cromartie was great, and the Jets scored a touchdown on the drive Mangold missed.
And all is right with the world again. It is a long season. Like I said last week, a team is never as good as it looks at its worst. It's also never as good as it looks at its best. The Jets will not look this good all year long. This does show us, though, how good this team can be. Look at what the offense did to a Bill Belichick defense. Did I mention that Santonio Holmes comes back in a few weeks?