The Jets are now 7-5 and still very much alive in the AFC Playoff race after a 34-19 victory today over the Washington Redskins in Landover, MD. Like many Jets wins, it was not the prettiest effort, but they made the plays they had to made in order to win the game.
More after the jump.The Good:
Aaron Maybin: Some things just defy logic. If you saw this guy play in Buffalo the last two years, you would have thought he was just as good as Vernon Gholston. Maybin has been great with the Jets, and he got more snaps as a reward. He was excellent. His strip sack of Rex Grossman helped to ice the game. He was applying pressure throughout the contest, though. Grossman seemed to panic whenever he saw Maybin get near him and made some very shaky passes. Even more, it seems like Maybin is starting to develop some moves. We saw a spin move and a rip today. The Jets did not blitz much in this one. They relied on the guys up front. Perhaps this team has finally found its pass rusher.
Brian Schottenheimer: Coaching is not about putting an elite product on the field. It is about making the most of the tools one is given. Schottenheimer far too often fails to do that. I like what he did today, though. Mark Sanchez was having problems reading coverages and with accuracy so he scaled things back and gave the quarterback simple reads and easy throws. The team was having problems moving the ball through conventional means so he threw a few different Wildcat looks at the defense. The offense was not exactly high flying, but that is a lot to ask the way the quarterback is playing. Schottenheimer finally put guys in a position to have success. I'm still working on the two passes after a nine yard first down run, but that was really my only gripe.
Tom Moore: I do not think it is a coincidence the two weeks Moore showed up in Florham Park were two of the few times the offense has done things that made sense this year. It is what happens when a coach who knows what he is doing shows up.
Santonio Holmes: Is there any wide receiver in the NFL more clutch than Holmes? He had a second straight game winning touchdown catch in the fourth quarter running a brilliant slant and go route to toast the guy covering him. Holmes finished with 4 catches for 58 yards and that touchdown and could have had more with better quarterback play.
Mark Sanchez: Sanchez did enough. He hit enough of the simple throws he was given. His pass to Holmes was right on the money. He is back in Game Manager (tm) mode. He is making enough plays to win and avoiding mistakes to lose the games. There was only one near interception and that was because Plaxico Burress cut off his route too early. This was not a great outing, though. Sanchez left some completions on the field with misses. He also left yardage on the field by not hitting his receivers in stride. Forcing them to adjust to the ball gave the defenders time to get to them. With Sanchez playing like this, the Jets will probably play anybody close good or bad but will have trouble blowing teams out. Sanchez wasn't bad, but I think this team still needs more.
Shonn Greene: Greene had 3 touchdowns. He was neither great nor terrible. He was not creating much extra yardage, but he also was not leaving anything on the field. Then he took over late in the fourth quarter with a couple of long touchdown runs. He finished with 88 yards on 22 carries.
LaDainian Tomlinson: LT only had two touches but was a major contributor as a pass blocker.
John Conner: There aren't enough carries for the backs currently on the roster, but in future years I would love to see the Jets find some carries for him to slam it between the tackles. He picked up a couple of first downs.
Offensive Line: The unit was hit or miss most of the day run blocking, but we rarely heard the names Brian Orakpo or Ryan Kerrigan. Part of it was giving Sanchez quick reads to get it out, but holding a defense that shows multiple looks with good pass rushers without a sack is an accomplishment.
Plaxico Burress: He only had 3 catches for 33 yards but played a big role on New York's opening touchdown drive to bring stability to the game once Washington took the lead, and the crowd was going nuts.
Sione Pouha: Roy Helu had 100 yards on the ground, but it was not Pouha's fault. He once again dominated the point of attack and this week actually got a good push up the middle as a pass rusher, which made Grossman uncomfortable a few times.
Jim Leonhard: He had some good open field tackles. He knocked away a pass for a touchdown. He had a good punt return and did not fumble the other times.
Eric Smith: Smith saved a touchdown staying at home on a reverse on a kick return and showed good hustle recovering a fumble.
Brodney Pool: I liked what he did in coverage.
Bart Scott: He took a few bad angles on big Helu runs early, but he was great in the second half. Bart won the point of attack that left Helu for other tacklers to clean up and made a great play batting a pass away.
Calvin Pace: Pace was great setting the edge against the run and blowing plays up. He also got a few pressures as a pass rusher and set up the batted Scott pass by shoving Helu, who was Grossman's first option.
Darrelle Revis: Seldom tested, not beaten until he was playing prevent.
Antonio Cromartie: He got lost a couple of times on the first drive, but he rebounded with a strong game the rest of the way as the Jets held Grossman to under 50% passing. His big return on the onside kick was also clutch. The CBS guys gave him a hard time about it, but it was a clean and easy catch. Why not try and get some yardage and put the team into field goal range? It was nowhere near as risky as Cro picking up a live ball with people converging on it like he did against the Patriots in the Playoffs last year.
Kyle Wilson: One of the biggest differences in this team this year is the rock solid third corner Wilson has become. Kyle had another excellent game in coverage as Washington receivers only had 77 combined yards.
Jamaal Westerman: Isn't this the guy the team was expecting to show up this year? He had a sack and another tackle for a loss.
Josh Baker: His 29 yard kickoff return set up the winning score. The Jets got the Redskins there. Washington was not counting on an up man being as athletic as Baker. Few are.
Marcus Dixon: He forced a fumble and got consistently good penetration to set other guys up to make plays.
Muhammad Wilkerson: He also did a good job winning the point of attack and had the memorable batted pass off his facemask.
David Harris: Harris was solid against the run with five tackles and almost had an interception.
Kenrick Ellis: The rookie had a rough game. If you want to know how Helu got off to such a big start, most of the time it was because Ellis was losing at the point of attack and getting sealed to open a big hole.
Garrett McIntyre: He failed to set the edge well when in. He missed a few tackle opportunties. He had a potentially costly penalty playing undisciplined ball running into the kicker. I think we have seen enough of him.
Jeremy Kerley: The punt returner's most important job is to secure the catch. Kerley failed to do it. Returning punts is not easy, but he should have just fair caught the ball. I liked the way he ran the Wildcat, though.
Mike Westhoff: If we praise Westhoff when things go well, he has to take some heat when they go poorly. Three times the Jets allowed big returns when guys were in the wrong lane. He also has to take some heat for the Kerley muffed punt. He keeps talking about avoiding mistakes. Why take the guy with sure hands, Leonhard, out then and replace him with a rookie who has had issues making the catch deep in your own territory?
Joe McKnight: The Redskins deserve credit for bottling him up on returns. Their kickoffs were well placed and gave coverage guys a chance to get down the field. McKnight's mistake was running the one out from the end zone when his blockers were nowhere near him and two guys ran untouched. Then again, Washington was scared enough to kick the ball to Baker later in the game.
Ropati Pitoitua: Ropati missed some chances with bad tackling to drop Helu for losses.
Dustin Keller: Keller had his opportunities cut down by the simple reads the Jets gave Sanchez, but he failed to haul in a ball he could have come up with on a diving attempt. Plays like those always leave you feeling like Dustin should be more productive than he is.
Matthew Mulligan: Another penalty for Mulligan today. He is usually a good run blocker, which is the only thing he does well, but he missed a few blocks today.
Donald Strickland: Took a penalty, was hit or miss in coverage, and was shaky tackling.
- Nick Folk made a kick he should have missed and missed one he should have made so I'm not sure what category he should be in.
- Ditto T.J. Conley who had a good day until he hit a short line drive on an important kick in the fourth quarter to set up a big return.
The Jets now return home to play the Chiefs. They probably need four wins in the final four games to make the Playoffs for a third straight year. Perhaps they can build on this one. Based on the way they finished, they probably feel better than they did in last week's sixty minutes of sloppy football.