I've decided to name this game the "Beatdown Bowl." It was very reminiscent of the first game against the Buffalo Bills in that it was a sheer beat down on both sides of the ball by the New York Jets. Simply put, it was a very efficient game, and exactly the type of offense and defense that Rex Ryan wants from this team every week. On offense, we saw a very crisp passing game, and dominant run game. On defense, we saw tight press coverage down the field and a very physical front seven in the run game. Overall, great victory.
The importance of this game cannot be overstated. The Jets are now 3-3 and heading into New England next week to fight for first place in the AFC East. With a win, we would have three divisional victories and in a great place to dominate against the easier second half of our schedule. Now is the time for this team to step up and continue this type of game.
There were a lot of good things about this game, as anyone who watched can see. The first is Shonn Greene, who had a career day. This was the War Machine that we saw in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs. He was patient, had great burst, and simply mauled anyone in his way. He grinded out the tough yards and rarely left any extra yards on the field.
Antonio Cromartie is the next positive. He was extremely effective covering an awesome Reggie Wayne. He very nearly had two pick-sixes, and by the end, was in Wayne's head with the number of balls he was dropping. There was some bad with Cromartie, as he was being overly aggressive at certain points and drawing an inordinate number of flags. But more on that later.
Mark Sanchez simply needed to have a big game. And he did. I said Sanchez needed ~60% completion percentage, and he finished the game with 61.1% and two touchdowns. Someone that only looks at the stats will see just 82 (!!!!) yards in the air by Sanchez. But it doesn't matter. In our system, you just need to be efficient, and that's what Sanchez was. He put the ball where he needed to put it, and made the plays when it counter. Because we were in the lead for almost the entire game, and were running it so easily, it's not a surprise to see him end with so few yards.
Those are my big three positives. The rest of the team though deserves a LOT of credit. All of our receivers looked great. Stephen Hill's hands were magnificent. Jeremy Kerley is dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands. For our offense, our run blocking and pass protection was outstanding. I don't remember the last team our offensive line was that dominant. By the end of the game, the Colts' defense wanted no part of our line or Greene. They were beaten up physically and mentally.
As for our defense, this is what happens when you're not playing some of the best rushing teams in the league, as we have the past few weeks. Stop the run and you can tee off on the pass rush. As we saw in the second half, Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Aaron Maybin were destroying Andrew Luck. Our defense was extraordinarily physical, and they just beat down the Colts.
Also, that punt fake with Tim Tebow? Awesome. I love seeing the aggressiveness.
It was extremely difficult to come up with some negatives from this game. At the beginning of the game though, our pass rushing was very weak. We can't wait until we have a huge lead to rush the passer. We're going to need to see our second half performance all game next week against the Patriots if we want to win the game.
The next bad was all the penalties against the team. A lot of these calls were bogus but some very legit. We need to be physical, but we can't give away the game. Especially once we play the Patriots, who will make us pay for being undisciplined.
Finally, the last bad was the injuries to our running backs. Bilal Powell left the game with a shoulder injury, and Joe McKnight with an ankle injury. They both looked great, so it's a shame to see them go down. If they can't play next weekend (and it looks like Powell may be out for a while), look for Jonathan Grimes and Tebow to carry the rock behind Greene.
We're going to need our A game next week against the Patriots. But this team has held strong even when playing against some of the best teams in the league (let's forget about the San Francisco 49ers game, shall we?) and it's great to see the locker room come together and show so much enthusiasm on the field. Let's hope it continues into next week.