The Jets went to 4-3 with a 28-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at the Meadowlands today. Coming off a less than stellar performance at Oakland last Sunday, New York turned in another less than stellar performance. Against virtually any other team in the league, this kind of effort probably would have resulted in a loss. It in fact took a last minute comeback to prevent a loss.
Leon Washington: Neon Leon was New York's clear MVP of the contest. His 18 yard touchdown catch and run gave the Jets an early lead. A 60 yard run in the second quarter gave the Jets the lead back. A critical third down reception in which he made multiple defenders miss to get to the sticks set up another touchdown in the third. A 37 yard punt return provided a needed spark and gave the team a short field to set up the game-winning touchdown drive. The man the Jets selected with the Draft pick they got for today's opposing coach got them a win. It is amazing how much success a team can have when it gets the ball into the hands of its most explosive player.
The Pass Rush: Four different Jets recorded sacks in this game. They came at critical junctures. One knocked the Chiefs out of field goal range on a third down in the first quarter. Another came in the game's final minute, which stalled Kansas City's last gasp.
Brett Favre: The legend added another fourth quarter comeback to his career total. He led a flawless final drive and put his game-winning touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles in a perfect spot before the defender had a chance to react. The only reason the Jets were in that position was how lousy Brett had been to that point. The future Hall of Famer threw three awful interceptions. The first was just a fling downfield with no receiver in the area. The second was into double coverage. The third was a force in the redzone with the Jets up 4 in the fourth. Brandon Flowers took it all the way to give Kansas City the lead. A fourth pick was dropped by Derrick Johnson, which surely would have gone back for six points. Brett is a gunslinger. When he is as cavalier with the football as he is today, the Jets will have a tough time winning. The team should consider it lucky that one of his bad games came against an opponent the team could afford it against.
Offensive Approach: Not to bash the guy mercilessly, but Brian Schottenheimer was completely lost. The Jets telegraphed every run play by putting one or two offensive linemen in at tight end. This allowed the Chiefs to stick eight or nine into the box. The more congestion there is, the tougher it is to run. Kansas City's defensive line and linebackers have been dominated this year. Had Dustin Keller played, the safeties could not have played up. Keller can beat them deep, and the secondary would have had to respect that. That would have left a talented offensive line against a run defense giving up over 5 yards per run.
When Favre was struggling, the Jets seemed to throw on every running down. How many times can a team throw it on third and short? Why only send out one receiver on a deep route who is sure to be double covered as Schottenheimer did in the third?
Why did the Jets go away from the run? The team did struggle to pound the ball, but a team this bad eventually would have cracked as the Chiefs showed when they gave up Washington's 60 yard scamper. Big gashes were only one play away.
Schottenheimer deserves a pink slip for the way he approached the contest. If Bill Callahan has the playbook down, Mangini should seriously consider letting him call the plays. Brian needs to stop showing everybody how smart he thinks he is by getting too cute. Gadgets and trying to catch the opponent by surprise was a good idea in 2006 when the Jets were undermanned. This team was better than the Chiefs and could have won by just lining up man on man.
The Secondary: Tyler Thigpen looked like Chad Pennington today. He hit 25 of 36 for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez both had 6 catches. That is fine. Both are great players. They will get theirs. This was especially true of Gonzalez since David Harris left the game with an injury, which left David Bowens, inexperienced playing inside, on him. Mark Bradley and Brad Cottam cannot combine for 9 catches unless the opposition has major coverage issues. Aside from Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes, and Dwight Lowery on times, nobody on this team can cover a receiver.
The Fans: This was not a good performance by Gang Green, but there was no reason for the fans at the game to boo with the game hanging in the balance. This team needed support to avoid a crippling loss. Boo after the game ends, not in the third and fourth quarter after a human athlete makes a bad play. If you are going to boo, do not leave in the fourth quarter after a Kansas City touchdown, a Jets punt, or a Jets touchdown. The fans who left early missed the end of a great game and took valuable voices out of a stadium whose home team needed noise. Booing a Kansas City injury in the last two minutes that forced the Chiefs to lose a critical timeouts was just dumb. This was a frankly embarrassing day at the stadium for Jets fans.
The less said about this game, the better. There really is not much to break down. The Jets played terribly against a lousy team and are lucky to be 4-3. Somehow the team is better off after today than it was before as Gang Green is now only a game out of first in the division after Buffalo's loss. Two months into the season, we are still waiting for the Jets to put it together. New York still has not put together anything resembling a complete sixty minutes. Even though this team is within striking distance, can anybody who has seen the first seven games consider this a legitimate contender? The talent is there, but things had better click soon. We have no reason to believe it will happen right now.