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Saints 24 Jets 10: Not So Perfect

The Jets fell to 3-1 and into a first place tie with the Patriots today as the Saints ended the unrealistic dream of a perfect season. New Orleans won 24-10 at the Superdome to stay perfect. This loss is a bit frustrating. Any loss is. Part of it is the way the Jets lost. Aside from a few unforced errors from the rookie quarterback, they were just as good.

More after the jump.

The Bad:

Mark Sanchez: There are always ups and downs with a rookie quarterback. The Jets saw an abnormal amount of ups early in the season. That tells us Sanchez could be special one day. Today we saw the downs, a pair of rookie mistakes that cost the team the game. It happens. Rookies stare down receivers and force throws in the red zone. They don't get it out quickly enough in the shadow of their own end zone. Those two plays led to at least a 17 point swing, which was the difference. His 14 for 27, 3 interception, no touchdown line says a lot, but those two mistakes were really what cost the Jets.

Damien Woody: Charles Grant dominated Woody with a pair of sacks. There were a few instances where Woody let a guy go past him untouched when it wasn't designed and he wasn't blocking anybody.

Front Seven Against the Run: Overall, the defense was great. Still, there were too many arm tackles early that allowed Reggie Bush to break big plays. Late everybody except Kris Jenkins was losing matchups up front as Pierre Thomas went for 86 yards on 19 carries and had big lanes consistently.

Not Enough Shonn Greene: The rookie infused some life into the running game. He picked up 23 yards on 4 carries in the series he saw. Considering how shaky the run blocking had been to that point, why not give Greene more playing time than that series? He's a guy who can grind out tough yards.

The Good:

Defensive Effort: Great, great job by the defense today. The most dynamic offense in the NFL was held to 10 points in its home dome. I was a bit surprised by the approach today. Instead of attacking Drew Brees consistently, the Jets seemed content to keep everything in front of them, make Brees check down for short gains, and force the Saints to put together long drives. New Orleans gained yards, but the defense eventually stiffened, making some big stands on fourth down. It's tougher to execute and gain short yardage 12 straight plays to score than to make 3 big plays. The Patriots used this approach to great success against Peyton Manning early in Manning's career. It's a different way to go after a great quarterback than the Jets used against Tom Brady, but it was just as successful. The defense played well enough to win today. We found out this defense can pull this team to victory barring anything short of self-destruction at the quarterback position.

Shonn Greene: Mentioned before, but 4 carries for 23 yards. He looked good. The Jets should find more touches for him.

Thomas Jones: The final line didn't look too great, 48 yards on 13 carries. I think he got on track in this one, though. Greene's big performance seemed to light a fire under him. His 15 yard touchdown run looked great.

Darrelle Revis: Drew Brees kept trying to fit balls into blanketed receivers on Revis Island. He wasn't successful. Revis is the Defensive Player of the Year a quarter of the way through the season.

Other Thoughts:

  • Give John Carney  Thomas Morestead credit. Leon Washington only got 1 return chance because Carney kept booting touchbacks on his kickoffs. That return came on a kick that was high enough for the coverage team to get down and bring down Washington inside the 20.
  • I'm not going to jump on Brian Schottenheimer for his third down play calls. Anybody who has read this blog knows how I killed Schottenheimer for all of the spread formations on third and short a year ago. I didn't love them today, but the Saints were stacking the box, and the Jets got stuffed when they ran it in those situations today. Schottenheimer's been great this year, and Sanchez's quick development is a credit to him.

These things happen. It's just one loss. The Jets are still in first place. The schedule gets easier, and Calvin Pace comes back Monday. Yes, this defense is going to get even more talented. Eight days from now the Jets can take out their frustrations on Miami down in South Florida. Let's move on.