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Jets 29 Vikings 20: A 4-1 Start Doesn't Come Easily

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The Jets are 4-1 and riding a 4 game winning streak after a victory tonight against the Minnesota Vikings in near monsoon conditions at times, drizzle part of the time, and reasonable weather for the rest. Enough of these games will drive a fan crazy. As they did so many times last year, the Jets put themselves in a position to lose a winnable game. Unlike many of those times last year, the team came through in a big spot.

More after the jump.

The Good:

Antonio Cromartie: The Jets stuck Cromartie on Randy Moss. Cromartie won the night. Cromartie was all over Moss just about every time Brett Favre looked in his direction. Moss padded his stats in part on a 21 yard reception in garbage time with Cromartie playing soft. Even the touchdown wasn't really on Antonio. He was in good coverage. Moss didn't get much separation. It required an absolutely fantastic throw for a completion. Brett Favre just happened to make that throw. Cro is starting to come into his own. He has two straight strong performances. It's starting to look like the Jets have a pair of corners capable of matching up against the top receivers in the league.

Nick Folk: The only thing Folk did wrong all night was hit the opening kickoff out of bounds. Folk was 5 for 5 on field goals with a long of 53 yards, which was huge. The offense was not finishing drives so it was the only way to get points most of the night.

LaDainian Tomlinson: LT fell just shy of a second consecutive 100 yard game. He finished with 94 yards on 20 carries. The offensive line is giving him room to run, and he is finishing guys off in one on one matchups. Tomlinson is next to impossible to bring down one on one right now.

Shonn Greene: Greene struggled for a good chunk of the night. I think part of it has been the blocking. The Jets have different run plays specific to Greene and Tomlinson. It might be another example of Brian Schottenheimer overthinking. The line has not executed as well on Greene plays. I also don't think Greene is reading his blocks as well as he might. There are times where he is costing himself big yardage by cutting the wrong way. His 23 yard touchdown was clutch, though, so he gets kudos this week.

John Conner: The Terminator's biggest block to date in the NFL sprung Greene.

David Harris: Adrian Peterson might have gone for 200 yards tonight had Harris not been so effective working in traffic. He finished with 9 tackles.

Brad Smith: He finds a different way to be a hero every week. His 86 yard kickoff return set up a field goal and temporarily swung momentum to the Jets after Minnesota got on the board.

Offensive Line: These guys consistently got a push against an excellent front.

Matt Slauson:I singled out Slauson previewing the game talking about how significant his matchup with Kevin Williams would be. I was worried. Slauson was flat out terrific. He consistently sealed Williams on run plays. If he keeps this up, we will be asking Alan who.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson: Jared Allen was a non factor tonight, and Brick did not have much help. This was his best game of the year so far.

Drew Coleman: I don't think Rex Ryan gets enough credit for player development. Yes, he is a brilliant X's and O's guy. Yes, he is a great motivator. He also gets the most out of his players. Look at what he has done for undrafted guys like Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard. Drew Coleman will probably never been a star in the league, but he was excellent in coverage tonight playing nickel, made a play on special teams, and registered a sack. He didn't look like he had any skills a year ago.

Dwight Lowery: One nice thing about the return of Darrelle Revis is the Jets have greater flexibility pertaining to how they will use Lowery. His clinching interception was an example. He played off the line, where he is strongest, had a chance to diagnose what happened in front of him, and jumped the route. Let's see more Lowery at safety in sub packages. He also was shifty on his impromptu kickoff return.

Kyle Wilson: Wilson looked bad on one play against Percy Harvin, but did his job otherwise. Again, Revis' return allows somebody to slide into an easier role. I also thought he had a decent punt return. It was only 7 yards, but it looked like there was nothing there.

Steve Weatherford: 7 punts total. 4 inside the 20. A long of 53. The numbers speak for themselves. He's in the running with Coleman for most improved player.

The Bad

Mark Sanchez: Mark didn't throw any interceptions tonight, but this was a rough night for him. He was only 21 of 44 on the night. He was every bit as inaccurate as that line would suggest. He left  3 touchdowns on the table in the first half missing open receivers. There is no excuse for losing track of time the way he did before the 2:00 warning. He should have run the clock down. Not doing so forced the Jets to run another play and cost over 40 seconds. He's not a rookie anymore. Mistakes like that cannot happen. Mark has been great this year. Nobody should pile on him too much for one rough game. I still can't help but feel like we would be making a bigger deal out of his play had Favre stuck the ball in the end zone at the end of the game and Minnesota won.

Receivers: The numbers looked all right, but I counted 5 passes Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller either could have or should have caught that helped end drives prematurely. Sanchez  was not very good, but his receivers did him no favors when his throws were on target. The group also didn't get open much in scoring range.

Darrelle Revis/Blown Coverage (?): Revis either blew coverage badly twice in the fourth quarter on plays deep in New York territory, mistakenly thought he had help, or the Jets blew coverage to an incredible degree. We'll need to hear what Rex has to say. His fall on Percy Harvin on the final drive almost proved costly. Revis is strong enough to avoid being muscled like that.

Jason Taylor: He had a sack in garbage time, but he wasn't winning his matchups when it was a one score game in the fourth quarter.

Other Thoughts:

  • Brett Favre still represents an awful lot wrong about sports today, but tonight showed glimmers of why so many once loved him. It didn't end well, but there was something special about a 41 year old man playing through an arm injury and shaking off a slow start to almost lead his team all the way back. Ugh, I feel like an ESPN analyst for saying that.
  • With that said, it's nice to not have to hear endlessly about him completing a comeback in this game despite all the distractions he might well have brought on himself.
  • People talk a lot about Santonio Holmes' speed, but his route running is terrific. Just a little move creates enough of a window for a completion. He is going to be fun to watch.

This week thankfully comes to an end on a positive note. There was a definite edge to this week brought on by the return of the Favre circus to town. Minnesota fans can deal with it. We can enjoy the Jets going to 4-1.