There was something different about Sunday night. Usually, as a Jet fan, you expect the worst and hope for the best. Last year, New York blew two winnable games against Miami. During those games, despite the Jets being within reach of winning both games, there was an underlying feeling of an inevitable failure; a sensation all to familiar to teh franchise.
Sunday night was different. The defense was subpar, especially against the pass. Usually the team's forte', despite missing Darrelle Revis, you would expect more from a defense that was led by a man who has been so successful without Darrelle Revis in the past.
Even while Miami put up 23 points (without the use of special teams), even as they chipped away with drive after drive, who exhausted the defense to the point where Jamal Westerman was forced to fake an injury to buy the Jets a breather, that feeling never came back. There was no sense of the lingering doom of defeat. Most importantly, the Jets defense accomplished something they rarely accomplished in their top-ranked 2009 campaign: They finished the game.
During the rough stretch of 2009, the Jets were oh so creative in finding ways to lose. The botched kicks, the last TD drives after shutting down opponents all game, and of course, Ted Ginn. Now, they expect to win. That game-sealing interception could spark a momentum that will be near impossible to stop. Instead of focusing on holding "x" team to "x" points, the Jets just focused on making the play to win the game.
Why is this change in mentality occurring in front of our eyes? The simple answer: the rejuvenated offense. A great offense doesn't just put up tons of points; they run when they want and pass when they want. They control the ball and convert big plays. Knowing that your offense, and even your special teams, can get the job done without a spectacular defense, if helps the mentality of the whole organization. The Jets are now a defensive team, and they will always be under Rex Ryan. But when one part of the team can pick up another and find ways to win, especially on the road against an unbeaten divisional opponent, you have championship-caliber chemistry on your team.
More observations from Sunday after the Jump:
- My major concern from the past game was how ineffective the overloads were. Yes, there is no Revis, but they were slow to hit home and were picked up well by Miami. This was also a pattern in the previous two games as well. I expect the defense to be more attacking when Revis and Pace return, however.
- Shonn Greene needs more touches. The only excuse I see for not giving him the ball is keeping his legs fresh, but Shonn is just more effective on first and second down, between the tackles. LT is playing outstanding, though.
- While a casual observer will say Cromartie was torched all game, he held his own against the best posession receiver in football. He almost had a pick and was on a island for a good chunk of the game. Wilson needs to work on playing the ball, and to realize that pass interference is a HUGE penalty, not just a 15-yarder. This isn't Boise anymore.
- John Conner got another one. On special teams. Fantastic.
- One final note about all of these "distractions": Anyone who thinks that one guy getting in trouble will make a team lose obviously has never played a team sport in their lives. What exactly will Braylon Edwards having a DWI affect in terms of the team's preparation? Will Sanchez, watching film in the meeting, get up and leave because Braylon got a DWI? People say "oh, well there spending time answering questions about a DWI instead of studying and preparing." How long was Mark Sanchez in interviews compared to this week and/or last week? He has a few a week, that's about it. Takes up about 10 minutes of his life. I was on a team with a kid who got a DUI before a tournament. We made it to the finals. These things are so overblown in the media because come game time, its all about football and nothing else.