Monday, September 29, 2008

56 points? The Jets finally live up to their promise

56-35 isn't what you expected when the game started or even after the 1st quarter, which ended 0-0. But six Brett Favre touchdown passes later, and the Jets have the 2nd highest scoring game in franchise history. The most was 62, in a 34 point romp over Tampa Bay in 1985.

Favre broke his personal record with six touchdowns thrown, so four games into his Jet career and he's already eclipsed something he's done in Green Bay. Let's just say the offense looked a lot more in sync than it did in the previous three games.

Laveranues Coles had three touchdowns, all in the first half. Jerricho Cotchery added two more later, and Dustin Keller had a garbage time touchdown to put the game away (followed by a two-point conversion which seemed to be rubbing it in. If you're going to go for two, do it any of the previous times to make the lead 21 points. Don't do it with under two minutes left.).

Cotchery's second touchdown was a thing of beauty for Jets fans. With backup tackle Wayne Hunter in the game as an eligible player, Favre threw a play action bomb to the open Cotchery. Jets fans have been waiting for Favre to be Favre. Today, that finally came to fruition. Sure, he showed flashes against Miami, but today was the first game that he really was able to strut his stuff. Arizona's porous defense definitely helped though.

But at halftime, the story of the game was probably more the defense than the offense. The defense forced Kurt Warner fumbles and picked him off twice. Kris Jenkins, who had a great game, also blocked a field goal in the first quarter. David Bowens also forced two fumbles and had two sacks of his own. Darrelle Revis scored a walk-in touchdown after he read Warner's eyes for his first interception of the day. He added another one later. Shaun Ellis, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace also looked great getting into the backfield and making plays.

However, the game wasn't all good. 34-0 at halftime was an almost insurmountable lead, but Arizona scored three quick and easy touchdowns in the third quarter to make it a game. The defense was a sieve in that quarter, barely offering any opposition on those three drives. The Cardinals also recovered an onsides kick that led to one of the scores.

The Jets were able to answer with a 5:59 scoring drive that ended with a 17-yard Cotchery score. Arizona countered, then nearly recovered an onsides kick again. Then the play action bomb on 4th and 1 to Cotchery put an exclamation point on the game. Arizona again answered, but the Jets responded. After Jay Feely missed a 43-yard field goal, the Jets once again stripped Warner. Keller then scored on 4th down.

The last Cardinals drive nearly ended in disaster. Anquan Boldin went up for a catch in the endzone when Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith both hit him in the endzone. It was a brutal hit to watch from the stands, as Smith went facemask to facemask, knocking the star receiver out cold. It was a sour note to end the game on, and it will cost Smith $50,000 and a one-game suspension. He will miss the game against Cincinatti after the bye week.

All in all, a great Sunday for the Jets. As bad as the 3rd quarter was offensively, by that point it was garbage time. Sure, you'd like to see more resistance, but by that point the game was so far out of reach, the Cardinals would have had to get extremely lucky to have a chance. Also, they would have to stop the Jets offense, something they proved time and time again that they could not do.

The only downside of the game offensively was the inability to run the ball consistently. The numbers are weighed down a little by late game runs to wind the clock down, but Thomas Jones ended up with 18 carries for 46 yards. Leon Washington added 26 yards on seven carries, and Brad Smith gained 17 yards on a reverse.

Few other things I'd like to mention before I close this blog post.

*The Jets' next opponent, the Cincinatti Bengals, may have lost quarterback Carson Palmer. He was a late scratch against Cleveland, and some speculate it could be a serious injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled in place of Palmer, and if he is the quarterback for a while, that team is going to struggle even more than they have been.

*Kansas City beat Denver? Divisional games, anything can happen. Larry Johnson looks to have been buried too early.

*Houston finally threw the ball. Now if they can run AND throw the ball in the same game, they will have a chance. Jacksonville escapes 30-27.

*Tennessee is legit. They punch you in the mouth on defense, and Chris Johnson has been great.

*San Diego and Buffalo were both down to inferior opponents until coming back to win (and cover). Buffalo is 4-0. They are good, but their schedule hasn't been particularly difficult. San Diego is 2-2, heading to Miami this week.

*Chicago vs Philadelphia was a football purists' dream. Loved watching that game. Chicago's defense is back, and Kyle Orton isn't terrible. If Brandon Lloyd is hurt, they will miss him though. Philadelphia is now 2-2, last in the NFC East. Two weeks ago, they were the toast of the NFL. Ah, how things change.

*I was right about Washington. Did I expect them to win straight up? I'd be lying if I said they did, but they always play Dallas tough, and this was no exception. Throw out the Giants game, and this team looks good. Old friend Santana Moss has been fantastic.

2-1 on picks this week. Good bounceback, hopefully next week I can get a clean sweep. Now on to my radio show. To listen in, go to iTunes - radio - college radio - WXVU 89.1 FM between 8:30 PM and 10:00 PM.

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