Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jets Conquer New England 16-9

The Jets did exactly what they said they would do, beating Tom Brady and the Patriots 16-9. Did the Jets "embarrass" the Patriots as Kerry Rhodes has said? Not really. But when was the last time Brady had back-to-back delay of game penalties to push a possible scoring drive out of field goal range? The raucous crowd wreaked havoc on the Patriots' communication at the line of scrimmage, and the Jets' defense didn't allow the Patriots to score a single touchdown.

In fact I would argue that 6 of the 9 points that the Pats scored were referee hand-outs. Washington's knee was down when he fumbled, and that illegal contact call that directly led to a field goal was a joke. But I digress...

*The Jets defense is legitimate. Two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL could not muster an offensive touchdown against this defense. Darrelle Revis is a shutdown cornerback, the tackling is usually strong, and the pass rush clearly has thrown off opposing quarterbacks. Tom Brady was 8-20 in the 2nd half.

*Even the Patriots can be rattled by a good crowd. Four delay of game penalties, including two back-to-back, and one before a punt. This was one of the loudest crowds in recent Jets' history. If the fans can get this riled up at home every week, the Jets could turn the last season of Giants Stadium into a huge homefield advantage.

*Leon Washington and Thomas Jones are in a near 50/50 split in carries. Washington takes care of most third downs, but he's getting more action in the early downs to give him more chances to make a big play. I saw them both line up in the backfield on third down on at least one occasion, too.

*Kevin O'Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody were all name captains for this game as well as Shaun Ellis. Three former Patriots and the longest tenured Jet. Nice touch, Rex.

*Did I mention how good Darrelle Revis is? First, Andre Johnson, now, Randy Moss. Two stud receivers made non-factors because of Revis being draped all over them.

*Wes Welker was missed in this game by New England. Julian Edelman played well in his place, but Welker would have been perfect to fit the Patriots' scheme this game, which was to get the ball out of Tom Brady's hands as quickly as possible. Welker excels at short routes.

*Once again, the Jets' receivers look like the real deal. Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey made plays for the second straight game showing good hands and toughness throughout the game. A player like Brandon Marshall would turn this unit from solid to elite, but for the time being, the Jets are perfectly fine at receiver.

*Mark Sanchez did not turn the ball over. In fact he kept the ball out of harm's way virtually every throw. He did everything the Jets wanted him to do, making just enough plays to win while not doing anything to lose the game. At some point, it would be good to see him have to lead a drive late in a game in which the Jets are either tied or behind, but that can wait.

Did he play great? Absolutely not, and he can't fumble the football at the 3 yardline, even if he recovers it. Brian Schottenheimer didn't want to risk a turnover deep in his side of the field, which is where the Jets usually were in the first half. Sanchez got the ball in the 2nd half, and led a three play touchdown-scoring drive just when the Jets needed it to turn the tide of the game.

*8 penalties for 55 yards is better than last week, but it still needs improvement. For a team trying to win primarily with defense and field position, giving up free yards simply can't happen.

*That Donald Strickland can hit for a cornerback. The Jets might need him more if Lito Sheppard's quadriceps injury flares up during the week.

*The Jets had no sacks, but they were in Brady's face all night. The sacks will come; Brady was just smart enough to get rid of the ball quickly every time. His timing was definitely off, and you could tell he did not want to get hit.

*Prevent defense? What prevent defense? Late in the game, the Jets only sent more and more players after Brady, including on the final plays of the game. Being passive killed Buffalo last week. New England never had a shot.

*21 players got their names in the defensive stat sheet. Vernon Gholston was not one of them.

*Neither was Calvin Pace. He'll be back week five in Miami. He was probably the Jets' most productive linebacker last season, and he's another good fit for this system. It's hard to imagine what this defense might look like at full strength.

*Jay Feely: 3-3 on field goals. They were all within 40 yards, but if he's making his kicks and his kickoffs are reaching the endzone, the Jets are happy with him.

*The Jets' leading tackler? Kerry Rhodes, with six solo and two assisted. Don't say he didn't back up his talk.

*At 2-0 overall and in conference, and 1-0 in the division, the Jets have set themselves up very well. The first five game stretch is difficult, but after watching the games Sunday, the Jets are probably better than the Titans. I also can't wait to see Chad Pennington and the Dolphins against Ryan's defense. The Jets could definitely start 4-1, but keep in mind, at 0-2, the Titans will be desperate, and Chris Johnson has the speed to make the Jets pay for any mistakes.

*Enjoy first place while you can!

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