Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jets' Defense Suffocates Bucs 26-3

The New York Jets came out and did exactly what they had to do, dominating the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-3. The Bucs couldn't manage a 1st down the entire first half, and their only score came after a Bart Scott 15-yard penalty set up a 43-yard field goal.

Defensively, this was about as dominant a performance as it gets, which is exactly what you want to see from this defense against an offense with a bad offensive line, a rookie quarterback, and below average weapons. This is the type of effort they need to bring out every week the rest of the year in order to make the playoffs. The defense is certainly good enough to beat Atlanta, and it can give the Jets a very good chance against Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

Calvin Pace, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Scott were probably the best performers on the defensive side of the ball, and the defensive line, including Sione Pouha, deserves a lot of credit for holding the Bucs to 43 yards on 20 carries. Kerry Rhodes also added a late interception.

Josh Freeman was forced to make quick decisions all game long, and he wilted under the pressure, throwing three interceptions and finishing with under 100 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 12.1.

You can't expect the defense to force punts in four plays every single time out, like they almost did today, but they need to bring their A-game out all game. They've been able to do that in the last three games, and they must continue to do that in the next three games.

As for the offense, Kellen Clemens did very little, but he didn't lose the game, and that was fine for this game. He made some ugly passes, but none of them resulted in turnovers, and he did what the coaching staff wanted him to do. They knew pretty early in the game that they didn't need to do much offensively besides not lose the game, and that's essentially what they did.

The Jets ran the ball 39 times, with Clemens throwing the ball just 23 times. Brad Smith also threw the ball on a fake punt for 27 yards to safety Eric Smith. For much of the game, the Jets two leading receivers were Eric Smith and Danny Woodhead, who gets a bigger role every week.

Thomas Jones led the way with 99 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, including a 33-yard TD scamper to make the game 16-0, which was really all that was needed to have a cushion over this team.

Gang Green wanted to run the ball as much as possible, and Tampa Bay knew that, yet the Jets were still able to get 310 yards offensively. Not a big performance by any means but a safe one, and one that was able to score 26 points.

Next week won't be so easy, as the Jets will be playing a tougher Atlanta foe that challenged New Orleans today. The Falcons are playing for their playoff lives, so if Mark Sanchez is ready to go next week, it would be a huge help, especially since the Falcons are more vulnerable through the air.

As for the other games today, Carolina made New England sweat for four quarters, but the Patriots were victorious 20-10. New England must lose two of their last three (at BUF, JAC, at HOU) for the Jets to have any divisional hopes.

But the Jets received some good news from Florida as the Jaguars fell to the Dolphins 14-10. Now, the Jets are tied for the wild card lead, even though they lose the tiebreaker to all the teams they are tied with: Miami, Baltimore, and Jacksonville. The Ravens annihilated Detroit 48-3.

The other factor in the race is the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have a stranglehold on the first wild card spot. Their loss to Indianapolis today drops them to 8-4. Their last three games come against Oakland, Philadelphia, and Kansas City, with only the Eagles game being on the road. If they lose twice more, two wild card spots are available for the green and white. It's unlikely, but you never know with the Broncos.

As for the Jets, they had an efficient, dominant win, over a team that they should do that to. No one really got hurt, and there are no new issues to arise during the game, so all in all, a good week 14 for Gang Green.

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