Seahawks vs. Jets: New York's Biggest Winners and Losers
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Well, so much for the week off during the bye doing any good for the New York Jets.
The Jets went into Seattle to play a tough Seahawks team and couldn't overcome another disgraceful performance by the offense.
What makes this game more frustrating than the Dolphins game, though, was that if the Jets could have done anything on offense, this could have been a winnable game.
The Jets defense played some of its best ball of the year through the first three quarters, bottling up Marshawn Lynch and confusing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
However, there was only so much the defense could do before caving under the constant pressure that was put on them by their putrid offense.
Despite the 28-7 loss, there were some winners today with the Jets. There weren't many, but there were a few. The losers, on the other hand, were obviously much more plentiful.
Here's a look at the winners and losers from Sunday's Jets vs. Seahawks game.
Winner: Muhammad Wilkerson
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The Jets needed their defense to show up in a big way today, and after quickly falling behind 7-0, they needed them even more.
In stepped Muhammad Wilkerson.
Wilkerson got the Jets on the board with a beautiful scoop of a fumble that he returned 21 yards for a score.
How many times do you see a defensive lineman pick up a fumble on a short-hop that cleanly?
Wilkerson didn't stop there though, as he then forced a Marshawn Lynch fumble on the Seahawks' next possession.
Wilkerson finished with seven tackles.
Loser: Jeremy Kerley
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The Jets hoped their special teams miscues didn't carry over into Week 10.
Their hopes were dashed when Jeremy Kerley dropped a punt in the second quarter.
Not only were the Seahwaks eventually able to turn the fumble into a touchdown, but it did something even more important than that.
It got the crowd back into the game.
Even after Mark Sanchez was intercepted in the end zone, the Seattle crowd was significantly quieter than they were at the start of the game.
But the Kerley fumble and subsequent touchdown gave the Seahwaks the lead and gave the crowd life.
Winner: Mike DeVito
Mike DeVito was one of a number of Jets defenders who looked revived and refreshed after the bye week.
DeVito came up with the first huge play of the game for the Jets defense when he sacked Russell Wilson and forced the fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Muhammad Wilkerson.
Amazingly, it was just the second solo sack of DeVito's career.
DeVito also stopped Marshawn Lynch in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on a 3rd-and-2 in the first half.
DeVito finished with five tackles to go along with his sack and forced fumble.
Loser: Dustin Keller
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It's amazing that someone as talented as Keller puts together games like this so seldom.
Not only was Keller far from the weapon that he should be, but he actually killed the offense on multiple occasions.
Keller's awful penalty on 3rd-and-1 from the Seahawks 1-yard line pushed the Jets back five yards. It forced the Jets out of a run call and into a pass, which was intercepted.
It was his second false start of the game.
Later, Keller dropped an easy pass from Sanchez early in the second half that would have converted a 3rd down.
Keller caught a meaningless 32-yard pass late in the game and finished with three catches for 47 yards.
Winner: Tim Tebow
One of the few obvious adjustments the Jets made coming out of the bye was to let Tim Tebow throw the football a little bit.
Not that he did anything spectacular, but Tebow finished 3-for-3 for 8 yards, doubling the total passes he attempted the first eight games combined.
Tebow also showed improvement in the running game, finishing with four rushes for 14 yards.
On a day in which the offense was absolutely putrid, at least Tebow didn't do anything wrong.
Loser: Austin Howard
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Bruce Irvin was simply too fast for Austin Howard.
Irvin sacked Mark Sanchez twice, and both times he came in on blitzes right past Howard.
On his first sack, Irvin blew by Howard before he was barely even out of his stance. On Irvin's second sack, Howard misread the blitz and completely ignored Irvin, giving him a free shot.
Both sacks came on 3rd down and forced punts.
Howard's woes weren't limited to pass blocking either.
On the Jets' first drive of the game, Rex Ryan chose to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Seahawks 40-yard line and the play call was a Shonn Greene run behind Howard.
Howard ended up lying on the turf as Greene was stuffed for no gain.
Throw in a false start penalty to start a drive with 7:50 left to go in the fourth quarter to add insult to injury.
Winner: Antonio Cromartie
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Antonio Cromartie was fooled badly on Golden Tate's touchdown pass to Sidney Rice, but aside from that played another strong game.
It's no secret that Cromartie has improved his pass coverage significantly in the absence of Darrelle Revis. However, today he also matched the aggression of the rest of the Jets defense.
If the Jets had any semblance of an offense today, Cromartie wouldn't show up as a "winner" here. But with so few options to choose from, he gets the nod for raising his level of play.
Loser: Lex Hilliard
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After his first couple of games as a Jet, everyone loved Lex Hilliard.
He consistently belted people on special teams and plowed through people when given the chance on offense.
However, the warts have started to show the more playing time he has received.
Hilliard frequently missed blocking assignments and was utterly confused by the Seahawks' blitzes.
He dropped an early pass thrown his way by Mark Sanchez and missed a key block on a failed 4th-and-1 attempt on the Jets' first drive.
The Jets reached an injury settlement with John Connor because they thought Hilliard was going to be a more productive player. He still might be, but he has a long way to go in fine-tuning the details he needs to be successful.
Winner: Robert Malone
In a game in which the Jets offense was completely inept, punter Robert Malone obviously saw a lot of action.
He continued his strong play, booming punts when he needed to and pinning the Seahawks back with good hang time when punting for field position.
Malone had seven punts on the game and landed four of those inside the 20-yard line.
He averaged 45.9 yards per punt and had a long punt of 56 yards.
Loser: Mark Sanchez
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Mark Sanchez needed a strong game coming out of the bye after his disaster against the Dolphins.
He didn't get it.
Sanchez was clearly scared of the Seahawks' aggressive defense and it forced him into making a number of poor reads and costly mistakes.
One of the early turning points of the game came on an awful interception on a pass intended for Dustin Keller in the end zone.
Keller broke open immediately from the start, but Sanchez double clutched his throw seemingly for no reason. He then floated a pass towards Keller for an easy interception.
To make matters worse, Stephen Hill was also wide open in the end zone on the play.
To be certain, Seattle is a tough place to play for any quarterback, but when someone's body language is as bad as Sanchez's was, there is much more wrong than just the venue in which they are playing.
Sanchez finished 9-for-22 for 124 yards and an interception.