New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Instant Grades, Analysis for New York

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IDecember 9, 2012

New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Instant Grades, Analysis for New York

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    For the first time this season, the New York Jets have won two consecutive games after holding off the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 17-10 win.

    The win pushes the Jets to 6-7 and keeps their hopes for a miracle playoff spot alive for one more week.

    The Jets rode a second-half surge from their running game along with huge defensive efforts from Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris, Quentin Coples and LaRon Landry to the win.

    Losses by the Bengals and Steelers put the Jets just one game behind both in the playoff hunt, although both teams do hold tiebreakers over the Jets.

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Quarterbacks: C-

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    Mark Sanchez wasn't asked to do much this game, and even when he was he didn't look sharp at all.  He fumbled once and played with a general lack of confidence that you'd expect a week after being benched.

    He saved his best pass of the game for a 3rd-and-8 situation from his own 13-yard line with 2:56 left in the game.  On the play, he hooked up with Jeff Cumberland for a 37-yard completion to effectively end the game.

    The Jets were able to survive this type of play against the Cardinals and Jaguars, but the opponents get slightly tougher from here.


    Mark Sanchez was asked to throw only two passes in the fourth quarter and completed both of them.  The big one was a 37-yarder to Jeff Cumberland on 3rd-and-8 from their own 13-yard line.


    Mark Sanchez broke a streak of 17 straight drives without putting points on the board when he led the Jets on a 57-yard touchdown drive to start the half.  Although Sanchez was only asked to throw two passes on the drive, he did complete both of them for a total of 16 yards.

    For the quarter, Sanchez was 3-for-5 for 21 yards and no turnovers.


    Fans got to see Mark Sanchez's season in a microcosm on back-to-back plays early in the quarter.  He was badly off-target on a pass to an open Jeremy Kerley and then on the next play fumbled on a sack by Jason Babin.  The Jaguars were able to turn the fumble into a field goal and a 3-0 lead.

    Sanchez hasn't found a rhythm and although he hasn't thrown an interception, he hasn't been able to move the offense either.  

    Sanchez is 7-for-11 for 51 yards at the half.


    Mark Sanchez wasn't asked to do much.  He completed three of his four pass attempts for 13 yards.  The Jets have only asked him to make simple swing passes so far and have been very conservative with their play calling.  Antonio Cromartie and Mardy Gilyard have been the two most visible wide receivers thus far.  That should say a lot about the Jets' current receiver situation.

Offense: B-

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    The Jets offense picked things up in the second half when they were able to get their running game going.  Fumbles by Mark Sanchez and Jeremy Kerley made things tough for the Jets offense in the first half.  When they were able to take care of the ball in the second half, things ran much smoother.

    As an overall grade, the Jets offense will only get a D because they didn't show up for the first half and could have done a better job putting the game at rest in the fourth quarter.


    The Jets started the quarter by capping off a seven-play, 46-yard drive with a touchdown to extend their lead to 17-3.  From there though, they could have done a more effective job of salting away the game.

    They got the ball back with 3:52 left in the game and were only able to take 1:50 off the clock, forcing fans to have to sweat out one final drive by the Jags.

    Powell's running at the start of the quarter was the highlight, as he ran the ball on each of the first five plays of the quarter for 32 yards and a touchdown. 


    The Jets were able to get in the end zone for the first time behind some heavy lifting from Shonn Greene.  As we've seen many times before, Greene and the Jets offensive line became more effective as the game wore on.  

    On their touchdown drive, Greene ran the ball six times for 28 yards.

    If the Jets can continue to assert themselves on the ground, they can win this game without causing their fans to go into cardiac arrest on the fourth quarter,

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Matt Slauson did a great job to give Greene enough running room during the quarter as Tony Sparano looked to the left side more often.  Expect that trend to continue as the game wears on.


    With Dustin Keller and Clyde Gates out and Stephen Hill injured, Mark Sanchez's top targets going forward today are going to be Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Mardy Gilyard and Antonio Cromartie.

    The Jets are trying to run the ball, but as usual, Shonn Greene is having a hard time making something happen.  The only thing for the Jets to hang their hats on at this point, is that Greene usually starts to get more productive as the game goes on against bad teams.

    Kerley and Sanchez's fumbles took away any chance this team had to score points in the second quarter.


    The Jets clearly will be relying on their running game today as they look to assert their will on the Jaguars defense.  They had 29 yards of offense in the first quarter, led by 16 yards on the ground from Shonn Greene.  At least they haven't turned the ball over. 

Defense: A

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    The Jets were great on defense for the majority of the game, but allowed the Jaguars life when they should have put them away.  

    With a 17-3 lead, the Jets gave up a 32-yard touchdown run to Montell Owens and also allowed a 4th-and-15 conversion with less than a minute left to play.

    However, an Ellis Lankster interception off of pressure from Quentin Coples sealed the game. 

    There were a number of standout efforts on the day for the defense, led by Muhammad Wilkerson, Antonio Cromartie, David Harris and LaRon Landry.


    The defense made fans sweat things out a bit, but ultimately came up with the big play to seal the game.  They allowed a 32-yard touchdown run to Montell Owens to make the score 17-10 and then allowed the Jaguars to convert two fourth downs on the final drive of the game.

    However, Quinton Coples put pressure on Chad Henne, forcing an easy interception for Ellis Lankster to seal the win.


    The Jets defense continues to be stout and seems to have cleared up those early mistakes.  It's very possible that the defense could make this four-point lead stand, but the Jets would be well-served to make this a two-score game.

    Antonio Cromartie, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell have been excellent today.  Cromartie had a great play in the third quarter when he dropped Jordan Shipley for a one-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 to force a punt.

    Muhammad Wilkerson has continued his streak of dominant play as he continues to establish himself as one of the elite defensive lineman in the AFC.  His fourth sack of the year forced a punt that ultimately allowed the Jets to take over possession in Jaguars territory. 

    Quinton Coples turned in perhaps the most impressive play of the quarter.  He took Jaguars center Brad Meester, a very good lineman, and drove him back 10 yards right into a backpedaling Chad Henne.  

    The play almost resulted in a safety, and was cleaned up by David Harris for a sack.


    The Jets defense isn't giving up big plays, but they certainly are allowing the Jaguars offense to peck them to death.  The Jaguars have found some running room and some miscommunications in the secondary have given Chad Henne some easy completions.

    Still though, the Jets defense has allowed just three points, so there really isn't much to complain about.


    The Jets defense was taken apart by a series of short plays on a methodical 13-play drive by the Jaguars.  Luckily for the Jets, Bart Scott came up with an interception after Garrett McIntyre blasted Chad Henne on a delayed blitz.  

    Although they generated a turnover, the Jets defense shouldn't be giving up drives like that to a poor Jaguars offense.

Special Teams: C-

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    Robert Malone saw the most action of anyone on the special teams and has seen better days during his first season as a Jet.

    He averaged 46.6 yards on seven punts and only put one punt inside the 20-yard line.  His most crucial punt came with 1:56 left and he punted the ball directly into the end zone for a touchback.

    The special teams narrowly avoided any crucial mistakes that could have cost them dearly in a close game like this.


    Robert Malone was asked to pin the Jaguars deep with 1:56 left in the game, but instead punted the ball directly into the end zone.  He also barely missed having a punt blocked deep in his own zone.  The Jets were lucky to come out of this game without the special teams costing them dramatically.


    The Jets have made it through three quarters without a killer special teams blunder.  That used to not even be a thought on previous Mike Westhoff-coached units, but this year it's a near-miracle.  There hasn't been any kind of spark in the return game today and Robert Malone's punting has been sub-par.

    Malone did redeem himself after his weak first-half performance with a 59-yard punt from his own 18-yard line with 5:46 left in the half.

    Folk's 44-yard field goal extended the Jets lead to 10-3.

    One side note, the Jaguars were ridiculed for drafting Bryan Anger in the third round of last year's draft, but he is outstanding.  As Shane Lechler starts to get up into his late-30's, Anger will emerge as the next great punter in the AFC.


    One way to avoid special teams mistakes is to keep them off the field.  They had no impact on the quarter and little impact on the game thus far.

    Robert Malone was asked to punt from deep in his zone twice as the quarter was drawing to an end.  He responded with punts of 43 and 45 yards.  He can do much better than that.


    The only action for the special teams in the first quarter were two punts by Robert Malone.  The first one was a poor 38-yard punt, but Malone redeemed himself with a 50-yarder down to the 14-yard line on his second one. 

Coaching: A

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    The Jets had a clear game plan and stuck with it, even though it took some time to get going.  Tony Sparano came out with a run-heavy offense, knowing the Jets had a physically more dominant team than the Jaguars.  

    They could have easily abandoned the plan and tried a more aggressive approach after failing to put points on the board in the first half.  However, they trusted their scouting and it paid off.

    Last week Rex Ryan saved the game by making a drastic move at quarterback.  This week, he showed more patience and held steady.  Making the right call in situations like those are what make successful coaches in the NFL.

    The Jets had just one penalty today and have been one of the least-penalized teams during the second half of the NFL season.  Kudos to the coaching staff for that as well.


    The Jets stuck with the game plan on offense straight through the fourth quarter and followed the map to a 17-10 win.  The biggest decision in the fourth quarter was to stay aggressive on defense instead of going into the prevent.  It was that aggression that forced Chad Henne into the interception that ended the game.

    Tony Sparano's call for a deep seam route to Jeff Cumberland on 3rd-and-8 was a gutsy call that worked great.  The Jaguars were overplaying the run and vulnerable to the deep ball at the time.


    The coaching staff didn't panic at halftime and kept with their conservative game plan coming out for the third quarter.  They were rewarded with a Shonn Greene touchdown on their first drive of the quarter to take a 7-3 lead.  On that drive, the Jets ran the ball on seven of their nine plays from scrimmage. 

    One adjustment to note is that for the second week in a row, Tony Sparano made an in-game change and is now calling more running plays to the left side.  That's where Green was able to find a bulk of his yards on their first touchdown drive of the quarter.


    Once again, Rex Ryan is facing the decision on whether to stick with Mark Sanchez or make the switch to his backup.  This time though, the backup is Tim Tebow and Ryan doesn't have 70,000 fans helping to make his decision.

    Ryan hasn't been faced with any critical decisions yet.

    Tony Sparano's play calling has been fine to this point.  They have an obvious conservative game plan in place, but they still need to take a few shots down the field at some point.  


    The Jets have rightly tried to come out in a conservative game plan on offense.  The Jets were faced with a 4th-and-inches at their own 29-yard line on their first drive, but Rex Ryan smartly punted.  Field position will be crucial this game and the Jets have to make the Jaguars work for their points.