Jaguars vs. Jets: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York Jets
Although the Steelers and Bengals both hold tiebreakers over the Jets, they still have something to play for over the final three weeks of the season at 6-7.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, here's a look at the individual grades for the Jets' 17-10 win over the Jaguars.
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Mark Sanchez: C-
Sanchez wasn't asked to do much today, and aside from his 37-yard completion to Jeff Cumberland, nothing stood out.
He didn't play with any confidence and had an early fumble.
Sanchez finished 12-for-19 for 111 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
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Shonn Greene: B
Greene didn't have much running room in the first quarter, but he kept pounding away like he usually does. By the end of the game, he had a respectable stat line of 20 rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The most important thing he did was take some pressure off of Sanchez and spur the Jets to their first touchdown. On the drive, he ran the ball on six of the Jets' nine plays from scrimmage for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Bilal Powell: B+
Powell ran the ball slightly more effectively than Greene and was as important to this win as anybody on the offense. He finished with 19 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown.
The most impressive part of Powell's game today came when the Jets got the ball up 10-3 as the third quarter was coming to an end. The Jets gave the ball to Powell on seven straight plays, not stopping until he reached the end zone.
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Jeremy Kerley: C-
On a day when Mark Sanchez wasn't asked to do much in the passing game, the statistics of the wide receivers were even weaker than usual. Kerley led the Jets with four catches for 27 yards, but lost a key fumble in the first half.
Chaz Schilens: C
Schilens caught two passes for 27 yards and had one drop. He caught a 10-yard pass to move the Jets into Jaguars territory on the first play of the drive that resulted in the Jets' first touchdown.
Mardy Gilyard: C
Things have gotten so bad with the Jets receiving corps that Mardy Gilyard is now considered one of Mark Sanchez's top-three targets. He had 2 catches for 15 yards and could have had more yards if not for some poor sideline awareness on one play. He also had one drop on a play that was admittedly tough, but one an NFL receiver should make.
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Jeff Cumberland: B+
Cumberland had just one catch, but it was the biggest one of the game for anyone on the Jets offense. He hauled in a 37-yard seam pass from Mark Sanchez with 2:56 to go on a third down with the Jets deep in their own territory.
He still needs to show significant improvement in his blocking game, though.
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D'Brickashaw Ferguson: B
Ferguson allowed Jason Babin to blow right by him for a strip sack early in the second quarter. However, besides that, he did a good job on the pass-rushing specialist.
Along with Matt Slauson, Ferguson set the tone in the second half with his run blocking. Tony Sparano called a majority of his running plays to the left side as the Jets put up 17 second-half points and held on to the win.
Matt Slauson: A-
Slauson kept Sanchez clean and teamed with Ferguson to form a dominant run-blocking pair in the second half. This is two straight games that Slauson has shone in the running game.
Nick Mangold: A
Mangold turned in his usual performance. He was the leader on an offensive line that turned in a fine effort and helped give the running backs room between the tackles.
Brandon Moore, Jason Smith and Austin Howard: B-
The Jets didn't have nearly the same running room on the right side as they did the left side. The Jaguars don't have any kind of pass rush, so this group was expected to be fine in the passing game, and they were.
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Muhammad Wilkerson: A+
Wilkerson continues to be an absolute man-child on defense. He came close to sacking Chad Henne on a number of occasions and finally got to him in a resounding way late in the third quarter. This once-questionable draft choice is going to turn out to be an absolute steal by Mike Tannenbaum.
Quinton Coples: A-
After a quiet first three quarters, Coples had two impact plays when the game was on the line. He sacked Henne on 1st-and-10 from the Jets' 25-yard line with 7:36 left and pressured Henne into a game-ending interception with 22 seconds to go.
Coples still isn't turning up too often in the stat sheet and isn't seeing extensive playing time, but he does show flashes of dominance at times. One such play was when he drove Jaguars center Brad Meester back 10 yards and into Henne to nearly force a safety. His play led to a sack for David Harris.
He did have a facemask penalty (that was misidentified as Wilkerson's penalty) that kept a Jaguars drive alive.
Sione Pouha: C+
Pouha had three total tackles and didn't have any big impact plays.
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Bart Scott: B
Scott had an early gimme interception inside the 10-yard line, but disappeared after that. He had just one assisted tackle besides that.
David Harris: A+
Harris played with as much energy as he had all season and looked like David Harris circa 2009. Harris had 10 tackles and cleaned up a Quinton Coples pressure with his second sack of the year.
Calvin Pace: C-
Pace had two solo tackles in a typically quiet day.
Bryan Thomas: C-
Thomas had the same exact day as Pace. Quiet as can be with just two tackles.
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Antonio Cromartie: A+
Cromartie not only schooled rookie Justin Blackmon with blanket coverage, but also played an extremely physical game as well. He had three total tackles, including one right at the line of scrimmage to force a punt.
Cromartie took a glancing blow to the head and got himself back in the game in time to make a key play on a deflected pass late in the game.
Kyle Wilson: B+
Wilson didn't have a tough assignment by any means, but did fine in his coverages and had four solo tackles.
LaRon Landry: A+
It's a wonder how Landry has been able to stay healthy the whole season with the way he plays. Landry threw himself all over the field from whistle to whistle and finished with a game-high nine solo tackles. This has been the best play the Jets have received at safety for a full season since Victor Green was here.
Yeremiah Bell: A-
Bell was solid again today, registering six tackles. His biggest play came on an early shoestring tackle of offensive lineman Guy Whimper who caught a pass as a tackle-eligible and had clear running room to rumble if Bell didn't make the play.
Ellis Lankster: C+
Like the rest of the secondary, Lankster didn't have any kind of tough assignment today, but held up well. He did take a poor angle on Montell Owens' 32-yard touchdown and played a big part in allowing the Jags to convert a late 4th-and-15, though.
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Nick Folk: A-
Folk converted his only field goal attempt (a 44-yarder), and his kickoffs were fine.
Robert Malone: D
Malone had perhaps his worst game as a Jet, as he struggled with his situational punting. On two occasions, he was asked to punt for distance from deep in his own end and came up with short punts.
With 1:52 left in the game, Malone punted from the Jacksonville 48 and tried to pin it deep in its own zone. Instead, he boomed a punt into the end zone for a 28-yard net. It allowed the Jags to go on a dangerous drive with one last chance to tie the game.
Malone had seven punts for 46.6 yards, and only one of his seven punts was put inside the 20.
Rex Ryan: A
Rex Ryan stuck with Mark Sanchez, and it resulted in a win. While the Jets might have been able to win with Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow or even Nick Mangold at quarterback today, those are all hypothetical, and the NFL deals in reality.
Ryan wasn't faced with many crucial decisions, but one move did stand out.
When the Jaguars got the ball back with 1:43 left, Ryan chose to stay aggressive on defense instead of going into the prevent. The move paid off, as eventually, the pressure forced Henne into an interception to seal the win.
Tony Sparano: A
Like Ryan, Sparano didn't face many crucial decisions, but had one great clutch call. With the Jets facing a 3rd-and-8 on their own 13-yard line late in the game, Sparano called for a deep shot down the seam that the team executed perfectly. Sparano had been saving that one shot down the field all game and used it perfectly.
He had a game plan and stuck with it, even though it took a while to get going. Sticking with the run paid off, as Sanchez was able to play safe and avoid interceptions. The Titans have almost as bad a run defense as the Jaguars, so expect more of the same next week.