Planned to Perfection: New York Jets Show Up in Houston
First, let me just say that I'm fully aware that this is Week One, and there are 15 games to go. A tough schedule to navigate through which starts with New England next week. However, after watching such a dominant performance like the one that we saw yesterday, forgive me for being just a little bit excited.
I can't remember the last time I witnessed a Jets performance that was planned to perfection. Every single play that was called yesterday seemed to have a purpose in the whole scheme of the grand plan. Offensively, outside of the early pass calls in the fourth, I thought Brian Schotteinheimer did a great job keeping the Texans off balance.
Sanchez was what we thought he was going to be. His numbers are not exactly eye opening, they are well above average for a rookie QB starting his first career game on the road to a team who is predominantly very good at home. He finished the day 18/31 for 272 yards, a TD and a INT.
Key to the success was the protection. I wrote a article a few days ago about the offensive line, and against a pass rushing friendly team like the Texans and Mario Williams, not once did the Texans sack Mark Sanchez. They did get a couple of hits on him, but that's to be expected.
A combination of the pass protection that he received and his own ability to recognise the rush, and get rid of the ball is going to be extremely valuable this season. As far as how a rookie can look, I couldn't of asked for a better start for him.
He silenced the crowd early with an eight-minute drive in the first quarter resulting in a field goal, and the Reliant stadium audience would only awake to sound out the boos aimed at there own teams inefficiency in moving the football.
So how rare is it to find a rookie QB who wins his first ever career start on the road? Mark Sanchez was only the fourth to accomplish this feat since the NFL-AFL merger. Only Joe Ferguson, John Elway, and Chris Weinke have done it previously. Ferguson in 1973, Elway in 1983, Weinke in 2001, and now Sanchez in 2009.
Again this is only one game, but I think we saw yesterday why we never entertained the notion of trading David Harris for Brandon Marshall. Harris was all over the field, six tackles, five assisted tackles, and a sack, where he brought down Matt Schaub with one hand.
It wasn't just about the stats, it's also about what he did that you wont see on the score sheet. Several times he came through and put a hit on Schaub or the receiver just after the ball had gone, and later in the game, you could see that the Houston players were looking for the hit while trying to catch the ball.
Leon Washington showed why Mangini was a fool not to include him in the gameplan more.
Rushing, receiving, punt returns, kick returns, running the offence from the Seminole, our version of the wild cat, named so because of Washington's time with Florida State. He busted off a nice run from the Seminole that was stopped at the one, that allowed Jones to take it in for his first score.
Thomas Jones ran hard, looking at his stats you would think the running game was consistent all game, that simply wasn't the case. Early in the contest the Texans were stacking the box, stuffing the run and challenging Sanchez to beat them through the year, which he did.
Jones at one point had 11 carries for 13 yards, however he would finish with 20 carries for 107 yards. As soon as the Texans were forced into playing a more balanced defence, Jones ran wild. Coupled with a excellent block from fullback Tony Richardson, Jones would take the ball in for the Jets final score and the game.
We showed that we have capable receivers, something that a few Jets fans have been saying all summer. Dustin Keller, four receptions for 94 yards, caused a headache all day. With his size and speed from the TE position, he causes mismatches all over the field.
Cotchery had six receptions for 90 yards, including some important third down grabs to keep the chains moving, he can be the number one, I had no doubt about that coming into the season, and the first game did nothing to heighten any fears.
Chansi Stuckey had four receptions for 64 yards including the touchdown grab, and he is a serviceable second receiver. I have said this before and anyone who reads my work often will feel like there is a broken record in the room, but Stuckey reminds me a lot like Cotchery under Mangini just after the Herm Edwards era, a player that all he needs is a chance.
Crisp routes, good but not great speed and good hands, I will take that at the two spot, no questions asked.
Andre Johnson, four receptions for 35 yards, and nothing more.
The best receiver in football for my money was completely shut down the entire game. At one point in the third, he has one reception for seven yards. If you are teaching how to be a corner, then get a hold of this game tape, Revis was absolutely lights out.
He shadowed him everywhere he went, Johnson could not get seperation and as a result Shaub was forced to look at his second and third reads, and as you can see from the stat sheet, that wasn't very successful.
In all the whole defence played superbly, from the starters, to the back-ups, Eric Smith and Donald Strickland need notable mention here, and remember this is without Sean Ellis and Calvin Pace. Ellis will return next week, and if this defence improves as many 'experts' said that it will, then by week five or six, when Pace returns to the lineup, watch out.
Holding the team that ranked third in total offence scoreless is quite the accomplishment. The only score coming from a pick six. A ball that Sanchez probably shouldn't of been asked to throw, up big in the fourth, keep it on the ground, we saw the dangers in the Notre Dame/Michigan game of going to the air when you should keep it on the deck.
I can't write this article without mentioning Jamaal Westerman, in his first NFL game after going undrafted out of Rutgers, he comes through with the sack. It's really great to see him start his career on a high like this. All the excitement bout him from training camp, just intensified.
All in all Jets fans have to be delighted this morning. Nobody picked us to win that game, or very few did anyway. Not only did we win the game, but we absolutely dominated the game. Nearly every play call was perfect, the exotic blitz schemes would of given any offensive line a problem.
I fully understand now why when asked in the off-season if he was worried about his defence, Rex Ryan replied that he wasn't and that what we were seeing was very vanilla. It certainly was.
Roll on New England next week at the Meadowlands, welcoming back Sean Ellis and hopefully putting another win on the board, and sending a message to the whole league, you might not believe that we are any good, but we know we are.
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