Turning back the clock was the theme for the Jets' Sunday win over the Tennessee Titans, as both teams wore their AFL colors, playing like the teams of old.
The soggy conditions couldn't rain on the Jets' parade as Gang Green pulled out a 24-17 victory over the now 0-3 Titans at the Meadowlands.
With the Titans wearing their Oilers throwbacks and Gang Green donning
their Titans jerseys, the new-look Jets would get on the scoreboard immediately after
Tennessee chose to defer.
Sanchez would lead the team flawlessly down the field with a 10-play drive before running in for the score. One drive, one touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff the special teams managed to recover the ball
after a Ryan Mouton fumble.
With the ball on the 17, Sanchez would need just five plays before finding a wide open Ben Hartsock on a perfect play action to double the lead.
The defense picked up where the offense left when they finally got the chance to get on the field, forcing Tennessee to three and out in their first two drives.
But the Titans would score on their first drive of the second quarter after Kerry Collins conducted a 10-play drive to cut the lead in half. Running back Lendale White scored on a two-yard run for the first offensive TD allowed by the Jets defense all season.
On the next drive Collins brought his team to the Jets' 33-yard line when coach Jeff Fisher decided to go for it on fourth-and-seven. The gamble didn't work as Collins couldn't connect with Nate Washington.
But the Jets offense began to struggle as Sanchez failed to move the chains. After the turnover on downs, receiver Jerricho Cotchery was ruled out of bounds by an AFL-uniformed referee.
The Jets defense would try to regain the momentum with an Eric Smith interception, but the effort was negated by a Sanchez fumble, placing the Jets with a third-and-15 they couldn't convert.
Yet again Collins and the Titans moved the ball efficiently down the field, but
came up short after committing a delay of game penalty, followed by a sack from defensive end Shaun Ellis. Kicker Rob Bironas would cut the lead 14-10 with a 38-yard field goal.
As the teams headed for the locker room at halftime it was clear the titans had gained most of the momentum towards the latter of the half.
The Jets couldn't find any rhythm after getting off to a fast start. The issues would continue on the opening kickoff of the second half when Jay Feely's kick sailed out of bounds, placing the Titans on their own 40.
Tennessee took advantage of the field position and scored on a 12-yard reception by receiver Nate Washington. With the extra point, the Titans went up by a field goal bringing the boo birds out for the first time in two games.
Following another three and out, the Jets' special teams came to the rescue when they recovered a muffed punt by Mouton, his second fumble of the game.
With the ball on the 23, Sanchez and the offense finally woke up to regain the lead
21-17 with a six-yard reception by Cotchery.
With the crowd buzzing, the defense went to work and forced the Titans three and out.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer dialed up some creativity when running back Leon Washington tossed a pass to Sanchez out of the Seminole formation. However, the play was called back on a holding penalty, leaving the Jets in position for another Feely field goal to put them up 24-17.
Another three and out from Tennessee and a great punt return by Jim Leonhard gave the Jets great field position, but Sanchez was picked off by safety Chris Hope after a wide-open Chansi Stuckey let the ball bounce off his hands.
Four plays later, Collins returned the favor when he telegraphed a pass directly to linebacker David Harris.
Running back Thomas Jones found daylight for the first time, but had his run called back after a holding penalty on left guard Alan Faneca, forcing the Jets to punt. The Titans would use their two final timeouts on defense and began their drive on the 34 with 2:52 to go.
The Titans rally was stifled by an offsides call forcing them to two-and-15, followed by a Harris sack to put them to a three and 23 situation. The Titans couldn't convert and turned the ball over on downs for the second time.
Sanchez took a knee to close out the game, helping the Jets improve to 3-0 for the fifth time in franchise history. Rex Ryan becomes just the second coach along with Al Groh (2000) to win his first three games in charge.
But the schedule doesn't get any easier as the Jets head to New Orleans to take on the 3-0 Saints in what should be a top offense versus a top defense showdown next Sunday.
The Good: The Jets are off to a flying start with three convincing wins over high caliber offensive teams. The Ryan/Sanchez era seems to have no limits as the Jets came back from behind in the second half for the second straight week.
The Bad: The offensive line looked very vulnerable allowing plenty of unnecessary pressure to Sanchez and not giving the best effort in front of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.
The Ugly: Despite starting and closing out the game on a high, the defense showed signs of it's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde self, allowing Collins to hit receivers seven times over 10 yards including two 27 yarder's on one drive in the third.
Things might have been different had cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland been healthy.The near 100-rushing yards by Chris Johnson will also give Ryan and his staff plenty to think about before they head out to New Orleans.
Game Ball: Last week Coach Ryan gave the game ball to the fans, emphasizing their role as difference-makers. This week the ball goes to the special teams for their two huge recoveries and near perfect execution on both sides of the punts.