Jets-Panthers: Gang Green's Defense Tames Carolina in 17-6 Win
For the first time in over a month something finally went right for the New York Jets, whose once promising season was on life support heading into Sunday's match up against the lowly Carolina Panthers.
Having been victorious only once in their last seven games, Gang Green came stumbling into the game after being embarrassed by AFC East rival New England Patriots last week.
After giving up 410 yards at Foxboro the Jets defense would set the tone for the game when Darrelle Revis intercepted Jake Delhomme's pass intended for Steve Smith on Carolina's first drive of the game. Revis would return the pick off of Smith's foot for a 67-yard TD giving his team the early lead.
He would pick off Delhomme again at the start of the second quarter but not before the Panthers would get on the board with a John Kasay 40-yard FG capping off an eight play drive thanks to a horrid punt by Steve Weatherford.
Under fire safety Kerry Rhodes got into the interception act picking off Delhomme on the next Panthers drive which would set up the Jets' first offensive points of game. A quick five-play drive would see Thomas Jones bring home his ninth TD of the season as the Jets stretched their lead to 14-3.
Their "impressive" start would earn them a rambunctious ovation from the crowd as the team headed for the locker rooms. It was only the third time all season the Jets had the lead at home at halftime.
The Jets would start the third quarter with a promising drive which would see them reach the Carolina 17 only to have it fumbled by TE Dustin Keller. Neither team would get much offensive production throughout the quarter; however Gang Green got a big scare when QB Mark Sanchez went down with an injured knee after scrambling for eight yards.
On a first-and-10 Sanchez would be tackled by Richard Marshall and immediately grab his right knee, although he would return on the next drive.
Kellen Clemens came in for the franchise QB to a surprisingly positive reaction by the crowd, with some opting to actually stand up to applaud. Clemens had one attempt which was not complete as he had his first action since the 38-0 thrashing of Oakland.
Carolina would add one final FG again by Kasay to cut the lead to 14-6 which would be answered by Jay Feely adding a 47-yarder to give the Jets insurance.
Rhodes would pick up his second interception of the day (making Delhomme just two shy of most in the NFL behind Jay Cuter) late in the fourth as the Jets snapped their three game skid and breathed some life into their slim wild card chances.
The Jets will now head north to Toronto where they will face off against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Since the teams last met in week six in one of the most forgettable match-ups in the NFL all season, the Bills (4-7) have a new head coach and a new starting QB making this division game all the more interesting.
The Good: After such miserable performances it was good to see the defense stand up and deliver with four big interceptions. The Jets would allow just 179 total yards keeping their opponents below 200 for the fourth time this season. Where the offense failed, the defense stepped in and, without their performance, this game would have been a lot closer.
The Bad: You know it was a good all around effort when I have to critique the special teams. One missed FG by Feely, who has been pretty automatic, combined with dicey punts by Weatherford makes this a semi-concern since the team actually stopped the bleeding.
The Ugly: Again, there is not much to complain about; let's just go with Kellen Clemen's incomplete pass for argument's sake.
Game Ball: This week's ball goes to Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes who both had two picks after playing horribly last week in New England.
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