The New York Jets and Detroit Lions fought an epic battle resulting in a clutch overtime Jets victory. In a game filled with miscues and a plethora of penalties, the Jets found a way to right their anemic offense and drive down the field when they needed to the most.
This contest also featured a battle of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2009 draft: Matthew Stafford (first overall) and Mark Sanchez (fifth overall). Both young QBs performed well and showed their ever growing potential to be future stars in the league.
After a pathetic offensive showing in a Halloween-horror last Sunday, the Jets offense was reeling and needed a big performance to boost some confidence.
The Jets defense seems to get better with every game as they continue to make their case as the best defensive unit in the league.
The Jets are now 6-2 and again sitting on top of the AFC East as the Patriots fell to the Browns.
Here's a breakdown of the Jets win.
Mark Sanchez: 22/39 for 323 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 rush TD
Matthew Stafford: 20/36 for 240 yard, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 1 rush TD
By the stats, both QBs put up respectable numbers and did all they could to help their team achieve victory.
I would give a slight edge in performance to Stafford as he was more effective in the red-zone throwing two TD passes and rushing for another on a beautifully executed bootleg. Though Stafford's durability is in question once again as he left late in the 4th quarter with a shoulder injury and had to hand the reigns to Drew Stanton. This effectively sealed the Lions' fate as Stanton could only muster up a three-and-out with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter and give the ball back to the Jets for an opportunity to win the game.
Overall, I would say Sanchez won the battle of the 2009 QB draft because he again showed his growing maturity with a perfectly executed two-minute drill for a last second FG to send the game in to OT. He then followed that up with a opening OT drive for a game winning FG culminated by a 52 yard strike to Santionio Holmes.
After much talk was made about Darrelle Revis' nagging hamstring injury and how Revis' shutdown ability is nowhere to be found, Calvin "Megatron" Johnson became this season's first inhabitant of Revis Island.
Revis held Johnson to just one catch for 13 yards. And that one catch came while the Jets defense was in zone coverage and Johnson was not being covered by Revis.
Revis also has a couple of key break-ups including one in the end zone that prevented a TD.
Hopefully this is a sign that Revis is back to his 2009 form.
Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez are building a rapport. Holmes and Sanchez seem to be getting more comfortable with each other in every game they play together.
Holmes had his breakout performance as a Jet today with five catches for 114 yards including a 52 yard strike to set up the game winning FG. Holmes was also the leading receiver on the day.
If Sanchez and Holmes continue building on their connection, they could become one of the most feared QB/WR tandems in the league
Rex Ryan has repeatedly stated that the Jets are a run first offense. Usually we could expect to see a running play at least 60 percent of the time, but in the two games, the Jets have relied more on Sanchez's arm.
Against the Lions, the Jets ran the ball only 30 times while they attempted 40 passes. Of those 30 attempts, 25 went to Tomlinson and Greene for a total of 101 yards (Tomlinson: 15/55, Greene: 10/46). With the Jets on the Lions' one-yard line, it was Sanchez who snuck it in for a TD...not a leaping LT or a bruising Shonn Greene punching it in.
If the Jets' want to continue to thrive offensively, they need to give LT at least 20-25 touches a game and Greene 15-20 touches and establish their dominance on the ground. This will open up the field for Sanchez and avoid having to put him in too many 3rd-and-long situations.
Schotty better wake up and get less predictable with his offense or he might find himself out of a job next year.
Right now you may be thinking that the Jets are 6-2; why would his job be in jeopardy?
Lets look at the Jets last two victories:
In Week 6 against the Broncos, the offense was stagnant and needed the aid of a pass interference call on the would-be final play of the game to score the go ahead TD.
Today against the Lions, the offense was stagnant for most of the game save for one big bomb to Braylon Edwards for a TD and the final two drives of the game where Sanchez amassed most of his passing yardage.
In the Jets only two losses, the play calling was so poor and poorly executed that they didn't even score a TD.
the Jets might be able to grind out wins that way against lower tier teams like the Lions and Broncos, but you can be sure that teams like the Patriots, Dolphins and Steelers are not gonna let the Jets get away with these mistakes.
The defense continues to shine as they are the biggest reason why the Jets have been able to stay in games and grind out victories.
After allowing a 75-yard opening drive for a TD, the defense hunkered down and played lights out. The Lions did managed two garbage TDs on Jets' penalties that put them on the one-yard line, but otherwise, they were completely shut down.
They Jets' defense continued it's dominance against the run as they allowed only 78 yards on the ground. ILBs David Harris and Bart Scott were all over the field as they combined for eight tackles and four assists including one sack.
The defense's weakness still seems to be in third down situations. While they are improving in efficiency as the Lions' were only 5/15 on third down, the five the Jets did give up were big plays for big gains.
But the Jets' defense once again did it's job to give the Jets a chance to win by coming up with a huge three-and-out with less than 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter to give the ball back to the offense.
Nick Folk had his biggest game as a Jet today.
Folk went 3/3 on FG attempts including two clutch FG to put the game into OT and also for the win.
Folk continues to prove his preseason detractors wrong by going 16/19 on FG attempts (two misses and one blocked) and a perfect 18/18 on extra points. He also hit a career long 56-yarder this season.
The Jets were penalized 11 times for 99 yards (included one terrible late hit flag when Shaun Ellis clearly pushed Matthew Stafford before he stepped out of bounds. If that happens to a WR or RB a flag doesn't get thrown), with two of them resulting in Lions' TDs.
Teams usually don't win games when they commit this many penalties. The only reason why it wasn't as detrimental as it could have been is because the Lions committed 11 penalties for 102 yards.
The Jets will travel to Cleveland next week to play the Browns. In the beginning of the season, many would have considered this a throw away game. But the Browns have just defeated the Saints and the Patriots in consecutive weeks and I'm sure they will be gunning for the Jets to prove that these last two wins were not flukes.
The Jets better take a serious look at the Browns or they could be doomed to the same fate as New Orleans and New England.
The Jets maybe sitting pretty atop the AFC East, but they should take a long look at how they got there.
Their performance in the last three games has been anything but stellar. Without the help of some excellent defense, and miscues and big penalties from their opponents, the Jets could easily be 4-4 right now.
The Jets need to start executing more efficiently on offense and stop depending on the defense to keep them in games. While Sanchez has clearly improved from his rookie season, he still is making some poor decisions during critical points in the game. He is lucky he doesn't have more than five INTs right now.
If they continue to win games in this fashion, they'll be worn out by the time the postseason arrives and a Super Bowl reality will surely become a Super Bowl pipe-dream.