New York Jets: Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes Wins Third Straight Nail-Biter

Joe CipollaContributor INovember 22, 2010

New York Jets: Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes Wins Third Straight Nail-Biter

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    The New York Jets hosted the Houston Texans in what turned out to be yet another heart-stopping, down-to-the-wire victory for the Jets.

    The Jets were leading the Texans 23-7 in the fourth quarter before the bottom fell out on them.  The Texans rallied for 20 unanswered points, and with less than a minute on the clock, the Jets found themselves in a 27-23 hole.

    Mark Sanchez again showed his ever-growing maturity and poise as he led his offense on a 72-yard drive with under a minute in regulation and, once again, hooked up with Santonio Holmes for the game-winning TD.

    The "Cardiac Jets" are now 8-2 and still atop the AFC East.

    Here's a breakdown of the Jets Week 11 win.

Mark Sanchez

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    Mark Sanchez: 22-for-38 for 315 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

    Mark Sanchez is earning the "Sanchize" nickname with every game.

    This is his second game passing for over 300 yards (he fell one yard shy of 300 last week against the Browns) and it is becoming clear that his scrambling ability is outstanding.  Sanchez seems to dance in the pocket like Fred Astaire covered in vasoline as defenders seem to constantly slip off him for what should be sacks for losses.

    He is also clearly being smarter in his choices as he's not forcing bad throws for costly INTs.  He seems to know now when it's better to try to scramble for a first down (which he did twice this game) or just take his lumps and absorb a sack.

    This is also Sanchez's second game with three TD passes... two of them going to Santonio Holmes.  Sanchez and Holmes are clearly developing the chemistry that all Jets fans were hoping for when they acquired Holmes in the offseason.

Santonio Holmes

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    Santonio Holmes: 7 receptions, 126 yards (long: 42 yards), 2 TDs

    As I stated in the previous slide, the Sanchez-Holmes connection is becoming very comfortable.

    Holmes has broken out as the Jets go-to receiver, and this is the third week in a row that he has made a game-winning catch (two TDs and one catch to set up a game-winning FG).

    After Holmes served his four-game suspension, many questions circled around if Holmes and Sanchez would be able to generate a rapport.  The answer is a resounding "yes," as Sanchez-to-Holmes is becoming one of the premier tandems in the league.

Braylon Edwards

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    Braylon Edwards: 4 receptions, 86 yards (long: 42 yards), 1 TD

    Edwards had a great outing and made two of the most pivotal catches of the game.

    Braylon caught a four-yard TD strike from Sanchez to take the lead away from the Texans in the second quarter.

    Edwards biggest catch of the game came during the Jets' final drive.  On the Houston 48-yard line, with 24 seconds left in the game, Sanchez connected with Edwards for a 42-yard bomb to put the Jets on the Texans 6-yard line.  The next play was the TD to Holmes to seal the comeback win.  

Pass Protection?

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    Coming into this game, the Jets were the third-least sacked team in the NFL, with 14.

    Against the Texans, there was constant pressure on Sanchez as the pocket seemed to collapse a lot faster than it should have.  Mario Williams was a beast, sacking Sanchez twice.

    The biggest reason for this was an injury to right tackle Damien Woody.

    Backup tackle Wayne Hunter had a hell of a time trying to contain Mario Williams.  Basically, Williams owned him.

    Losing Woody would be a big blow to the O-line as it seems Hunter is unable to pick up the slack.


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    The Jets only used their Seminole (Wildcat) package twice in the entire game.  With a versatile weapon like Brad Smith, the Jets should run this package more than two times a game.  And they also need to expand it to allow Smith to pass. 

    If they line up in this formation and run every time, it won't be hard for defensive coordinators to make the proper adjustments to be successful against it.

Defensive Collapse

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    The Jets held the Texans to only seven points for three quarters.  In the fourth quarter, the bottom fell out on them.

    Houston scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth as the Jets defense looked dazed and confused on every series. 

    Their secondary looked especially confused as Houston receivers were wide open with not a green jersey anywhere to be found, and no pressure was put on Matt Schaub.

    Everyone knows how good this defense can be, but they cannot afford to have a collapse like this late in the game and continually put pressure on their offense for last-minute miracles.  It's worked the last two weeks, but it won't work forever.

Revis Island Is Still a Lonely Place

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    Andre Johnson found himself stuck on Revis Island yet again as he only managed to amass four catches for 32 yards.  And a couple of those catches came on a zone defense where Revis wasn't covering Johnson.

    Revis especially looked good as he broke up a pass intended for Johnson in the end zone.

    The next inhabitant of Revis Island will either be Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco as the Jets host the Bengals on Thanksgiving.


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    The "Cardiac Jets," while as entertaining as they are, really need to stop being the "Cardiac Jets."

    This team has the tools to blow opponents out, but they're not doing it.  They don't need to blow out every team they play, but grinding out wins in this fashion is only going to cause unnecessary wear and tear on their players and risk injuries they can't afford.

Looking Ahead

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    The Jets face the Bengals in a big Thanksgiving matchup at home.

    The Bengals are coming off a huge, disappointing loss to the lowly Bills, and they will want to seek redemption for that and for the back-to-back defeats the Jets handed them last season.

    The key matchup to watch will be Darrelle Revis on either Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco (or both).