New York Jets Outlast Brett Favre, Randy Moss to Beat Vikings at Meadowlands
It was an edge-of-your-seat type of game between the Jets and Vikings on a stormy night in East Rutherford, and at the end, the Jets won their fourth straight game.
Mark Sanchez wasn't as great as his last three games, but got a huge touchdown when he needed to, and the Jets defense did just enough to stop the Vikings at the very end.
The big storyline in the game was Randy Moss' Vikings debut and he did make some plays in the second half. By the time he got settled in and Favre got into a groove, the Jets started scoring some more and the defense regained its strength.
The win puts the Jets at an impressive 4-1 entering their final week before a bye. How did this entire game go down, and what can we take out of it? Keep reading for an entire game breakdown with opinion and analysis.
Antonio Cromartie Shows He's The Real Deal
The Jets decided to play Antonio Cromartie on Randy Moss after Cromartie beat him in Week 2 against the Patriots. Darrelle Revis, returning from a hamstring injury, didn't really cover anyone in the game, and it didn't hurt the Jets too much.
Cromartie shut Moss down virtually the entire game, only allowing one long 37-yard touchdown reception in the end zone. Other than that catch, Moss only caught three passes for 44 yards, and Cromartie for a second time this season, shut Moss down.
Cromartie has actually had a good season so far, and that's surprising to many people. He wasn't very sharp last season in San Diego, but he has come to the Jets and helped the team in the secondary when their star cornerback has been injured.
The Jets are starting to prove that not having a healthy Revis doesn't mean they can't succeed in stopping opponents' receivers.
Jets Stun Vikings By Running Right Past Them
All anyone wanted to talk about leading up to this game was how great the Vikings run defense is. Conventional wisdom said the Jets powerful running attack would be stopped and that Sanchez would be forced into a lot of mistakes.
The Jets ended that conversation and a Vikings consecutive games streak. Entering the game, the Vikings had held opponents to under 150 rushing yards in 51 straight games, but the Jets tallied 155, capped off by a Shonn Greene 23-yard touchdown run to basically put the game away.
LaDainian Tomlinson, showing no signs of slowing down through five games now, had another great game. He carried the ball 20 times for 94 yards and broke many tackles.
If the Jets hadn't proven their running game is tops in the league for a second straight season, they now have, and in fact it may be better than last year.
For The Most Part, Jets Defense Pressures Brett Favre
In the first half of the game, Brett Favre was completely destroyed. The Jets didn't let him get anything going, and Randy Moss was a non-factor.
In the second half, Brett Favre did throw three touchdowns, including his 500th career. But even so, when it counted the most all night, the Jets defense got the job done. One of the keys to this game was making Brett Favre uncomfortable.
They certainly did that, and even after a little letup, Favre was intercepted by Dwight Lowery with 1:30 to go in the fourth quarter, as a 26-yard touchdown return sealed the deal for the Jets.
Especially in the first half, the Jets defensive line was all over Favre, and Calvin Pace returned from a broken foot to record 1.5 sacks. Favre was sacked four times in total and that gave the Jets a chance to build a lead to try to protect entering halftime.
With the way Cromartie is playing, and with the Jets front line getting to the quarterback, they have the best defense in football.
Nick Folk Helps Jets In Victory With Superb Performance
It's not every Jets game recap that I include a slide about Nick Folk. Tonight, though, it's a must. The Jets kicker was responsible for 17 of the team's 29 points, kicking five field goals in as many attempts.
He had to be on his "A" game tonight, since Mark Sanchez was having trouble getting the ball into the end zone for most of the game. When the Jets offense kept falling short on third down tries, Folk delivered every time to at least add three points to the score.
At one point, the Jets lead the game, 12-0, and Folk included a monstrous 53-yard kick to propel himself. Not a whole lot was expected of Folk in preseason and many wondered when he'd get cut, but Monday night showed he's very reliable.
Mark Sanchez Not Great, But Clutch In Wet Conditions
Mark Sanchez really raised expectations by playing near flawless football over the past three games. Tonight, although it wasn't a flawless performance, it was reasonable under wet and stormy conditions.
Once again, he didn't turn the ball over, making it zero interceptions in five games this season. He did, though, throw balls at opposing defensemen and probably should've been picked once or twice.
Throughout the entire game, it seemed as if he was being too careful, almost like the opening Monday night game of the season. He did make a bunch of throws though, going 21-for-44 with zero touchdown passes.
Jets receivers were also not helping him out by dropping some passes. For example, during a drive in the second quarter, Sanchez had three incompletes and was forced to punt. Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Braylon Edwards all had balls thrown to them, but let balls slip away.
Later in the second quarter, Sanchez passed a ball to Dustin Keller from the Vikings four yard line, and it was dropped in the end zone. So, it wasn't all of Sanchez's fault, but when the Jets needed him most, he came through.
With about 4:30 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Sanchez completed a six play, 66-yard drive with a touchdown run by Shonn Greene. It expanded the Jets lead to 22-13. In his Jets debut, Santonio Holmes caught three passes for 41 yards.
To summarize Sanchez's night, he was slightly above average, and at times continued to prove he's growing as a quarterback.
Closing Opinion and What's Next For Jets
The Jets are now on a roll, and arguably are the best team in football. They have won four straight games, beating teams with offense, defense, and special teams. Getting back three star players and winning with a nicked up Darrelle Revis is as impressive as anything.
On a night in which Mark Sanchez didn't have the greatest of games, the Jets still got a great performance from their kicker, got a touchdown when they really needed it, and ended Brett Favre's night in Brett Favre fashion--an interception.
Now at 4-1 on the season, the Jets travel to Denver for their final game before a bye week. The Broncos are 2-3, and there's no reason to believe the Jets can't win that game too. Right now, everything is breaking the Jets way.
AFC East Standings After Week 5
NY Jets 4-1
New England 3-1