The NY Jets squeaked out a 28-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, their division rivals. While it was certainly a heart stopper and frustrating as hell to watch, the bottom line is they’re now 6-5, and most importantly, still alive in the wild card race. At the end of the day, “you play to win the game”, and that’s exactly what they did. Props to Herm Edwards.
- Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer actually remembered that he has three capable receivers available to make big plays. For the most part, Sanchez’s inaccuracy was still a problem, but he somehow managed to throw for four touchdowns. Sanchez connected with his old favorite target Dustin Keller twice, and Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress once. Keller’s performance should be a not so subtle reminder that when you target him, good things happen. And Plax’s gumby-like ability to make incredible catches despite how off-base Sanchez’s throws are, proved cutting ties with Braylon Edwards was the right call. While it’s too soon to say Plax’s third down catch in the fourth quarter saved the season, it certainly saved the game!
- The offensive line rebounded from its disastrous outing over the past two weeks and were more successful at protecting Sanchez. After allowing eight sacks against Denver and New England, for the first time this season, the O line didn’t allow their “Sanchize” player to be sacked once. A major come up for those guys.
- Say what you’d like about Stevie Johnson mocking Plax and Santonio during his TD celebration, but this win wouldn’t have been possible without his many, many drops. Karma’s timing couldn’t have been better.
- Although Sanchez threw for four touchdowns with only one interception, he played horribly. The misleading numbers do not tell the complete story of a game in which Sanchez had a 50% completion percentage. And the majority of those incomplete passes were thrown into double and triple coverage that would have…could have…should have resulted in five INTs against a more competent team. Sanchez has more lives than a cheshire.
- The defense, which is supposedly the heart and soul of this Jets team, did not play well. The Bills, without Fred Jackson, still managed to rack up 336 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a 111.5 passer rating and threw for three touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was also successful at throwing in Darrelle Revis’ direction which resulted in eight catches and a five-yard TD catch from Johnson. The first TD reception Revis has given up all season. Although it happens, this sort of thing isn’t expected from the best shut-down corner in the league. But, in all fairness to Revis, there’s plenty more blame to go around. Down the stretch, the entire defense barely held the Bills in check. While we were ultimately saved from a Tebow-like performance from Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter, the defense was thisclose to blowing it…again. Again, if it wasn’t for Johnson’s butterfingers, the Jets would be 5-6 right now.
- Special Teams’ woes continued. Another muffed punt, this time by Antonio Cromartie resulted in the fifth special teams TO this season. With Jeremy Kerely and Jim Leonhard both unavailable for the play, and a recent muffed punt by Joe McKnight, their only option was an inconsistent yet experienced Cromartie. And, he proved to be no better. Not only did he cause the turnover, but he gave up a game-tying TD on the very next play…to a vengeful Brad Smith. Nice work, Cro. Westhoff should officially revoke your right to return punts.
Next up for the Jets are the 4-7 Washington Redskins. While this should be an easy win for Gang Green considering the ‘skins are inept all around, it remains to be seen. As we know, the Jets thrive on winning the hard way, so we’ll see which team shows up. We were only able to get one of the monkeys off our back with this victory, but if the Jets pull off the win next week, they should be in a position to further distance themselves from one or more teams in the wild card hunt.