Yes, the New York Jets beat the New York Giants last night at MetLife Stadium 17-3. Yes, if you’re a Jets fan, you have every right to email your Giants friends and brag a little. But just a little because this wasn’t pretty.
With both sides using their first teams for the entire first half, the best gauge of where each team is should only be examined from the first and second quarter. The Jets, while leading 7-3 at the half, were out-gained 224 yards to 73. Not good.
Mark Sanchez did not look right. The passing game was off; the running game was off, and without that 17 yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes, last night was a complete failure. Sanchez (8-for-16, 64 yards) was not helped by the lack of production from Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason who couldn’t find a way to get open.
224 yards in the first half is unacceptable. Yes, the team only gave up a FG, but let’s face it, Giants QB Eli Manning was just as bad as Sanchez, giving up 2 INTs (Jim Leonhard and David Harris).
Incidentally, the Jets now have 6 INTs in 3 games so far. That’s a good sign as the team only had 12 last season.
On the positive side, the Jets pulled off a nice goal line defense, preventing the Giants on a 4th and goal. Of course, the Giants were without RB Brandon Jacobs as he and Jets rookie Muhammad Wilkerson decided to turn the game into a boxing match and were ejected for fighting. Which leads us to…
Five major penalties last night. When was the last time that happened? Is it because it was Jets vs. Giants or do the Jets need to be more disciplined?
1. Muhammad Wilkerson was ejected for fighting.
2. RT Wayne Hunter (unsportsmanlike conduct);
3. S Brodney Pool (chop block on a punt);
4. S Emanuel Cook (face mask); and
5. CB Donald Strickland (unnecessary roughness)
Seven penalties for 79 yards for the Jets, including an unnecessary hold by WR Courtney Smith which reversed a TD run by QB Greg McElroy.
We mentioned it with an earlier post, but it bears repeating. When the Jets didn’t re-sign Wildcat specialist Brad Smith, fans were nervous that the team was losing a key kick returner/wildcat option. That doesn’t seem to be the case now.
Rookie Jeremy Kerley, in addition to returning punts, displayed his Wildcat skills last night and impressed all. The Jets ran it four times, resulting in 39 yards. Kerley ran twice for 13 yards, handed off to Joe McKnight for 8 yards and and completed a bullet pass to TE Matthew Mulligan for 18.
“I just wanted to sell the run fake,” Kerley said. “Then spin around and throw the pass. It was a run-pass option.” It worked and it looks like the Jets will survive the Post-Brad Smith era just fine.
We saw it last season in the Jets wild card win against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs when Antonio Cromartie set up the team with a beautiful kick return. We wondered when the Jets would use him again. Last night was the answer.
With the Jets trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, Cromartie was put in as kick returner and immediately changed the game with a 68-yard return to the Giants’ 35, setting up the Jets TD from Sanchez to Holmes.
“If I didn’t bobble the ball, I might have taken it to the house,” Cromartie said.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said the goal was for Cromartie to get at least one try as a kickoff returner. Asked if he’ll use Cromartie more often this season, Ryan laughed: “Well, as far as Dallas is concerned, he will not be our returner.”
JETS FINAL PRESEASON GAME
If there was any doubt, Ryan announced that the Jets will not play any starters this Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Eagles.
“I would say absolutely not,” he said.