Mark Sanchez had his best peformance in weeks. It seems like forever since Sanchez has completed more than 50% of his passes, but today that wasn’t the case. Sanchez completed 15 of 20 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. Sanchez found Chaz Schilens 4 times for 48 yards and a score as the duo was able to produce outside the numbers. While he was sacked three times early in the game, Sanchez bounced back and used improved pass protection to deliver the football accurately and on time. While this performance was positivie, number six and the Jets offense have plenty of work to do if they plan on being a weekly threat as we enter the backhalf of the NFL season. This was a much needed performance from the often srutinized franchise quarterback.
The special teams units continued to struggle. After the special teams disaster of the Miami game I thought the special temas would not be an issue for the remainder of the season, I was wrong. A blocked fieldgoal due to a missed assignment by D’Brickshaw Fergeson took points off the board early in the game. The struggles continued as Tim Tebow the most highly touted personal protector in the NFL failed to convert on a fake funt, tossing shovel pass inside that was stopped in the backfield. Kyle Wilson was back returning punts and also contributed to the troubles with a muff ed ball that he did managed to recover and overall indecisive running on his return opportunities. Is there really no one on the roster more equiped to return punts? I’d like to see Antonio Cromartie given the opportunity to field punts, it certainly can’t hurt. The special teams issues must be corrected going forward as the Jets inconsistency places an even greater emphasis on special teams execution.
Muhammad Wilkerson played like a beast. The last few weeks Wilkerson has really gone a long way in justifing his first round draft position. The 315lb defensive lineman has shown flashes of greatness as of late, and today he proved it with another solid performance. His 4 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble gave a spark to the defense against their ex offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the St. Louis Rams. Wilkerson was in the backfield all day, swallowing up running lanes and providing much needed pressure on Sam Bradford. All the sings are pointing to Muhammad Wilkerson turning into a defensive standout well into the future for the New York Jets.
Bilal Powell scored his first two NFL touchdowns this afternoon. Early in the season there were calls for Powell to overcome Greene as the starter. Injuries have helped to keep him from being number one on the depth chart, even as his playing time began to surpass that of incumbent starter Shonne Greene. While his 11 carries for 42 yards wont excite anyone, its the two touchdowns that made this performance significant. Powell looked quick running between the tackles as the found the endzone, with burst and foot speed not seen previously. He also showed power as he took a draw play to the goaline, making contact with a St. Louis defender before he plowed through for six. This was a promising sign for the offense, and hopefully Powell can expand his role as the season progresses down the home stretch.
Tim Tebow was once again a non factor. His two rushes for negative five yards made no positive impact and neither did his arm, completing his one attempt for negative one yard. Tebow also made a poor decision on special teams, not calling an audible to get out off a fake punt that the defensive was obviously prepared for. Tebow ran the fake which resulted in a one yard loss and gave the football back to St. Louis in Jets territory. At this point we should no longer expect any significant role from the Tebow package/punt team/disaster, Rex Ryan, management and the coaching staff have chosen to back Mark Sanchez. Tebow will never be looked at as a possible starting replacement and the Jets have no problem supporting their highly criticized franchise quarterback despite the results on the field.