The Jets reached their much-needed and well deserved bye week by beating the New Orleans Saints and moving their record to 5-4. How did they do it? Here are the quick hits:
1) Running game firing on all cylinders - Chris Ivory had 18 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown. He had runs of 27, 52 and 29 yards so much for only being a bruiser. Powell contributed but mostly as a change of pace to Ivory coming in to pass block on passing downs. He managed nine carries for 29 yards. Geno Smith has a rushing touchdown as well on a well-executed read option play and was used on several designed runs with 5 carries for 19 yards and a touchdown.
2) Geno Smith has no turnovers even though he was inaccurate - Geno Smith started the game looking lost, bothered about the cold and wind and his throws were off. Then he finished 4/4 and led two touchdown drives to close the first half. He was poised against a lot of pressure and made his decisions quickly but was not accurate. It is very encouraging that a slow start by Smith did not snowball to a bad game but when asked to get a first down to ice the game he could not. With the running game working the game plan became conservative and Smith’s throwing attempts were kept to a minimum. He was 8/19 for 115 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
3) Makeshift receiving core plays well - After Jeremy Kerley was injured in the 2nd quarter the Jets were down to David Nelson, Stephen Hill, Greg Salas, Josh Cribbs and Zach Sudfeld. The ball was spread around to all of them with Salas doing a good job on screens, Sudfeld coming across the middle, and Nelson winning his one-on-one battles to name a few. Salas had 2 catches for 57 yards. Sudfeld had 2 catches for 46 yards including catching a wildcat pass from Josh Cribbs.
4) Offensive line holds up - It was a good day for the offensive line as they mauled the Saints in the run game behind Austin Howard and Willie Colon. D’Brickashaw Ferguson blocked well at the second level on screens especially on the Salas screen. The Saints had one sack through the 3rd quarter and that was a double corner blitz where Smith stepped up to avoid pressure.
5) Jets get some breaks defensively for once - For a team that is -12 in turnover margin and has very few interceptions the law of averages were going to catch up eventually. Dawan Landry tipped a Brees throw which landed in the arms of Demario Davis for one interception. Antonio Cromartie caught a 2nd tipped interception tip-toeing the sideline to hold on to it. A third interception was nullified by a defensive holding penalty away from the play.