What a way to head into the bye week! The Jets pull the upset at MetLife Stadium yesterday, taking down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints by a score of 26-20. The Jets, to their credit, had an excellent game plan heading into this one, and they executed it nearly to perfection. The result? The Jets head into the bye week with more wins than people thought they would have all season long with five. Their 5-4 record, combined with an easy schedule in the second half, makes a Wild Card run a legitimate possibility. Let’s talk about the game.
Just as we talked about all week-long, the Jets imposed their will on the Saints with the ground game. Chris Ivory showed his former team that they should regret trading him to New York, running the ball 18 times for 139 yards and one touchdown. His second carry of the game went for 27 yards, and he didn’t look back for the rest of the afternoon.
As a team, the Jets put up a net of 198 yards rushing, taking us back to the good old days of Rex Ryan’s reign in New York, and they averaged 5.5 yards per carry. We talked during the week about this being the blueprint to beat this team. The Saints haven’t been able to stop the run all season, and they didn’t yesterday either. The Jets dominated up front, and that gave them the opportunity to control the game offensively.
The passing game was an afternoon for unsung heroes. Jeff Cumberland and Santonio Holmes were unavailable, and Jeremy Kerley left the game early with an elbow injury, meaning someone had to step up. Two guys that you never expected to step up, did. Greg Salas caught two passes for 57 yards, and backup tight end Zach Sudfeld added two catches for 47 yards.
The Jets weren’t asked to do much through the air, as Geno Smith only went 8-19 for 115 yards. Four of those catches were by the unsung heroes, Sudfeld and Salas. The Jets didn’t need much more than that, thanks to the dominance of the running game.
The defense also was in Drew Brees’ face all afternoon, the other part of our blueprint from last week. Did they record a lot of sacks? No, they only recorded two, although they were on back to back plays. What they DID do was hurry Brees, many times. Remember we said he had to be uncomfortable? Well, he clearly was. Drew took two delay of game penalties, used his first half timeouts far too early, and never got settled in the pocket.
Dee Milliner showed some signs of coming out of his slumping play as well, making a nice play on one pass in his direction. If he “gets it” finally, it will make the Jets tough to throw on in the second half.
Two turnovers turned into 10 points doesn’t hurt either.
And who could forget Nicky “automatic”, Nick Folk? Another excellent performance by him.
5-4 into the bye week. Could we have asked for more?