Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 6 Jets vs. Colts
By Alan Schechter
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) hands off to running back Shonn Greene (23) during the second half at Metlife Stadium. The Jets won the game 35-9. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Time for the Monday Morning Quarterback, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a happy one, as everyone would imagine, coming off the Jets 35-9 browbeating of the Indianapolis Colts yesterday at Met Life Stadium. There were a lot of encouraging signs yesterday for the Jets, so let’s get right to the game.
The Jets took control of this game early. After falling behind 3-0 on an Adam Vinatieri field goal, the Jets marched right down the field for a TD and never looked back. They set the tone with the ground game, as Shonn Greene broke off a 21 yard run on the drive that set the Jets up in Indianapolis territory. Mark Sanchez wasn’t called upon to do too much yesterday, but he made the throws he had to make, and this drive was no different. Mark started the drive off with a 9 yard hookup to Jeremy Kerley, and finished it with a beatuiful TD pass to Stephen Hill. He put the ball in the only spot he could, and made the catch for the TD.
The Jets opened the game up with a late TD in the second quarter from Mark Sanchez to Jason Hill, but the opportunity was set up by a fake punt.
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Nick Bellore (54) celebrates with outside linebacker Garrett McIntyre (50) and quarterback Tim Tebow (15) after a fake punt against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
On a 4th and 11 from the Indianapolis 40, Mike Westhoff called a fake punt, and the Jets worked it to perfection. Tim Tebow threw one of his trademark jump passes, and hit Nick Bellore for a 23 yard pickup and a new set of downs. Instead of giving the ball back to the Colts with a chance to tie the game at 14, the Jets had a second life and they cashed in. Mark Sanchez hit the recently acquired Jason Hill, and like that, the Jets had a two score lead, and never looked back, crusing to a 35-9 win.
How did they get it done? By peforming on both sides of the football. We talked in the Jets Takeoff! preview piece that the Colts could be run against. The Jets took advantage of this better than they have all season so far. They rushed for 252 yards, a number we haven’t seen on our side in quite some time. Shonn Greene ran like he wanted to silence all of the critics today, running for over 5 yards per carry, recording 32 carries for 161 yards, both career highs, and 3 TDs. The line did an admirable job opening the holes, and Shonn ran through them. The Jets were even able to get Joe McKnight open in space, as we have been suggesting, and it paid dividends. Joe ran the ball just 3 times, but recorded 71 yards. The running game was explosive. Finally!
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws to running back Bilal Powell (29) against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Did the passing game have an amazing day yesterday? No it did not. But it absolutely had an efficient day. The passing game didn’t need to have a huge day, because the running game performed so well. The passing game made the necessary throws in the important spots. That is all they were required to do yesterday, and that is what they did. You cannot hold that against the offense, and Mark Sanchez.
Mark Sanchez did not have numbers that are going to jump off of the boxscore for anybody. He didn’t have to. When the running game goes for over 5 yards per carry, and 250+ yards, the quarterback just has to keep the defense honest with the passing game. A lot of Sanchez’s detractors are going to look at his numbers to reference as being unimpressive, but that is not always the best judge. It’s not fair to hold the fact that they didn’t ask him to throw much as ammunition against Mark Sanchez.
The two touchdown passes Mark threw were excellent. As we talked about last week, Mark Sanchez is terrifically accurate between the numbers and today was no different. The pass to Stephen Hill was right on the money, thrown threw a very small opening. You couldn’t have made a better throw than Mark made there. He made a strong throw on the second TD pass as well. Jason Hill ran a simple post pattern, and Mark made a strong throw for an easy pitch and catch. 11-18 for 82 yards and 2 TDs is not a day that will be remembered, but you can’t hold that against Mark. When called upon to make a throw, Mark made it. Mark Sanchez did what he had to do, and that is all you can ask for.
On defense, the Jets rushing defense looked like its old self, allowing less than 3 yards per carry. No, they were not going against a running back that scared anybody, but they still had to perform, and did a good job. The top rusher for the Colts was Vick Ballard, who ran for an eye-popping 25 yards. It was a performance against the run that was much more in character for a Rex Ryan defense.
The pass defense did an excellent job as well, holding Andrew Luck to a completion percentage of 50%, as he went 22-44 through the air. They picked him off twice, once by Antonio Cromartie and once by Ellis Lankster. It was nearly a third, as Cromartie recorded a second INT that was nullified by a questionable call of pass interference. Reggie Wayne did record 5 catches for 87 yards, but there was never a point during the game where you felt that the passing game of the Colts was taking over, and that was a testament to the Jets’ defensive performance.
They recorded 4 sacks as well, with 1.5 by Quinton Coples.
They have to keep working. The Jets cannot let this one go to their heads, as this is still a win against a team that they were supposed to beat. They have a major test next Sunday, as the Jets head to New England for their first matchup against the Patriots.
It should be a fun week. Stay tuned this afternoon for the report card.