Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 14 Jets vs. Jaguars
By Alan Schechter
December 9, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars fullback Montell Owens (24) is stopped by New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson (20) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during the first half of the game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t spectacular, but it was a win nonetheless, as the Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday by a score of 17-10, keeping them on the fringe of the playoff race. Believe it or not, after all that we have been through, the Jets are one game behind for the final wild card spot. You can say a lot about this Jets team, but one thing they don’t do is quit. Without further adieu, let’s talk recap.
One thing that came out of this game for me was finally, a reason to prefer Tony Sparano over Brian Schottenheimer. The reason is the persistence with the running game. During the game, a great analogy was made about the running game, when they said it was like swinging the axe to chop down the tree. The tree doesn’t come down right away, you have to keep swinging your axe until you get all the way through the tree, and then it comes down quickly. It’s the same concept with the running game. It doesn’t always start quickly, and it didn’t start quickly yesterday. The Jets were not picking up big chunks of yardage early on the ground by any means. But in the past, they would have gotten away from the running game quickly, and that way it will NEVER work. You have to stick with the running game because eventually, and this happened yesterday, the offensive line wears the defense down, and all of a sudden, big chunks of yardage come on the ground. All of a sudden, from early in the third quarter on, the Jets started dominating on the ground. Right off on the first drive of the second half, the Jets averaged 5.4 yards per carry. The tree came down, and the Jets could move it on the ground. Shonn Greene finished with 77 yards on 20 carries, and Bilal Powell with 78 yards on 19 carries, both with a TD. The ground game was clearly effective because they stuck with it. Schotty would have gotten away from too quickly in the past, but Tony kept persistent. Good for him, and finally a reason to be happy that he is here.
December 9, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) sets to throw during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
It was an interesting day for the quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Interesting, as we was pretty much a non-factor. He basically did what was asked, and going 12-19 for 111 yards and not throwing an INT is not a “bad” day. But, he did fumble the ball away once, and you could tell in the second half that the Jets coaching staff didn’t really trust Mark to do much. In the second half, Mark dropped back to pass a total of 8 times. Eight. They left the rest of it to the ground game. Don’t get me wrong, the running game broke loose and looked terrific in the second half. I am just saying that it appeared that Rex and company didn’t want to give Mark a chance to blow this football game, which is a scary position to take with your starting quarterback. He made the throws that he had to make, no doubt, but he wasn’t called upon that much.
Muhammad Wilkerson continues to be an absolute beast. He added another sack, as well as 3 quarterback hits to go along with 3 tackles. This is what the Jets expected out of their former first round pick, as he has made himself an impact in almost every game. The defense made a nice impact getting into Henne’s face all afternoon, the peak for me being the huge hit by Garrett McIntyre that forced the INT by Bart Scott. The Jets threw a lot of different looks at the Jaguars, and had the offensive line and quarterback confused for a good portion of the afternoon.
Two things to say about the defense today. First is that to me, this is the first day you noticed the absence of Darrelle Revis. Not by any big plays, nothing like that. You saw it in smaller ways. Especially in the first half, you saw Henne taking advantage of the more frequent use of zone coverage, caused by no Revis. Henne, when he had time, was dinking and dunking the Jets to death. The Jets have used less man coverage since Darrelle went down, and Henne’s receivers were finding spots in that zone early. Secondly, they have to close. There is no reason why this game should have come down to one score. The defense needs to put it’s mark on the end of a game and end it.
But a win is a win. We are 6-7, and one game behind in the wild card race. We’ll be back this afternoon for the report card.