New York Jets Week 9: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) scores a touchdown past New Orleans Saints outside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 26-20. They now head into their bye week at 5-4 and in contention for a playoff spot. Who saw that coming at the beginning of the year? Here is the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) Chris Ivory and the offensive line – Chris Ivory had his second dominant game in three weeks this time showing speed to the outside in racking up 139 yards on 18 carries. Ivory had runs of 27, 52 and 25 yards running right past Saints defenders. The other half of this equation is that the offensive line opened some holes for Ivory to run through. Willie Colon and Austin Howard were dominant in consistently opening up holes despite the defense knowing exactly what the Jets were going to do. D’Brickashaw Ferguson did a good job getting to the 2nd level on a couple of screen passes, most notably Greg Salas’ 42 yard catch and run.
2) Defensive line plays angry – After having a terrible game as a unit last week it was clear that they were not happy about it and were going to take it out on Drew Brees and his offensive line. They may have registered “only” two sacks (Wilkerson, Pace) but they registered six quarterback hits and roughly 15 pressures. As usual Wilkerson was the star with a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. Quinton Coples finally appeared to be healthy as he was unblockable at times. He registered three quarterback hits and made one of the most important plays of the game stopping a 4th and 1 reverse by maintaining contain, then the tackle. This was a marked improvement over his play so far this season and steady play from Coples would reduce double teams and free up more defenders to have favorable match ups or come free.
3) Secondary bends but doesn’t break (for the most part) – The Jets mixed and matched corners, safeties and linebackers all day to confuse Drew Brees and make him hold it a bit longer to get the rush there and it worked. Brees burned all three first half timeouts in the 1st quarter and had two delay of game penalties. Dee Milliner showed much improved technique and flashed his athletic ability having his best game of the season. Antonio Allen was all over the field stopping the run, covering Jimmy Graham and others. Dawan Landry had a much better day of coverage including tipping a pass away from a receiver that was intercepted by Demario Davis. Antonio Cromartie let up a 60 yard completion to Robert Meachem but it was due to his falling down while their feet got tangled. He also let up a touchdown to Jimmy Graham that was not defendable. Cromartie was in perfect coverage position but Graham used his size to body out Cromartie. Jaiquawn Jarrett had a more difficult day in coverage getting beaten by Graham deep then getting dragged into the end zone. Kyle Wilson could not keep up with Lance Moore at all. Moore was open whenever he wanted.
Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan hugs New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan before the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
4) Rex Ryan & Marty Mornhinweg – Rex Ryan is a defensive genius and a master motivator. We can pretty much say that all the time but especially this year. Each time this young team has fallen on its face and were counted out again Ryan would get them to believe again and pull out a gritty victory. Last week Cincinnati threw the ball all over the field against the Jets and embarrassed them 49-9. New Orleans has a ton of weapons like Cincinnati and loves to throw it all over the field except their quarterback is Drew Brees, a future hall of famer. Another blowout, right? Wrong. The whole defense played angry and refused to be embarrassed and they ended up asserting their will on the Saints. Marty Mornhinweg Sunday somehow got 26 points out of a group of receivers that included Greg Salas, Zach Sudfeld, Josh Cribbs, David Nelson and Stephen Hill. They gained 199 yards on the ground with one rookie guard and the other guard being a game-time decision. The offense mixed wildcat including a pass that went for 25 yards, pistol, shotgun and traditional under center formations. The way that Mornhinweg and David Lee have been able to get the team moving the football without your best wide receiver for five games, without your top tight end for four games, and too many wide receiver injuries to count is nothing short of miraculous. All of this with a rookie quarterback.
5) Perfection – Nick Folk knocked through four more field goals Sunday to go to 23-23 on the season. He has been clutch with three of those kicks being game winners in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. There is no shortage of superlatives to explain how great Folk has been and how much he has meant for the Jets.
6) Josh Cribbs – Cribbs has been a difference maker since joining the team two weeks ago. He once again made a big play in the return game with a 42 yard return that started a touchdown drive in the 2nd quarter. Overall he had five kickoff returns for 134 yards which is a 26.8 yard average. He now runs the wildcat package and gave it a new dimension today by throwing to Zach Sudfeld for a 25 yard gain. He also runs from the wildcat and had three carries for 12 yards. In addition to all that he is a receiver who had two catches for six yards. The team has said they will continue to expand Cribbs’ package of plays each week.
Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) walks off the field after defeating the the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won the game 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
1) Geno Smith’s day – If I had a category called OK then this would be there because it isn’t that bad. Smith was 8/19 for 115 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also had six carries for 18 yards and a touchdown rushing mostly on designed runs. Smith was inaccurate but stood in and didn’t shy away from the pressure. He threw the ball away when necessary and with the exception of one (threw into triple coverage) did not try to force the ball in to a receiver. Once Kerley got injured in the second quarter and the running game was working so well a conscious decision was made to have Smith manage the game. He led two touchdown drives to end the 1st half. Then in the second half he consciously tried to avoid the big turnover, to let the running game and the defense do their jobs. He succeeded and being turnover free was a big part of the victory. I think that there will be games where Smith can and will have to make plays and carry the load. I do not think he will be a game manager this year I think that once Holmes and Winslow come back and there are enough weapons that the run:pass ratio will even out a bit. If he were more accurate today I would definitely put this as good but instead it is just OK but definitely something to build on.
2) Running out the clock – A consistent theme this year is that when given the ball with a chance to close out games they have the lead in the offense has failed each time. They need to find a way to run for a 1st down even when the opponent knows it is coming. Today Chris Ivory ran for one yard, then Bilal Powell for no gain, followed by a beautiful back shoulder throw from Smith to Stephen Hill except that Hill was running a go route. That left the Saints down six points with the ball and 2:06 to go. The defense never let the Saints’ drive get started going incompletion, then penalty, followed by three incompletions to end the game. Once the offense can develop the killer instinct they will become a better team and go a bit easier on our blood pressure.
3) Ryan Quigley – Quigley averaged 42.8 yards per punt with punts of 42, 40, 46, and 42. His second punt was awful and set the Saints up at their own 38 yard line which is unacceptable in a game of field position. If the remaining cap money this year didn’t need to be allocated to replace injured players I would say the Jets should go after Zoltan Mesko.
4) Injuries – Jeremy Kerley left the game with a bad-looking elbow injury that the Jets fear is serious it could be a fracture and Antonio Allen went down with a head injury that hopefully is not a concussion. Both players are very important and are tough to replace.
No Ugly Today