NY Jets: The magic of the 3rd quarter
The NY Jets have become quite the defensive team when the 3rd quarter hits as they have not allowed opposing teams to score at all.
The NY Jets have not allowed a single point in the third quarter at all this season. In this young NFL year, the Jets could not afford another letdown performance against an abysmal Washington Redskins team. Going into halftime, the Jets looked to be facing the exact situation that every fan was afraid of. The determining factor of the 3rd quarter.
Even I admit to being a pessimist in this situation, as I couldn’t bear to watch the Jets suffer another deflating home loss. With upcoming road games in Foxborough and Oakland – which is no cakewalk anymore – the season could have gotten away from them. In the first half, the Jets’ offense played with the yips, much like the offense of last year seemed to. They gave points away. This formula certainly would not work against the Patriots as Todd Bowles needed to fix the problem right away.
The Jets don’t play in the NFC East, so a 9-7 record won’t get the job done. Not with the Patriots in your division. Not with Rex Ryan’s defense playing against you. Not with a potentially upstart Dolphins team. The urgency is real, and if the Jets slipped up against a Redskins team in a game that was setup essentially as a cupcake matchup, then the season could have turned on a dime.
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In the first half, the defense did not execute well when facing short-field situations, and Chris Ivory only received ten carries.
Many pundits believed the Jets may have been lightening his workload in anticipation of a long day at the office in Foxborough, but he wasn’t getting the help he needed from his fellow running backs.
If the Jets were going to be successful in the second half, they needed to return to their ball-hawking ways on defense (much like Bashaud Breeland did in the first half) and they needed Chris Ivory to touch the ball more or for the backups to provide meaningful yardage.
This was a season-defining half. Good teams are supposed to beat teams like the Redskins. We would learn a lot about this Jets team based on how they came out in the second half. It turns out they answered the bell. Bowles must have had stern words for his team at halftime, as they came out of it with a fire in their belly. The offense came out with a 7-play, 47-yard drive to tie the game where they focused on getting Ivory the ball. Then Revis Island made an appearance, making a pick that appeared to be one of the easier ones in his career.
Then FITZMAGIC made an appearance with an 18 yard scamper, highlighted by this reaction:
Ryan Fitzpatrick saves his best faces for epic TD runs. http://t.co/jp4TaAFx7Q pic.twitter.com/s03l77Me3n
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) October 18, 2015
Some of the personnel may change, but the gameplan remains the same. Last year, the Jets appeared to diverge from their trademark gameplan: run the ball, protect the football, and be ballhawks. The Jets woke up in the 3rd quarter and gave the fans legitimate hope going into a pivotal matchup next week.
It also doesn’t hurt to have someone like Brandon Marshall plucking passes out of thin air, like he did on a 35-yard touchdown reception. According to ESPN Stats and Information, and noted by Rich Cimini, Fitzpatrick has completed 71% of passes thrown to Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, but has a completion percentage of 43% when throwing to anyone else.
I would file this one in the “meaningless stats that don’t tell me much of anything” category. Having two of the best receivers in the game means you are going to throw to them more, and they are probably going to catch the ball more because they are good at what they are supposed to be good at – catching the football.
The Jets finished off the Redskins with another INT and lulled the Skins to sleep with a 9-play, 73-yard drive that put the game out of reach. For once, Jets fans could relax in the 4th quarter knowing that the team had secured a much-needed victory. The Jets needed a quarter of rest and relaxation.
Other than a blocked punt in the endzone and a desperation drive in the end, the Jets got exactly that. Ivory spent much of the 4th on the sideline, and the Jets coasted to their fourth win on this young season, thanks to a 17 point 3rd quarter (24 if you count the drive that ended in the 4th).
Sitting at 4-1, the Jets are well positioned for the NFL Playoffs. The AFC seems top heavy. Winning the division will take 12-14 wins, which may be too much to ask of this team. However, based on this schedule, 12 wins is quite feasible if they continue to play how they are playing. The season is young and every game will tell us more about this team. Next week we will all learn a lot.
We have had many moral victories against Tom Brady and his boys in the past few years, but to take the next step, the Jets need to put a 2010 divisional round-type performance in. They just need to play like it’s right after halftime.
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