Morning After Report
FLORHAM PARK, NY – Going in to Week 4, after the daunting three game gauntlet of Baltimore, New England and Miami, the Jets are in first place in the AFC East sporting a sprightly 2-1 record. Even if it is due to an early divisional tie-breaker, given the obstacles that have been hurdled to get to this point, there is plenty to smile about. However there is, clearly, vast room for improvement.
Last night’s game showed just how good the Jets offense can be and just how bad the defense looks without Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace and Kris Jenkins. Despite the defensive deficiencies, Gang Green persevered and held on for a 31-23 road win against the Miami Dolphins.
Here’s the Official Jets Insider’s Week 4 report card:
PASSING GAME: A
- Let this next sentence sink for a moment. Through three weeks of the NFL season, Mark Sanchez has yet to turn the ball over. For a sophomore, who in his rookie year led the NFL with 22 interceptions, that is taking huge strides in the right direction.
- Not only does he not turn the ball over, but for the second straight week has thrown for three touchdowns. He never did that last year.
- The Sanchez-Dustin Keller connection has come on strong. His six reception, 98-yard, 2 TD performance drew Rex Ryan to boast, “We said to the fantasy leaguers that they should take him. He’s really a nightmare to cover.”
- Braylon Edwards, minus the beard, made the most of his time on the field. He took a 15-yard pass 55 yards to the house on his possession and also grabbed a 20-yard ball on a key third down that eventually led to a touchdown. He also drew a key pass interference call in the endzone on Dolphins’ CB Jason Allen. Despite missing the first quarter due to his Tuesday morning arrest, Edwards showed his big play potential and just how important he is to this offense.
- After averaging three sacks in their first two games, the Dolphins rarely got to Sanchez as the Jets offensive line did not allow a sack for the first time all season.
RUNNING GAME: B
- The tandem backfield of LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 111 yards and touchdown. Sprinkle in Brad Smith’s wildcat yardage of 41 yards and the ground game offers a very steady balance to the aerial assault Sanchez has put on the last two weeks.
- Let all the LT naysayers take a moment to insert their feet in mouths. With that taken care of, it’s safe to say that Tomlinson looks to be in mid-20’s form. He has taken very well to the splitting duties with Greene. But to those who still believe that Greene is the starter, look at this: LT was in 45 of 57 offensive plays last night. He might not admit to it, but LT is no back-up.
- Greene’s stumbling out of the gates in the first two weeks has helped with an increase in LT’s touches along with making the most of every opportunity he has.
DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN: C+
- In what has been the most injured department of the Jets team, the front seven held their own despite missing Pace and Jenkins.
- They held the pesky Dolphins ground game to 84 yards rushing, averaging 3.7 YPR.
- The replacement team of DeVito/Green/Pouha accounted for four tackles and one pass defended.
- Former Dolphin Jason Taylor and Shaun Ellis each recorded sacks.
- The defensive pass rush is painfully missing the eight sacks of Calvin Pace. The lack of a pass rush allowed time for Chad Henne to sick back and pick apart the Revis-less defensive backfield of the Jets, as he had a career day throwing the ball.
DEFENSIVE SECONDARY: D
- I give them a D as in they need Darrelle Revis. Henne carved up the secondary for a career high 363 yards and two scores.
- The much anticipated showdown between Brandon Marshall and Antonio Cromartie ended up being the Brandon Marshall show. He pulled down 10 balls for 166 yards and a touchdown.
- Rookie Kyle Wilson must not be used to playing on a green field, because he has been getting burnt all season long.
- Dolphins’ third down beast, Davone Bess, lived up to his reputation has three of his six catches were on third down conversions. The Jets’ struggles with stopping teams on third down continued as they the Dolphins converted 47% of third downs.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
- Return specialist Brad Smith had four returns and averaged 37.5 yards. It was that great starting field position that allowed the Jets offense to get rolling.
- Special teams coach Mike Westoff got a deflection for the second straight week as Eric Smith got a hand on a Brandon Fields punt.
- Jets’ punter Steve Weatherford averaged 46 yards over four punts and twice pinned the Dolphins within their own twenty yard line.
- Kicker Nick Folk looked strong striking the ball. He lined up for a 56-yard FG try to end the first half, but a false start penalty on Rob Turner forced him at an unreasonable 61 yards.
- The Jets had a great offensive game plan, feeding the Dolphins defense a steady dose of run and pass. It was probably the most complete game we’ve seen from the offense this year. While a lot of credit goes to the players for their execution, credit OC Brian Schottenheimer for putting the game plan in place.
- The mental mistakes continue to haunt the Jets as they were penalized 9 times for 81 yards. They’ve been penalized 29 times thus far.
- Rex Ryan made most of his challenges going 2-for-2 with the red flags. The first on a potential Sanchez interception, however the review showed that the ball hit the ground before Allen could gain possession. The other gave the Jets offense a fresh set of goal line downs after challenging whether the Dolphins defense had 12 men on the field. The call worked out and the Jets scored. Heads up play by the head coach.