The Morning After Report
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Up until their Week 5 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Jets have won with their dominating offense and taking advantage of an opportunistic defense. In last night’s win, the Jets showed guts, guile, and grit to overcome third down and red zone deficiencies to defeat a resurgent Vikings team, 29-20.
After a first half that the Jets completely dominated, other than the score, the Vikings came roaring back in the second half to score three touchdowns and make it an exciting Monday night game.
At 4-1, the Jets boast the league’s best record and last night was a featured signature win for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. They could have easily succumbed to another classic, patented Brett Favre comeback but they pulled off big plays at big points – another signature move by Super Bowl-winning teams.
- As I’ve started off in every Morning After Report, through five weeks of the NFL season Mark Sanchez still has zero turnovers. But in a game that was ravaged by the weather, Sanchez has definitely seen better days.
- The combination of Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery were targeted 30 times during the game. The result? A total of 13 catches for 157 yards. For what is arguably the most talented receiving corps in the NFL, that is way too many misses.
- Sanchez made a career high 44 attempts last night. There goes the theory of defense’s forcing him to throw in order to win.
- Their red zone and third down efficiency has been the team’s biggest Achilles’ heel all season long. They converted an anemic 29% of third downs while putting up a goose egg for red zone efficiency. The offense can’t be happy walking away with three points after every drive.
- “Dash and Bash” ran all over a great Vikings defense that hadn’t let a team rush for 150 yards in 51 straight games. The combination of Tomlinson and Greene ran for 151 yards.
- I like the way they’re using the two back to their advantage. In the first half, they let LT slice through defenses and force them to chase him around for 30 minutes. And after the defense is gassed from chasing a rejuvenated LT, they drop the hammer and send Greene through the A and B gaps.
- Greene’s late 23-yard scamper proved just how effective and devastating this configuration can be.
- For those keep score at home, LT had 25 touches for 109 totals yards to Greene’s 57 yards on ten carries.
- The key match-up was not Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss, but rather D’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. Jared Allen. Brick won the heavyweight bout, keeping the ruthless pass rush specialist out of Sanchez’s hair all night.
- The line as a whole did exceptionally well, while letting up two sacks for the first time in two weeks, keeping Sanchez free from the NFL’s most daunting front four (see Allen, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams & Ray Edwards). On the night, the line only allowed three QB hits.
- The biggest compliment for the offensive line is allowing the Jets backs to gain over 150 yards on a Vikings team that hasn’t allowed that in over 50 games. A tip of the cap to offensive line coach Bill Callahan is most certainly due.
DEFENSIVE FRONT 7: A-
- First and foremost the return of Calvin Pace, the team’s top pass rush specialist, was felt by everyone on Monday. In fact, after his 1.5 sack, 3 QB hit performance I’m sure Favre is feeling the effects more than anyone.
- Whoever said that Jason Taylor was too old to make an impact hasn’t been watching the same guy I have. Last season he had seven sacks and three forced fumbles for the Dolphins. Respectable. This season? Through five games Taylor has three sacks and two forced fumbles in a limited role. Impact felt.
- The Vikings made it a point to set the pass up with the above average rushing attack from Adrian Peterson. He came into the game averaging 130 yards a game and left with 88 yards on 18 attempts.
- David Harris, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Shaun Ellis all recorded four or more tackles in the game.
DEFENSIVE SECONDARY: C
- They were bailed out by Dwight Lowery’s pick-six at the end of the game, but the secondary nearly gave the game away.
- The Jets were able to play a straight man-to-man coverage until Moss’s 37-yard score in the third quarter. Safety help shaded over towards Moss for the rest night, which left a lot of free space in the middle of the field for Percy Harvin.
- It was clear that Revis was not 100% like we all had hoped as Harvin was able to move at will on the All-Pro corner. “We didn’t want [Revis] to have to chase a guy 50 times who’s running 50 go routes,” said Rex Ryan on why he had Cromartie on Moss.
- Aside from the TD to Moss, which was actually against really good coverage, Antonio Cromartie had another good game against Moss. “No, that was the plan,” said Cromartie referring to whether his coverage on Moss was a last-minute adjustment or a game plan. “Coach Ryan and Coach Thurman felt good about it.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: A+
- Jets fans should thank their lucky stars that Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum took a chance on Nick Folk because so far it’s worked out. Folk, now a year fully removed from a hip injury in his kicking leg, went 5-for-5 in field goals last night. Aside from Greene’s touchdown run, Folk provided the only offensive spark for the Jets.
- Folks performance prompted Ryan, who was not Folk’s biggest fan, to sarcastically say, “That field goal kicker is not too bad.”
- Brad Smith showed that he can still make an impact on the game despite losing playing time since Holmes’ return. He averaged 40 yards over three returns, highlighted by an 86-yard return late in the game that sent up a 30-yard field goal from Folk.
- Credit Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for putting a stop to the relentless play of Adrian Peterson, whom they kept in check for the majority of the game.
- They were able to squeak out a win on gut and guile on a day that their offense was sputtering. The credit goes to the players who, at the end of the day, rallied together to win the game, but the coaches who set inspired the players to keep fighting. It’s easy to see that these players truly enjoy going to war for their coaches week-in and week-out.