During the Jets Thanksgiving Day game against Dallas, P Ben Graham was called on to kick eight times mainly due to a combination of poor execution offensively by the Jets and a vast amount of pressure put on QB Kellen Clemens who had his worst day as a starter, finishing the game with a 45.6 QB rating.
The statistics from this game tell the whole story. The Jets did not run an offensive play in the Dallas part of the field until late in the second quarter. In addition, they were unable to register a first down for over 26 straight minutes in the second half. They finally got a first down when Clemens found WR Jerricho Cotchery for a 31-yard gain late in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys finished the game with 21 first downs compared to the nine totaled by the Jets.
Dallas dominated the entire game with a total of 344 total yards compared to the Jets 180 yards. The time of possession statistic was just as ugly as the Cowboys controlled the ball for 37:52, while the Jets only had the ball for mere 22 minutes.
Even when the Jets had the ball they struggled to keep drives going. Gang Green was miserable on third down, going ony 2/14 (14%) as well as having six drives where they went three and out.
“It was a tail of two teams and to come out and play a team like the Cowboys and not be able to execute or have that type of execution, it going to be like that at all times,” said head coach Eric Mangini. “We played a good football team. The Cowboys played well. To beat a team like that you have to play your best football and today we didn’t play our best football.”
“It was across the board. We struggled in the passing game, we struggled on third down. And even when we had third and short situations we couldn’t convert. And they made it tough,” added Mangini.
Although the offense played horrible, they weren’t the whole reason why the Jets lost the game. The Dallas defense did a great job of disrupting everything the Jets wanted to do on offense. Led by LB’s DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis, Dallas did a great job of putting pressure on Clemens while keeping him in the pocket. Ellis had two sacks while Ware compiled four tackles.
The Dallas defense along with stopping the passing game, also put a halt to the Jets running game. RB Thomas Jones, who had a 100-yard effort last week against the Steelers, never got going. It looked like offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer wanted to establish the running game early. But due to the eight men the Cowboys put in the box during most plays, Jones was unable to find any daylight.
His backup, Leon Washington didn't fare any better. Washington only carried the ball twice for 14 yards and also had a fumble on a kickoff return.
“We didn’t play well. They came out, played well and we didn’t play well at all. ,” said Jones. “I am kind of at a loss of words. We played hard but we didn’t execute. They played a great game and we have to give them credit.”
Things looked very bleak from the outset when the Cowboys drove right down the field on the Jets with the first possession of the game. It only took the Cowboys eight plays to start the scoring as RB Marion Barber (18 carries, 103 yards and 1 TD)scored from seven yards out to give Dallas 7-0 lead.
The Cowboys increased their lead to 14-0 when QB Tony Romo found TE Jason Witten who easily beat Jets LB Matt Chatham to make the catch for a score. Mangini said there was a miscommunication between the linebackers and secondary which enabled Witten to make the catch.
The Cowboys would extend their lead and put the game out of reach minutes later. Clemens was looking for Cotchery, who was running and out pattern. Whether Clemens only looked at Cotchery or Dallas CB Terence Newman just made a good, aggressive read on the ball the result still remained the same. Newman jumped in front of Cotchery, intercepting the pass and returning it 50 yards for a touchdown.
The Cowboys added two field goals by Nick Folk and a 22-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Owens.
Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis summed their Thanksgiving experience the best.
“Bottom line is we lost,” said Ellis. “They won; we lost; now we just have to move on the next game.”
Pennington Possible Return?
QB Kellen Clemens would tell you over the past two weeks that he has not played his best football. His numbers have been declining each week since taking over the starting reigns from QB Chad Pennington. During Mangini’s post-game press conference he was asked if he at any point thought about putting Pennington in today’s game or having him possibly start next week against the Dolphins, the only team he beat this season.
Mangini said he did not think about putting Pennington in the game against the Cowboys nor did he name Clemens his starter for next week. Mangini says he will make the best decisions for the team on a week-to-week basis. Even though he did not name a starter for next week, all indications lead to Clemens starting next week against Miami.
You Are What Your Record Is
Coming into this game against the Cowboys, the Jets wanted to prove to the world that they are not a 2-8 team. Despite having the horrible record, Gang Green had an opportunity on national television to show people that they are better than 2-8. Well mission failed and Jets S Kerry Rhodes spoke about that topic after the game.
“We couldn’t handle the big stage today I guess,” said Rhodes. “It’s embarrassing when you lose 34-3 anytime. It makes it worse that everybody was watching today. This is a national game and it is seen everywhere.”
Getting to Know Revis
During his conference call with the New York media, Dallas WR Terrell Owens said “I don’t know who he is,” referring to Jets CB Darrelle Revis. Well if Owens didn’t know who Revis was before the game, he knows now.
Revis was on Owens most of the game and the rookie cornerback did a good job of making Owens a non-factor most of the game. Owens did catch a late touchdown pass, but by that time the game was already out of reach. Revis and the rest of the defense only let Owens haul in 6 passes for a total of 65 yards and one touchdown.
That is what K Mike Nugent has been saying recently after his field goal attempts. Nugent’s 40-yard field goal in the second quarter represented the only score the Jets offense could muster on the Cowboys defense. Nugent got off to a rough start the season but has turned his season around. Nugent has now connected on 13 of last 14 field goal attempts.
Coles Misses Another Game
WR Laveranues Coles missed his second game of the season on Thursday. Coles, who suffered a sprained ankle in the win against the Steelers, did practice this week. Coles even said this week that he was healthy and feeling good. Obviously Mangini though differently. Coles missed the game against the Redskins due to an concussion. Before that game Coles had started 104 consecutive games.
Other inactives for the Jets were 3rd QB Marques Tuiasosopo, FB Darian Barnes, OL Jacob Bender, OL Adrian Jones, TE Sean Ryan, LB Marques Murrell, DL Eric Hicks.
-Besides Pennington, WR Chris Davis was the only Jet not to play in today’s game.
-The Jets recorded three sacks today, giving them 10 sacks in the last two games after posting nine sacks through the first nine games.
-DT C.J. Mosley sacked Tony Romo in the first quarter. He has 1.5 sacks on the season and 5.5 for his career. Eric Barton sacked Romo in the second quarter. He has recorded two sacks this season and 18.5 in his career. Dewayne Robertson sacked Romo in the third quarter. It was his 3.5 sack in the last two games. He has four sacks on the season and 14.5 for his career.
-S Kerry Rhodes intercepted Tony Romo in the first quarter and returned it 22 yards for his team-leading third interception of the season and the eighth interception of his career. It was his second pick in as many weeks.
-TE Chris Baker caught a season-long 22-yard pass from Kellen Clemens on the Jets first offensive play of the first quarter. Baker has caught at least one pass in 21 consecutive games played.
-With the loss, the Jets now trail Dallas 7-2 in the all-time series. The Jets are now 3-3 on Thanksgiving.
Despite not deserving it after the effort they showed on Thanksgiving Day, the Jets players will have Friday through Sunday off. The will return to Weeb Ewbank Hall on Monday to being preparation for the Miami Dolphins, who might have RB Ricky Williams in their backfield.