STARS OF THE GAME
LB Eric Barton continued his great season by having his best game as a Jet against Seattle on Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
5. Jets FB Jerald Sowell: The Sowell Train was more powerful than a locomotive as he showed his value to QB Chad Pennington in the passing game and grabbed 5 balls for 83 yards. He also showed his running after catch ability as he had huge gains on two FB screens. Sowell's lead blocks sprang Martin for multiple long gains. Sowell was the key safety valve whenever Pennington needed to unload quickly. Sowell's presence in the game opened up some of the deeper routes for the Jet receivers and this "secret weapon" was a major key to the consistent effectiveness of the Jet offense.
4. Jets LB Eric Barton: The veteran, who the Jets acquired from the Raiders in the off-season had his best game as a Jet recording a total of 11 tackles and making numerous big plays including a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles. Barton showed his veteran savvy when he faked running to cover an underneath receiver but stayed in his zone, double covering ‘Hawks TE Itula Mili with LB Jonathan Vilma and then intercepting a fooled Seahawks’ QB Matt Hasselbeck. Barton also showed off his trademark toughness shooting gaps and making tackles at the line. Barton's all-around skills and toughness are a major reason why the Jets defense has played the way it has this season, as the defense shut out its opponent in the second half for the 7th time this season.
3. Jets RB Curtis Martin: CuMart had another big game as he surpassed his pre-season prediction of 1,500 rushing yards this season. Martin, behind his dominating line, gained 134 yards on 24 carries, running two of those 24 carries in for touchdowns. The Jets challenged an injury-plagued Seahawk defensive right up the middle and dominated the matchup by clearing huge holes for Curtis to run through. The Jets stuck to the gameplan of running the ball early to set up the play-action passing game and again, it worked.
2. QB Chad Pennington: Pennington, facing criticism from Jet fans and the media after his poor game last week vs. the Steelers, had a great rebound performance in what coach Herman Edwards called "a must win game." Pennington ran Paul Hackett's surprisingly creative, aggressive offense perfectly, completing 18 of 24 passes for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns. Pennington took advantage of a dominating running attack to setup his strong play-action skills. Pennington threw precise darts over the middle and showed deft touch on the deep ball throughout the game as he showed that his rotator cuff is healthy enough to lead the Jets into the playoffs. Next Sunday against the Pats is the real judgment day and we will see how Pennington’s offense does in the "big game" against the mighty New England defense.
1. The Jets' Offensive Line: 10 yard gain! 15 yard gain! 20 yard gain! Curtis Martin sprung many long runs as he had another great day. Who should the credit go to? The offensive line. As mentioned, Curtis Martin ran through gaping holes all game long, going untouched untill he was well into Seahawks’ secondary on several occasions. The offensive line took advantage of a Seahawk defensive line that had been depleted by injuries as Martin and LaMont Jordan combined for 218 yards rushing. The offensive line's dominance in the running game allowed the Jets to effectively use the play-action passing game as Pennington had one of his best games of the year. In particular, Brandon Moore had his best game as a Jet, as he had the lead block while pulling on each of Martin's 2 TD runs. Moore was quite a find by the Jets and could be one of the most athletic guards in all of football. It's really amazing how the Jet offense had its breakout game in the same game where the Jets offensive line utterly dominated. The offensive line could be the key to the Jets' playoff run.
-Paul Hackett. WR Reverses? Direct Snaps to LaMont Jordan? Misdirection screens? Was that Paul Hackett? The "mad scientist" made an appearance, resurrecting the Jets offense a week after coming under heavy scrutiny during the week. Not only were Paul Hackett's scripted 20 plays effective, his entire gameplan was excellent, showing more aggressive, more creative play-calling throughout the game. Jets fan hope that Sunday wasn't an aberration; let's hope Hackett brings the heat vs. the Patriots next Sunday on judgment day.
-A Jerricho Cotchery sighting! WR Cotchery caught a slant over the middle and turned that 5 yard slant into a big gain and a first gain, showing the potential to be a big-play WR, not just a possession receiver.
-DE Shaun Ellis had a nice game with 3 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
-S Erik Coleman continues his improvement as he had 7 tackles and a sack. Coleman simply seemed to be everywhere.
-CB Terrell Buckley's inability to play the slot continues to haunt the Jets. Buckley was burned by Jerry Rice for a touchdown after Hasselbeck saw the mismatch and audibled to the fade route.
-A Jets game is just not complete unless TE Anthony Becht drops a pass. It’s interesting to think how much better this offense could be if they had even a decent tight end.
-Jerricho Cotchery returned some kicks but did no better than any of the others this season.
-A bad habit of the Jets is letting the opposition score before halftime. It seems like it happens ever game. It really is a momentum killer.
STAT OF THE GAME
MY TWO CENTS
The Jets had a great rebound game. The team clicked both offensively and defensively, and if they can play like they did on Sunday they have the potential to go a long way this year. However, next week's game vs. the Patriots is judgement day. Next week's game is the type of big game Chad Pennington needs to win if he wants to be thought of as an elite quarterback. Paul Hackett must have a solid gameplan or it could ultimately cost him his job. The Jets want respect and a win against the Pats next week is just the thing that will give it to them. The win against Seattle did not make me forget about the loss to the Steelers last week. In fact, it made me frustrated because I saw the potential that this Jets offense has.
Message to Paul Hackett: Have Confidence! You're not so bad when you get that crazed look in your eyes. Don't get scared against a good defense. Just go at them even more. Play to win. Don’t play not to lose. The Jets need a win that will make the Pats and the NFL fear them. Next week's game is Judgement Day and beginning of the "new season."