FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The Jets have a lot to be thankful for after their 26-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thanksgiving night. First, they should be thankful for facing an abysmal Bengals team on a night where the offense wasn’t at its finest. And secondly, they should send all of their Thanksgiving leftovers to the x-factor of the game, Brad Smith, who amassed 200 all-purpose yards following a 53-yard touchdown run and an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
At 9-2, the Jets kept pace with the New England Patriots, who routed the Lions in the early afternoon game. This marks their best record after 11 games since 1986, when they started off 10-1 (and finished 10-6). Their wins will set-up a mammoth divisional match-up in New England under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
I must apologize for missing last week’s Morning After Report, as I was interviewing for a new job. But this week I vow this week’s Official JetsInsider.com’s Morning After Report will offer more than what was on dinner tables last night.
- Mark Sanchez did what he had to do. While his 166 yard 1TD-1INT performance certainly was not the same as his previous three games, he was able to keep his team in the game and not let the mistakes snowball.
- Santonio Holmes had his fourth touchdown in his last three games. I think it’s safe to say he has adjusted quite nicely in the Jets’ offense. The only difference being Holmes didn’t wait until the end of the game to make his presence felt.
- I was really expecting the tandem of Holmes (4 rec, 55 yards) and Braylon Edwards (2 rec, 20 yards) to explode against a very questionable Bengals’ secondary, however a tip of the cap must go to them after suffering the embarrassing loss at the hands of the Bills the week prior.
- I should’ve known this was going to be Brad Smith’s game. He has played his best when he faces the Bengals. His two longest runs of his career have come against them, as well as his only two rushing touchdowns.
- The combination of Smith, Shonn Greene (17 att, 70 yards), and LaDanian Tomlinson (13 att, 49 yards) amassed 170 rushing yards (4.6 average) on the day. This marks the fourth time this season they have gained more than 150 yards in a game.
- Greene’s 81 total yards is a sign that he is starting to be used more in the offense, despite last week’s crucial fumble against Houston. Hopefully LT’s numbers (63 total yards) does not mean he is slowing down, only going with a more smash-mouth style of play.
PASSING DEFENSE: B+
- Finally! We have a complete game from the defense. Their three sacks (one safety) and two interceptions were all much needed as the Bengals were able to hang around until half-way through the third quarter.
- Brian Leonhard’s interception was the first interception for the team since Dwight Lowery’s interception against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. Trevor Pryce’s safety late in the game was the team’s first since 2003. The Jets three takeaways match the most since playing the Vikings.
- The match-up of Antonio Cromartie/Darrelle Revis versus Chad Ochocinco/Terrell Owens certainly favored the Jets after. After a lot of pre-game chatter between Revis and Owens, T.O. had a lowly 17 yards on three receptions. Ochocinco didn’t fare much better against Cromartie, who totaled 41 yards on four receptions.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
- Yesterday’s 46-yard total rushing performance marked the second time the Jets’ defense have held their opponent to under 50 yards for the game.
- Not only that, but the Jets held the Bengals to 163 net yards for the game. This is the lowest total for a team since they allowed 124 total yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
- Brad Smith. 200 all-purpose yards. That is all.
- James Ihedigbo had a heads-up play on a punt where the ball allegedly nicked off the helmet of Andre Caldwell. He fell on the ball and recovered it, leading to the Holmes’ score.
- Nick Folk looked a little shaky as he missed a field goal and nearly missed a PAT that caromed off the left post and went through the uprights.
- In the short week, much credit goes to the coaching staff in keeping their players fresh and not overwhelming them with a huge gameplan. While this game was certainly not a dominating game by the Jets, but were able to capitalize in all facets of the game.
- They still have some areas of improvement, especially visiting the Patriots next Monday. Their inability to be discipline is still a thorn in their sides. They were penalized eight times for 64 yards. Many will say that those penalties were “bad calls”, however as they have been a highly penalized team all year, they will not get the benefit of the doubt from officials. So the close plays will continue to go in the favor of their opponents until they fix their issues.
- Third downs are also an area where they will need to focus on next week. Going 3-13 on third downs against the Patriots will only hurt themselves, as the New England offense has been clicking on all cylinders in the past few weeks.
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