by Joseph Grinwis
Quarterback – B+
Sanchez: 12-23, 100yds, TD, INT
In his second playoff start Mark Sanchez was once again on target with most of his passes, minus his first intereception since Week 15 against Atlanta. With the win Sanchez becomes only the second rookie Quarterback ever to win his first two playoff games (Joe Flacco, 2008, being the other one). Next week he will look to be come the first rookie Quarterback to ever lead his team to a Super Bowl apperance.
Running Back – A+
Greene: 23 carries, 128yds, TD
Jones: 14 carries, 41yds
Shonn Greene continues to show off his fresh legs as he runs through playoff defenses to daylight in his rookie season with the Jets. The Jets are being rewarded for trading up for the first year man from Slickerville, NJ, and Greene looks to be the workhorse back of the future for the green and white. Thomas Jones came in on 4th and 1 from the San Diego 29 to gain two yards to seal the victory and send the team off to Indianapolis.
Wide Receiver/Tight End – A
Edwards: 2 receptions, 41yds
Cotchery: 3 receptions, 25yds
Keller: 3 receptions, 19yds, TD
Dustin Keller continues to show the entire NFL that he is one of the best young targets at the Tight End position in the league with a strong postseason showing as he has caught both of Sanchez’s postseason touchdown passes. Braylon Edwards had zero drops and made two big third down conversions and Jerricho Cotchery was his usual consistent self.
Offensive Line – A
Once again Sanchez was barely touched and the running lanes were wide open for Greene and Jones. After allowing zero sacks last week in Cincinnati the unit did allow one sack of Sanchez and a couple of hits, but the Chargers do boast one of the best 1-2 punches of rushing linebackers in the league with Shaun Phillips (6 tackles) and Shawne Merriman.
Defensive Line – B+
Sione Pouha, the man who “couldn’t” replace Kris Jenkins, led the unit with 5 tackles and continues to prove that although he isn’t as powerful as Jenkins he is an important piece to the Jets puzzle and has done an amazing job filling in for Big Jenk. Shaun Ellis fractured his hand in the game, but played through it, showing the kind of toughness Jets fans have loved him for for over a decade now. Mike DeVito picked up his first postseason sack.
Linebackers – B+
David Harris led the way with 10 tackles and Bart Scott chipped in with another 4 as both came up the middle pressuring Rivers and made big tackles on LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles out of the backfield. Where would the Jets be without their fiery leader in Scott?
Secondary – A+
Darrelle Revis shut down Vincent Jackson and picked up his second postseason interception and continues to prove that he is the true Defensive Player of the Year. Kerry Rhodes perhaps had his best game of the season with a big strip sack of Philip Rivers in the 4th quarter and chipped in 8 tackles as well. Hats off to Jim Leonhard who had 6 tackles and a big interception that set up the Jets first touchdown of the game to give them the lead that they would never give up.
Special Teams – A
Unlike Nate Kaeding, Jay Feely made his field goal and the Jets did not let Darren Sproles or Antonio Cromartie get a big return on them. James Ihedigbo forced a fumble on Cromartie, and even though San Diego recovered it, it stopped Cromartie from gaining more yards. Kerry Rhodes came down with the onside kick with under 3 minutes to play to give the offense the chance to seal the deal with the ground game, which they did.
Coaching – A
Although the first half play calling from Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was questionable at best, in the second half the Jets got back to their bread and butter, even letting Sanchez roll out a couple of times. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine continue to form great game plans to shut down top tier Quarterbacks in this league. Now will be their biggest test as they will face the best the league has to offer in Peyton Manning.
Ladies and gentleman, the way things have been breaking for this Jets team since Week 16, there is just no chance they lose this game and I’ll be in attendance rooting them on.