New York Jets Week 15 Report Card
Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Going into this game, the Jets had never won a game in the state of Pennsylvania (winless against the Eagles and Steelers on the road.) Streak over!
Sanchez: 19/29, 170 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 rushing TD
A better night for Sanchez, who showed improved accuracy and didn’t turn the ball over against a very physical Pittsburgh football team. It wasn’t flashy and he didn’t throw a single touchdown, but he kept the offense in the game.
Running Backs: B+
Considering that the strength of the Steelers is shutting down the run, you have got to credit the running backs for showing up to play today. Most importantly, they hit a few big gains early in the game thus taking the pressure off of Sanchez.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A-
Braylon Edwards hit the century mark. Even without Troy Polamalu, that’s an excellent showing. He made an excellent over the shoulder grab deep down the sidelines and another great one over the middle with two Steelers bearing down on him. Santonio also contributed a few nice grabs.
Offensive Line: A-
The game plan called for many short passes, but the line did a good job of protecting Mark even on the 5 step drops. Again, considering the opponent, the run blocking was excellent. The backs reached almost a 4 yard per carry average. A Slauson holding call may cost the team 7 early in the game, yet all’s well that ends well.
Defensive Line: B+
The defensive line applied effective pressure against Big Ben. Mendenhall ran for 100 yards exactly – but was essentially the only running back they faced. Not a bad showing at all.
Jason Taylor had a huge safety at a crucial point in the game. Linebackers were solid on the pass rush.
A substandard game for the secondary, which was targeted early and often. Ben did carve them up at times, especially on 3rd down en route to 264 yards through the air. Mike Wallace went for 100, and Emmanuel Sanders for 78 (Emmanuel WHO?)
Special Teams: A
Brad Smith’s 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the game was a shot in the arm to a team that hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown in 9 quarters. Kick returns were porous at times, but excellent coverage on punts and a blemish free game by Nick Folk make that completely forgivable.
It’s not easy for the Jets to win in the state of Pennsylvania. Just ask any Jets coach in history. But Rex has. Rex and Rex alone. He has to get credit for that. He also has to a bit of blame: for defensive timeouts early in the game and poor clock management that might have cost the Jets 3 points at the end of the first half. Brian Schottenheimer had a creative game plan that emphasized the run and stretching the field horizontally. He still calls plays that leave you scratching your head from time to time, like a direct snap to Tomlinson on a 3rd and 6. Still, it’s hard to complain when the plan works.