Week 3 – 9/25/11
New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders
Mark Sanchez: 27/43, 369, 2TD (pass), 1TD (rush), 1 INT
Once again, Sanchez passed for more than 300 yards. His completion percentage was lower than last week, but his touchdown to turnover ratio was on the plus side (3 to 1, if you count the rushing touchdown… could have added a second at the end of the game.) In the absence of Nick Mangold and with a reeling Wayne Hunter at RT, Sanchez played admirably. However, an early interception in the Raiders endzone killed a momentum shift.
Running Backs: A-
Greene: 15/59/0, 7 receptions for 47
Tomlinson: 6/38/0, 5 receptions for 116 and 1 TD
To some extent, it was a bounce back game for the running backs on the ground. At an average of nearly 4YPC, it was at the very least… respectable. Tomlinson was the Jets leading receiver, he broke into space for a 70+ yard gain on a screen. For Greene, 7 receptions is quite impressive.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C-
The Raiders shut down the Jets #1 receiver Santonio Holmes, limiting him to just 1 catch on the day. Burress was far more active. Despite being the victim of a penalty on seemingly every route (whether called or not), he still managed to post a touchdown grab and 55 yards. It was nice to see new acquisition Mason getting involved, and even Patrick Turner got a few reps (but no catches).
Offensive Line: D
If you want to curve this grade up based on the absence of Nick Mangold, be my guest: the “D” grade reflects their actual play on the field relative to the ideal target. Run blocking was adequate. Pass protection was effective, especially due to the Jets game plan which involved getting Sanchez out of the pocket and on the move. The pass blocking completely collapsed in the 2nd half, though, and Sanchez was under constant pressure. The Raiders tipped numerous passes at the line. Mangold cannot return soon enough.
Defensive Line: D
There wasn’t nearly as much pressure as you would like to see on Raiders QB Jason Campbell, due in part to the fact that the D-line wasn’t taking up enough blocks. Raiders broke around the edges far too easy.
Having surrendered over 200 yards against the run, one is tempted to wonder whether any Jets linebackers actually even played in this game. At this rate, expect them to show up on milk cartons soon.
The secondary had a chance to keep the Jets in the game late, until Campbell landed a pass that set up the game sealing field goal. Antonio Cromartie was flagged numerous times, half of the flags were due to his own errors, other flags were dropped on him for no apparent reason. Donald Strickland played well in Cromartie’s absence after the latter left with a rib problem. When Raiders RB McFadden broke into the third level, no members of the secondary were there to shut him down.
Special Teams: C-
Kicker Folk and Punter Conley continue to play competently, and rookie punt returner Kerley had an enormous return in the 1st half that should have swung the game’s momentum in the Jets direction. Antonio Cromartie made a costly mistake in the 4th quarter, when he booted a kickoff return and then proceeded to try and pick it up instead of dive on it. This behavior is not surprising on Cromartie’s part, as he demonstrated the same inclination (though successfully) in the first Patriots onside kick of last year’s playoff game. When Cromartie’s ribs are healed, expect special team coach Mike Westhoff to re-injure them all over again.
This wasn’t necessarily a “must-win”, in my opinion, but it was close. The Jets were at the beginning of a 3 game road trip that lands them in Baltimore and New England next, and this game was the only “gimmee.” I was impressed with the way offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer managed to figure out the obvious for a change: with Mangold out, the Jets needed to move the line, toss some screens and get Sanchez out of the pocket. But when the 3rd quarter rolled around, the offensive game plan was once again neutered. Unfortunately, neither Ryan nor the rest of the coaching staff managed to get the team up for a winnable game in Oakland.
Next up: Week 4 – Jets @ Baltimore Ravens