Monday Morning Thoughts
The Jets pulled out a 30-27 overtime victory against the division-rival New England Patriots. It was nice to see the stands packed and loud as ever. The Jets controlled the ball for nearly 47 minutes in this game, which is one of the keys to beating a Tom Brady-led team.
Game Ball: Chris Ivory- 34 carries, 104 yards
Geno Smith started out well, throwing a 12 yard touchdown to Jeremy Kerley on the opening drive of the game. The next offensive possession the Jets were driving and Geno threw a pick 6 which immediately switched the momentum of the game and gave the Patriots a 14-7 lead. For the rest of the game, Geno played solid enough to help the team win. He ran for a touchdown and a key first down on the drive to make the score 24-21 Jets in the 3rd quarter.
With Vince Wilfork and leading tackler Jerod Mayo out for the Patriots, the Jets relied heavily on the run game. They ran the ball 52 times for 177 yards, including 34 carries for 104 yards for Chris Ivory. Going into the game, the Jets knew they needed to establish the run and they stuck with the game plan and got it done.
The one issue that continues to plague the Jets offense is the dropped passes. Stephen Hill dropped a pass, Jeff Cumberland dropped two, and Ivory dropped one. Stephen Hill’s inability to high-point the ball (catch it with his hands at the highest point of his jump) has remained an issue that needs to be fixed. He dropped one in that hit him right in the chest on a deep ball by Geno Smith. He then got called for offensive pass interference on a touchdown catch, which was a questionable call to begin with, but it cost the Jets points. Cumberland dropped a pass for a touchdown and then dropped a key play on 3rd down that could’ve been a first down at the end of the fourth quarter. If he makes that catch, the Jets would’ve needed one more first down and could’ve iced the game without giving Brady back the ball.
If the Jets want to allow Geno Smith to continue to grow, they’re going to need to bring in playmakers via the draft or free agency this offseason. David Nelson played very well at wide receiver yesterday catching 4 passes for 80 yards, but he is a temporary solution or “Band-Aid” for this year. Either way, Smith has to live with the group he has and if Nelson can keep this up and the Jets can get Santonio Holmes back healthy, the Jets weapons all of a sudden are a threat in all aspects of the game.
Game Ball: Antonio Allen- 9 tackles, 3 pass deflections, 1 INT TD
The defense played exceptional again. They did struggle in the first quarter, but once Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan made adjustments to their scheme, they tightened up and got pressure on Tom Brady. The Patriots were 1-12 on third down, which is a tribute to how well the defense played. Brady was also 4-20 on throws over 10 yards yesterday. Antonio Allen gets the game ball because he had the daunting task of covering Rob Gronkowski. He deflected three passes, made open field tackles and had the turning point interception return for a touchdown when he jumped a route intended for Gronkowski deep in Patriots territory. This gave the Jets new life and turned the momentum back in their favor.
Antonio Cromartie had a tremendous game, after giving himself a “C” grade earlier in the week for his overall play. It was nice to see Dee Milliner back out there, although he got banged up again and had to come out for a series or two. David Harris and Demario Davis played outstanding football again. The Jets continued to play with a high motor throughout the game and it was integral to their success. Anytime you keep Tom Brady under 50% completion percentage and only 228 yards, you should get all the credit.
Game Ball: Joshua Cribbs- 1 kick return for 17 yards, 3 punt returns for 44 yards
Josh Cribbs was a nice addition in the return game, giving the Jets great field position. Even if the Jets didn’t score on the possession, he helped them switch the field position and pinned the Patriots offense deep in their own territory several times. He showed he still has the explosive step that made him a Pro-Bowler in 2007. If he stays healthy, he will be another weapon in the Jets overall scheme.
Nick Folk was solid again, going 3-3 including the game-winning 42 yarder in overtime. Ryan Quigley struggled all day, with the exception of one punt late in the 4th quarter. When kicking deep in the Jets end, Quigley was unable to flip the field, only averaging a little over 40 yards per punt. That is unacceptable at the NFL level and it needs to be addressed.
The Jets have to travel to Cincinnati to play a tough Bengals team next Sunday. They are loaded with weapons on offense, and have a solid defense. Starting CB Leon Hall will not be playing due to an ACL tear in yesterday’s game. The Jets will have to target his backup because Terrance Newman on the other corner is having a Pro-Bowl year, thus far.