2009 Week 14 Jets at Tampa Photos
His passing numbers weren't flashy — 12 of 23 for 111 yards and a 65.7 rating — but in his first start in two seasons, Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens managed the game effectively to lead the Green & White to a 26-3 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday.
"I did my job," said Clemens. "I don't think that I certainly blew the top off or anything but I did what was required."
"That's what we need out of our quarterback position," said WR Jerricho Cotchery. "We look forward to just continuing what we're doing right now and just trying to come out with victories every week."
The key number for the fourth-year QB starting the ninth game of his pro career: zero turnovers. Rookie running back Shonn Greene lost a fumble in the third quarter but the Jets D came up with three interceptions on the day.
New York's AFC representatives are 6-0 when winning the turnover battle this season.
"I'm happy with that stat," Clemens said. "That's a huge determinant when it comes to winning and losing games. There were a couple of plays that I probably could have forced something inside. If we were playing the Colts, it's maybe a different story. You go in with a different mindset."
The Jets' approach on Sunday was to stick to their top-ranked running attack on offense and let their defense, No. 2 in the NFL before the weekend and No. 1 now, dictate the tempo. Of the Jets' 67 plays, 42 were runs (63 percent) by Thomas Jones, Greene, Danny Woodhead, Brad Smith and Clemens that totaled 175 yards.
"We came in leaning on our run game. That's our strength, that's what we do," Clemens said. "It also didn't hurt that up until this point Tampa was ranked in the bottom half of the league against the run. We leaned on the run game and threw when necessary to keep them off-balance."
"Kellen Clemens did a great job of managing the game," said head coach Rex Ryan. "We're going to be who we are. We believe in running the football. We believe in throwing completions. I think that's our game plan and it's been that way all year."
There's no doubt the offense can and will have to play better as they continue to make a run for the playoffs. In particular, they converted just five of 18 third-down opportunities (28 percent).
"I'm not frustrated. I just wanted us offensively to put together more consistent drives. Third down still wasn't at the level that we expect," Clemens said. "We couldn't get into a rhythm offensively until the fourth quarter. For the most part it was maybe not flowing like we're capable of."
Jerricho Cotchery's only catch, a 26-yarder, came on the last play of the third quarter. Braylon Edwards had three catches for 37 yards. The offense scored only the two Jones scores against a Buccaneers team that was tied for last in the NFL in most TDs allowed by opposing offenses.
"We have to do a better job of scoring touchdowns," said J-Co, whom Clemens overthrew in the end zone on the Jets' second drive. "We still have a lot of room for improvement but at the end of the day we got the win and we're happy with that."
With a three-game late-season winning streak, the QB, who witnessed last season's late collapse from the sidelines, was glad to contribute to a W to keep his team in the playoff race.
"It was fun," said Clemens. "It made an entire week of preparation that much more meaningful and enjoyable, really. Defense, obviously, played well today. The offensive line did a great job. It's good to get a seventh win to get above .500 and keep our playoff hopes alive.
"I'm stoked. We came down and got a win when we needed it and that's the bottom line. I'm going to be smiling on the plane."