2009 Week 7 - Jets at Raiders Photos
The Jets had virtually everything go their way in the Northern California sunshine on Sunday afternoon.
Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene led the offense to another ho-hum 316-yard running game. Mark Sanchez bounded back from his five-interception game to engineer five touchdown drives with no turnovers. Calvin Pace's three-sack game was the face of only the 11th shutout in franchise history. So much for Oakland, so much for the three-game losing streak.
But the Jets' silver cloud of a 38-0 victory over the Raiders had a dark lining in the loss of running back Leon Washington to a broken fibula suffered less than six minutes into the game.
"That's unfortunate. We feel terrible about the injury to Leon," head coach Rex Ryan said of Washington, who was going into surgery at an Oakland area hospital as he spoke. "It's a pretty severe injury. We expect a good outcome. Hopefully he'll be rejoining us sooner rather than later."
"But we're excited about where our offense is at, the way we're running the football, I thought we did a great job of protecting the football. It's just a great feeling to get a win."
Yet this was more than your garden-variety victory. The Jets, wearing their white Titans jerseys for the first time in this AFL 50th Anniversary "legacy game," equaled the largest road victory margin in franchise history. They became the first team since 1975 to put two 300-yard rushing games back-to-back. They won at Oakland for only the third time in the last nine visits. They ended their losing streak to go back over .500 and set up Sunday's big rematch with the Dolphins.
And they did it with equal parts running game and strong defense.
The day began, in fact, with both. On the game's first offensive play, Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell dropped back inside his 5-yard line and promptly had the ball swatted out of his hands by a flying No. 97, with Marques Douglas recovering at the 4. It was the first of two strip-sacks for Pace (the second was of backup Bruce Gradkowski, inserted late in the first half).
"We just wanted to give Russell some different looks and get some hits on him," said Pace of lining up on the weak outside with Bryan Thomas flipping over to Pace's strongside spot. "That was the plan. And luckily that happened."
The offense took over, which is to say Sanchez put the ball in Jones' gut on four straight plays, including no-gainers on second and third downs. Jones, after he ran 26 times for 121 yards, all but 5 yards coming in the first three quarters, explained the early drama of this situation.
"We have a lot of confidence in our goal-line and short-yardage offense," he said. "But anytime you're in a hostile environment and they stop you the first time, they've got momentum. On fourth down, you're going to get in or give them momentum for the rest of the half or at least the quarter. That last play was pretty big.
Jones crashed off left guard and the rout was on. After Washington went out, Greene came on and made like Matt Snell — and in fact the third-rounder's 144 yards on 19 carries was the third-most a rookie in franchise history, behind Snell's two larger games in 1964.
Greene, often running behind blocks by RG Brandon Moore, scored the Jets' third touchdown and his first as a pro on an 8-yard run in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead and their last TD on a 33-yard burst up the middle with 6½ minutes to play.
"When we run the ball like we did today," said Sanchez, "anybody can play quarterback."
But it was Sanchez who returned to the controls and to the efficiency and flair of his 3-0 start at the Jets controls and put behind his 10 turnovers of the three losses that followed. Needless to say the game plan was heavily weighted toward the run — he dropped back only 16 times, completing nine, compared to the 54 carries (four off the franchise mark of 58 in 1973).
"We had a great game plan coming into today," he said. "The running game was awesome, and when we needed to throw it, we converted on some crucial third downs."
Five of the Jets' nine third-down conversions were completions, three to David Clowney and two to Wallace Wright, his first receptions since 2007.
And then there were two plays Sanchez made on earlier downs. On second-and-goal from the Oakland 3 after Jim Leonhard's 46-yard interception return, Sanchez worked the quarterback draw to perfection and then ran over to the goalpost, leaped and dunked the ball, to the displeasure of the fans in the Black Hole section of Oakland Stadium.
And on first down at the Raiders 35, he fired a ball that Clowney turned into his first pro touchdown.
"That first catch, that's something I've been waiting on a long, long time," said "the Clown." "I'm glad Mark threw me up one and allowed me to make a play on it. They singled me today. That's something I dream about any day of the week."
As the final six minutes wore down and the Black Hole had turned to green seats, the remaining Jets intrigue was whether they would maintain their shutout as the Raiders drove to the Jets' 1. But a 1-yard loss by Michael Bush on second down, then two Dwight Lowery pass defenses in the end zone ended the threat.
"We were aware of it," safety Kerry Rhodes said of the growing possibility of scoring the Jets' first shutout since 2003 and their first road blanking since '01. "We know how hard it is to get them. We just bowed up at the end."
Then just before the two-minute warning, Kellen Clemens came in at quarterback for his first action of the season and his first handoff was to Danny Woodhead, who was a running back converted to wideout and converted back to RB. As the visiting team's fans remaining in the stands shouted the Jets chant, Woodhead got his first pro carries for 6, 2 and 16 yards to put the Jets over 300 yards again before Clemens kneeled.
Yes, it was mostly that kind of day.
The 1975 Bills were that team with the consecutive 300-yard rushing games, in the first two games of that season — 309 against the Jets and 310 at Pittsburgh. ... The Jets, meanwhile have run for as many 300-yard games the last two weeks as they did in the first 764 games of their existence. The last time they ran for 200 yards twice in a row came in Games 8-9 of the '85 season, vs. Seattle (212) and at Indianapolis (201). Freeman McNeil led the way with a combined 48 carries for 300 yards in those games. ... Assuming the Redskins don't rush for 703 yards tonight against the Eagles, the Jets will be the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL after Week 7.
The 38-point victory margin was first established by the 1997 team, which went to Seattle in Bill Parcells' first game as head coach and slammed the Seahawks, 41-3. ... The 24-0 lead was the first halftime shutout road lead since 2006, when they led Brett Favre's Packers, 31-0, at the half on the frozen tundra. ... The last Jet with three sacks in a game before Pace was Shaun Ellis, at St. Louis on the last day of the 2004 regular season (actually Jan. 2, 2005). The last Jet with more was John Abraham with 3.5 at Philadelphia in 2003.
A week after their 14 penalties for 96 yards vs. Buffalo, the Jets were flagged just twice for 8 yards. ... The Jets' game captains were DT Sione Pouha, CBs Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowery, and T Wayne Hunter. ... The Raiders crowd was loud in either cheering or jeering the Silver & Black on, even though at the announced attendance of 39,354, the game was far from a sellout and was a TV blackout in the Oakland market.