2008 Week 10 - Jets vs Rams Photos
On Military Appreciation Day at the Meadowlands, the New York Jets attacked the St. Louis Rams with stunning precision and rewrote parts of their franchise record book in a 47-3 rout. That 44-point differential is the largest margin of victory in franchise history.
Thomas Jones scored three touchdowns on the ground, Brett Favre threw a 1-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Dustin Keller, Calvin Pace added a defensive touchdown and Jay Feely kicked a quartet of field goals — in the first half alone!
The Jets, who improved to 6-3 with their fourth consecutive home win, authored the most dominant first half in franchise history as they laid a 40 spot on St. Louis and held the Rams without a point in the process.
"We wanted to be like a UFC fighter — once you get 'em down, go take 'em out," said cornerback Hank Poteat. "If you smell blood, go ahead and finish them."
The outcome was decided after just two quarters as the Jets' 40-0 lead was tied for the third-largest halftime advantage in NFL history.
Feely's 55-yard bomb, equaling the longest in franchise history, to close the second quarter ended a demolition. Jets loyalists, probably sore from clapping their hands so much, still erupted in jubilation as their team effectively ended this contest before 3 p.m. EST.
With the Green Machine lying in wait for an ambush, the Rams were helplessly surrounded. The Jets scored on their first five offensive possessions and three first-half takeaways led to 17 points as the home team stormed out of the gate.The Jets are making it a habit of scoring on their first offensive possession. Jones' 13-yard first-quarter cutback run put his team up 7 as the Green & White collected points on their first series for the fourth consecutive game. Jones, who set the tone with a 20-yard jaunt on the first play of scrimmage, ran five times for 53 yards on the 80-yard drive.
"I think anytime you can move down the field on the first drive and get points, it sets the tempo of the game," Jones said. "You impose your will on the other team."
"We wanted to establish the run today and get out early," added fullback Tony Richardson. "The offensive line was dominant and TJ ran like a warrior today."
Brett Favre, using a pump fake to the left and a play action to TJ, toyed with the Rams when the Jets got the ball back a second time. His decoys set up a 54-yard completion to Keller — the rookie speedster's longest career reception to date. Feely's 22-yard field goal gave the Jets a 10-0 lead and the fun was only beginning.
"I was just running down the field and immediately saw the safeties split. My eyes got huge before I looked back at Brett," Keller said. "Then I looked back and the ball hadn't been released yet. I'm just running and I thought it was the fourth quarter by the time it was in my hands."
A pair of defensive firsts gave the Green & White a 17-0 advantage with just 4:45 remaining in the first quarter.
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton sent Abram Elam on a well-designed blitz and Rams quarterback Marc Bulger never saw "Big Play" Abe coming from his blind side. Elam not only racked up the first sack of his career but he jarred the ball loose and outside linebacker Calvin Pace neatly scooped it up at midfield with a head of steam. Fifty yards later, Pace was celebrating his first pro touchdown. It was the longest Jets fumble recovery for a touchdown in a decade.
When the first 15 minutes had concluded, the Jets' 17-point first-quarter margin was their largest at home in franchise history. But amazingly, the home team set oout on an even better second stanza.
Jones' 2-yard run culminated a 12-play, 58-yard drive and then Feely tacked on a 49-yard field goal to make it 27-0. Rookie corner Dwight Lowery followed with a strip of Rams rookie WR Donnie Avery and Kerry Rhodes recovered for the Jets to set up Feely from 46.
Rhodes came right back out on the next series and got his first interception of the season. His 50-yard return set up Favre-to-Keller and the runaway stood at 37-0 with 35 seconds on the clock.
But Sutton's crew remained greedy as Bryan Thomas stripped Kenneth Darby of the ball and fellow 'backer Eric Barton recovered in Rams territory. A jolly Barton responded with a solid toss to a lucky fan 15 rows up behind the Jets' bench.
Feely's boomer ended the brilliant first half, and then came three second-half plays that were symbolic of the day. Rams backup QB Trent Green threw across the middle in the third quarter to a wide-open receiver, but his ball fell incomplete because it found the head of the umpire. Then veteran corner Hank Poteat prevented a Rams touchdown with an end zone interception later in the third.
Jones, with a little help from a couple of his lineman, powered in from 6 yards out in the fourth to get his career-high third rushing TD. Even though the Jets were so far out in front, they wouldn't rest on their laurels. Kellen Clemens took over for Favre, who completed 14 of 19 for 167 yards and the one score, with 11:09 remaining.
After starting the season 1-2, the Jets have won five of six overall. The road promises to get tougher as they'll have a short week to prepare for the 6-3 Patriots and a Thursday night NFL Network showdown to break a first-place tie in the AFC East.
"This team was 4-12 last year and to be in position to play for something big at this stage of the season is wonderful," said right tackle Damien Woody. "I'm happy for everyone in the locker room and as you keep winning, they keep getting bigger and bigger. What else could you ask for as a player on this football team?"
Then after the divisional match, the Jets have a long 10-day break before they'll visit the AFC's top team — the Tennessee Titans — on Nov. 23 in Nashville. So the road ahead won't be easy, but the Jets are looking more and more dangerous every time they step on the field.
"We're at a good place right now," said nose tackle Kris Jenkins. "We have a big test coming up. You can sense it in the locker room that nobody is relishing this victory. We're just ready to start this week."
Jets Halt Rams' Dominance
Before today, the Rams had taken the last seven in this series. The Jets' last win came more than a quarter of a century ago at Shea Stadium, a 27-24 overtime decision on Sept. 25, 1983.
Jones rushed for 149 yards on his 26 carries while Keller had the first 100-yard receiving day of his career, finishing with 107 on six receptions. According to pressbox statistics, Barton led the defense with 10 tackles (eight solo) and also picked up a half-sack.
"Before the game, I wasn't thinking I was going to get 100 yards today," Keller said. "That's never my thinking. I'm just thinking about how am I going to make the most of my opportunities. He looked my way a few times, so I feel really good about it."
D-Bo Back in the Middle
With inside linebacker David Harris nursing a groin injury, veteran David Bowens took his place in the starting lineup for a second consecutive week alongside Barton.
After struggling last week against the Bills, rookie Dwight Lowery maintained his starting position. Lowery responded immediately, picking up a pass defense on the Jets' second defensive play. He was called for two interference penalties but also was in on a tackle for loss along with his forced fumble.