With their backs against the wall, the New York Jets beat up on the St. Louis Rams for a nice 27-13 road win. The Jets offense had its best game in weeks and its defense was plus-3 in turnovers. At 4-6, Gang Green still has some life in them.
Mark Sanchez (15-for-20, 178 yards, 1 TD) played well and had his best completion percentage of the year (75%). It was nice to see a solid performance from the beleaguered quarterback, who completed passes to nine different Jets. One big play was when Sanchez threw an 18-yard pass to TE Konrad Reuland on third down that got the Jets to the Rams 5.
Bilal Powell (11 carries, 42 yards) had his first and second career NFL touchdowns and Shonn Greene led with 64 rushing yards. Alarmingly, the Jets only averaged 3.0 per rush (although they did have a few nice gains). Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception and Jeremy Kerley had a nice 32-yard catch. Kerley has been the Jets' most consistent receiving threat since Santonio Holmes went down but unfortunately is not a true WR-1.
Defense: Wilkerson Stars
Other than a garbage-time touchdown, the Jets held the Rams to only one score. The Jets secondary kept workhorse WR Danny Amendola in check and, for a second game in a row, Muhammad Wilkerson tore it up.
Wilkerson's highlight was a strip-sack of Rams QB Sam Bradford that Bart Scott picked up and rumbled with down to the Rams 35. The Jets wasted this great scoring opportunity when usually dependable Nick Folk had a 26-yard field goal attempt blocked. LaRon Landry was also solid, leading the team with eight tackles and forcing a critical Daryl Richardson fumble in the fourth quarter that Garrett McIntyre recovered.
Special Teams: Work In Progress
The Jets' special teams played better but still have room for improvement. Folk made a pair of 51-yard field goals and Joe McKnight had a 42-yard kickoff return. It's great to have McKnight back.
On the negative side, Tim Tebow's fake punt and pitch to Lex Hilliard resulted in a 1-yard loss. The Jets have done a lot of fake punts this year so it appears that opponents are better prepared to defend this trickery. The Jets also got lucky a few times. Kyle Wilson muffed a punt but avoided a turnover, a Chris Givens 98-yd TD was called back due to a Rodney McLeod hold of Chaz Schilens, and a Rams onsides kick hit a Jets player in the foot before it was recovered by Dustin Keller.
Do We Have A Chance?
It's hard to get too excited about this win. The 3-6-1 Rams aren't very good and likely had a letdown following last week's emotional tie with the rival 49ers. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and it gets us back in the hunt. That's right, the Jets have a chance for a wild card spot. Call me an eternal optimist but they are only two games behind the 6-4 Colts and own the head-to-head tie breaker with them. Of course, the Jets will need to keep winning, but with the New England Patriots in just four nights, we'll know soon enough whether or not they can make a run.