With their 17-10 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets have now won three of their last four games and kept their slim playoff hopes alive. They still need a lot of help. Primarily they need the Steelers to drop their remaining three games against the Cowboys, Bengals and Browns.
Offense: Effective Rushing, Weak Passing
For the second straight game, the Jets ran the ball well. Gang Green rushed for 166 yards and averaged 4.0 yards per carry. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell scored rushing touchdowns of 1 and 4 yards respectively. The game play seemed to avoid needing to throw the ball as much as possible.
The Jets offense line was terrific opening big holes and yielding only one sack. The one glaring exception was when D'Brickashaw Ferguson was beaten by Jason Babin, resulting in a Mark Sanchez fumble.
With the game on the line, Sanchez (12-for-19, 111 yards) came up with a huge 37-yard pass on third down to backup TE Jeff Cumberland. He otherwise was unimpressive, gaining only 74 yards on 10 other completions. He had some of over- and underthrown balls. Sanchez did avoid bad turnovers, something he hasn't done much this year. He was crushed from his blind side on his one fumble so I give him a pass on that one.
Jeremy Kerley fumbled while stretching to gain extra yards. Because cornerback Derek Cox had him wrapped up, it is indefensible that Kerley failed to protect the rock on that play. Fortunately, Dwight Lowery's return for a touchdown on the fumble was called back.
Defense: Beating Up Another Weak Opponent
The Jaguars are horrible, having won only two games this year and scoring the third-fewest points in the league. With that said, the Jets had many defensive highlights. A huge play came on the Jaguars' opening drive. Garrett McIntyre crushed QB Chad Henne on a delayed blitz, resulting in a Bart Scott pick deep in the Jets' red zone.
David Harris was an absolute beast, finishing the game with 10 tackles, two quarterback hits and one sack. Muhammad Wilkerson was solid, too, and he's quickly become one of the Jets' most reliable defenders up front. He had one sack and three quarterback hits. S LaRon Landry had 10 tackles.
On the Jaguars' last drive and the game still on the line, Ellis Lankster missed an easy interception, allowing Kevin Elliott to make a fourth-down grab with 27 seconds left. Lankster then redeemed himself with a pick two plays later.
Despite all these highlights, I am most excited about another defender. In fact, this D-lineman had the best game of his career. DE and 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples came to play. On the Harris sack, Coples actually almost had the sack himself and caused the pocket to collapse. On the Lankster interception, the Jaguars were driving for the game-tying score. With just a few seconds left, Coples bore down on Henne, forcing him to throw erratically and leading to the pick.
Coples also had a sack and two quarterback hits. Hopefully, he'll continue playing at a high level and justify his high draft status. Previously, he hadn't done much.
Special Teams: Happily Uneventful
The one scary notable about the Jets special teams is that they nearly had two punts blocked. Fortunately, Robert Malone got these kicks off and there were no other major gaffes.