This was one of those gut check/pants check game for some of us, which in reality should never have been that close but in the NFL wins are wins regardless of how ugly they may be. I apologize for not bringing the “Who to Root For” column yesterday but it will be back next week but the Chargers, Browns, Chiefs, and Eagles didn’t do us any favors so lets paint up some game balls:
Despite the fact that I would have preferred to have Braylon Edwards, there is only one word to describe Burress’ performance yesterday and that is “CLUTCH.” Plax single-handedly (literally) saved the Jets season with a catch that had Giants fans nostalgic to the days of when they actually made the playoffs. The importance of that first down cannot be understated as the Jets playoff hopes where literally hanging on his fingertips, oh and by the way he also caught a touchdown, granted I could have even caught that ball but he still gets a much deserved game ball.
It appears as though Dustin Keller’s annual mid-season hibernation is over so now we can take his face off of all of those milk cartons. Keller is easily the most valuable and most under-utilized weapon for this offense and he showed once again on Sunday how much of a beast he can be when they get him the ball. The former first round pick is a match-up nightmare for teams because of his speed and pass-catching abilities, its no surprise that when Keller has big days, the Jets win. Welcome back Dustin and here, have a game ball.
The Offensive Line:
Please do not be fooled by this performance, the Bills have no real pass-rushing threat to speak of, meaning that they don’t have anyone to exploit Wayne Hunter. Having said that, you have to give credit where credit is due and the offensive line as a unit had a stand-out performance especially in pass-protection. I’m sure Mark Sanchez was happy to have time to throw for once without getting his brains beaten in. Let’s be real, against a team with a viable pass-rush the offensive line will continue to struggle as long as Wayne Hunter is the starting right tackle so the line gets this game ball for their performance despite playing alongside the league’s worst starting tackle.
As I already said Plax was clutch yesterday but it would be redundant to say the same for Santonio Holmes because we already know he shines the brightest in crunch time and yesterday was just another example of that. Holmes secured the game-winning touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez with a little over one minute to play in regulation, just another day at the office for Holmes so we figured we might give him another mantle piece with a game ball.
I could have saved some space by handing out a game ball to the whole receiving corps but each made a significant contribution worthy of individual praise. Turner had arguably his best game as a Jet yesterday, not so much for his pass-catching abilities, although he did have another clutch first down catch. His real contributions came in the running game as he displayed his blocking abilities, using his 6 foot 5, 220 pound frame to push around Bills defenders. Although it wasn’t sexy and won’t show up on the stats sheet, Turner made arguably the biggest contribution of all the receivers and now has some figurative hardware.
Talk about justice, Maybin finally got his revenge on the team that cut him after only two short seasons. He only had two tackles but both of those were sacks on his former teammate, Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t know whether it’s sad or encouraging that in matter of a few plays Maybin was able to surpass Vernon Gholston’s career sack total. The Jets have finally found a real pass-rushing threat, he may be a “one-trick pony” but it’s a pretty damn good trick.
“Bo” as Rex likes to call him, has been playing out of his mind recently including another solid performance against the Bills. The Jets drafted Kenrick Ellis because they didn’t find Pouha to be the prototypical two-gap nose tackle that must have lit a fire under him because he is playing like a man-possessed. It looks like the Jets added depth at defensive line has kept him fresh and we’re hoping he can keep it up through the stretch run.
The “hitman” never gets the credit he deserves for doing all the right things, namely keeping his mouth shut and making plays. Harris had a team high eight tackles and a very big sack (no pun intended) and is quietly, (as usual) having another Pro Bowl caliber season. He can now add a TJB game ball to his already decorated resume.
Take A Lap!:
It’s always the same thing with Cromartie, talented but stupid. He still hasn’t learned to tackle properly and apparently can’t field a punt either. People will try to get on him for the Brad Smith touchdown but the truth is he made the play but instead of batting the ball down, he batted it up in the air and Smith made a nice play, justice. Out of all the turnovers the Jets have committed this season, it’s the special teams turnovers that have been the most costly and if Cromartie doesn’t fumble that punt it changes the complexion of the entire game. Maybe it was because his head was spinning from all of the child support checks he has to send out but you have to at least catch that punt.
Man oh man, it pains me to do this, you know it was an ugly game if both of the Jets “shut-down” corners are doing some extra running especially Revis. Stevie Johnson gave Revis fits, granted it was mostly quick slants but he caught eight balls for 75 yards and a touchdown, it was the first touchdown Revis surrendered all season. Revis is a victim of his own success because we expect so much out of him, when he doesn’t live up to those standards something must be wrong. Let’s not worry about our best player, he’ll be fine it’s everyone else we need to worry about.
“Cool as the Other Side of the Pillow Award:”
This was obviously not one of his best games, say what you will about the kid but when the moment is the biggest he rises to the occasion and Sunday was no exception. How many times have we seen Sanchez run the two minute drill to perfection and come out with a last second victory (see Broncos, Colts, Browns, Lions, and Texans games). I have a theory that he is playing through an arm injury, which wouldn’t surprise me given the beating he has taken this year and considering how he was under-throwing balls yesterday .His issue is that he needs to find a way to string together four consecutive quarters of solid mistake-free football. For all of his short-comings he is clutch and wins (sounds a little like Tim Tebow but true nonetheless).