Jeremy Kerley key to Jets win over Patriots

NFL: New England Patriots at New York JetsJets WR Jeremy Kerley had one of his best games of the season against the Patriots and when asked whether or not he was the X factor in the win, Kerley

“I wouldn’t say I was the X factor,” he said. “But I definitely had a chip on my shoulder. I definitely wanted to get at a couple of guys on the Patriots.”

Six of his receptions converted third downs into first downs, including three on the Jets’ first drive, which he ended with a 12-yard score.

“The protection was great,” quarterback Geno Smith said when asked why he and Kerley were so successful on third down. “The offensive line did a great job of seeing the blitz and picking it up. Jeremy was just finding ways to get open. … I believe he’s a really good slot [receiver] and he always finds ways to get open. He makes yards after the catch and he’s one of those guys you can depend on.”

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Kerley is humble enough to not say so himself, but he was a massive part of that win offensively. Credit to Kerley, who did a fantastic job of getting open and who Pro Football Focus graded out as the best performer on offense for the Jets. With Santonio out, the Jets have needed a steady receiving option who has enough versatility to get open on different spots of the field and that’s exactly what Kerley was able to do against a good Patriots secondary, but a unit that was without its best playmaker in Aqib Talib. Credit to Geno for finding Kerley and more often than not, hitting him in stride so that the receiver could use his shifty speed to make yards after the catch.  That’s an element that was sorely missing under Mark Sanchez. It’s not always perfect, but Geno Smith is developing some real chemistry with his receivers and that will serve them well over the remainder of the season.

Even so, be wary of expecting too much from Geno in the coming two weeks. The Bengals and Saints rank fourth and fifth respectively against the pass. It might be tough sledding for the offense through the air if both Bengals and the Saints can field healthy secondaries.

After those two weeks? It could be smooth sailing for the Jets. The good news is that there is no top ten pass defense after the bye aside from the Panthers secondary.