For all the upsetting media reports last week, for all the finger pointing and controversy after the loss to the Seahawks coming out of the bye, the Jets bounced back well against the Rams in what will become their do or die run to January. The Jets put together an overall good game against a team that they should and did beat.
Playing Within Himself — The Jets ran the ball 40 times and Mark Sanchez threw for less than 200 yards and didn’t turn the ball over. This is the sort of game that Mark Sanchez CAN win. He had some trouble early in the game but by the end was playing decisively, looking off his coverages and completing his passes at a regular clip. Rex Ryan made a pointed note that Mark Sanchez had a good rating and made some references to QB ratings and statistics and correlations to wins … his point was clear. If Mark Sanchez doesn’t stink it up, we’ll be in football games.
Grinding the Ground and Pound — The running game didn’t exactly look pretty … but it did work and having the Greene, Powell and McKnight all involved was a key to that. The Jets ran the ball more than 40 times and only barely got above 120 yards in running offense. Powell is proving that he’s an effective player and while Shonn Greene continues to underwhelm, it starts to make one think about what the running back group will look like next season for this team … it’s got to be different than what it currently looks like to make this team more effective.
The Era of Mo — Wilkerson had a solid, but quiet rookie season and while he might have started quietly this season, the health of Sione and Mo’s own emergence have paired up nicely. Wilkerson has been a force on the defensive line and is turning into a playmaker at the DL level. It’s still early, but it’s easy to see why comparisons are made to him of the likes of Trevor Pryce and Richard Seymour.
Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way — I don’t know why the special teams has imploded so spectacularly this season. Is Westhoff letting Kotwica run more of the playcalls and protections in anticipation of next year? Whatever is going on, there’s no more room to write this off as just a series of unfortunate events. Yes there’s been some bad execution, but the continued week after week problems of this unit bears some serious attention and investigation.
Landry or Air — LaRon Landry had two forced fumbles during the course of the game and led the team in tackles as well. Landry has had an up and down year for the Jets, but his ability to make tackles from his spot and force turnovers was a big reason on why the Jets were allowed to be as opportunistic as they were yesterday on defense. Great game by Landry, but I always don’t like seeing a safety lead the team in tackles.
The Key of Third Down — The Jets were good on converting third downs on offense (46%) and good at keeping the Rams from doing the same (31%) when they were on offense. This is the sort of team that the Jets fielded in 2009 and 2010, and they need to return to running and grinding the clock and keeping opponents from doing the same. Sacks, interceptions, tackles … they are less important to the Jets defense than getting three and outs.