Who said it: Jets or Mets?

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BGA: Well, whadda Geno?

In unexpected fashion, Geno Smith put forth an encouraging performance, devoid of any major mistakes and with some of the decisive play that had been lacking from his game over the past few weeks. Is this the real Geno or merely a mirage?

I must confess, however, that several times during the game, while I was thinking to myself “Hey, Geno’s actually playing pretty well!” his stats flashed up on the screen and I was left thinking “Is that it?” That’s notable because there are more instances in the past of Smith (or Mark Sanchez) seemingly playing really poorly and then when you see their final numbers, they actually don’t seem as bad as you’d have expected. Maybe it’s just a function of the fact that my expectations had been lowered so far that a pedestrian performance actually seemed like a great one by the standards to which I’d become accustomed.

I don’t want to say that though, because I did see some positives from Smith’s performance. Still, he was five-for-seven for 48 yards against a prevent defense on the final drive without which his final numbers would have been very underwhelming indeed: 15-for-27, 178 yards, one touchdown.

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BGA: Brand new Oday

Brian Winters had struggled so badly over the last year, that some people were suggesting you could put anyone in there at left guard and the Jets would be better off. With Winters’ season-ending injury last weekend, the Jets are forced to test that supposition by turning to last year’s fifth round pick, Oday Aboushi, for his first career start.

Aboushi, who only converted to guard in the offseason after having been inactive 16 times as a backup tackle in 2013 had appeared briefly in a couple of games and his performances there, along with some of some preseason struggles over the last few years, left little in the way of signs that he’d be able to step right in and hold his own. However, while he won’t grade out too well due to some errors, Aboushi’s performance was actually pretty good and the line looked cohesive despite the short week of preparation.

The line provided Geno Smith with much cleaner pockets than they had been over the past few weeks and while they gave up five sacks (two of which were negated by penalties), each of these came after they had initially blocked well and the protection only broke down when the quarterback held the ball for too long. The run blocking as a unit was also much improved and the results – 218 yards and a touchdown on the ground – speak for themselves. What was Aboushi’s part in all this though?

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BGA: Get your motor running

The Jets running game was firing on all cylinders this week, making it seem all the more baffling that they’ve seemed so impotent over the last few weeks. Of course, improved run blocking was a factor and we’ll be discussing that later on. The Patriots don’t have the strongest front seven in terms of run defense either. Still, 218 yards on the ground is pretty good going.

Chris Ivory had a great game, with 107 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, including three runs over the right side for 12 or more yards. He had three broken tackles, 55 yards after contact and some good cutback reads. While it took him a while to get going, Chris Johnson also looked as good as he has since opening day, with 61 yards at an average of 4.7 yards per carry, picking up some tough yards in the second half.

Both Ivory and Johnson have 12 catches on the season. Who would have predicted that with Johnson entering the season with a 272-to-5 “edge” in that category? Ivory did in fact have the lead on him for this year until Johnson caught two short passes to kick-start the final drive.

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BGA: Getting off the island

You sense this was an important game for Eric Decker’s reputation. Entering the game, he didn’t have much of a record against number one corners because of the fact he was usually the second or third option in Denver. In two previous meetings with Darrelle Revis, Decker had zero catches. Never mind that Revis wasn’t covering him and he only played six snaps in the first game and had Tim Tebow throwing him the ball in the other one, that’s not a good thing to have on his résumé – especially when he laid an egg against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

Decker ended up with four catches for 65 yards, which is far from an offensive explosion, but he did manage to get separation from Revis on a couple of plays – one outside and one over the middle – for 42 yards and a first down. He also drew a penalty and almost came up with the ball on a pass Revis broke up where another penalty could arguably have been called. Against Revis, that’s not a bad day’s work. At his apex, in 2011, Revis only gave up two catches and 31 yards per game. This year, only James Jones (3-43) and AJ Green (3-64 against Revis, 7-81 overall) have fared any better against Revis this season. That’s hopefully a positive sign that a healthy Decker is going to be able to produce no matter who is covering him, which will be a boost to the rest of the receiving corps.

Having said that, he didn’t get much help from the rest of the receiving corps with no production whatsoever from the wide receivers until late in the game. Those other wideouts were only targeted once between them in the first half, a further sign that perhaps teams are making it tough for them to get open.

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BGA: Anticipating a drop-off

Encountering a high-powered Patriots offense that, following some early season teething troubles, had scored 80 points in two weeks (only seven less than the Jets had managed in their previous five), the Jets opted to drop seven or eight (and sometimes more) into coverage regularly last night. This meant that the Jets were usually rushing with a one or two-man disadvantage.

Despite this, both Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson did a great job of driving their man back and getting off blocks to get in Tom Brady’s face. They combined to hit Brady four times and accounted for half of the 16 plays on which Brady was pressured. Brady would complete seven of 15 passes on those plays for 98 yards and threw the ball away harmlessly four times.

It will be interesting now to see whether the pressure the Jets are continuing to generate (even when not blitzing) will have more of an impact upon opposing quarterbacks, with the Jets facing some less established names over the next few weeks. It’s pretty incredible that they’ve still only intercepted one pass all season and you’d imagine that has to change at some point.

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