Post Game Thoughts- Jets vs Raiders
The Jets and all of the fans needed a game like this one. Within 2 minutes it became apparent this was a vacation to the West Coast for New York. The most one sided game for the Jets since the blowout of the Rams last season.
The offense finally showed the “ground and pound” that Rex Ryan promoted when he took over the job. While it was unfortunate to see Leon Washington suffer an injury, it opened the door for Shonn Greene to get some playing time and he made the most of his chance. Greene showed great burst and seemed to do a terrific job of gaining yards after contact. I don’t think anyone is going to anoint him the starter off just one game, but he looks like he could make a strong complement to Thomas Jones in the event Washington’s injury is serious. Jones came out with another solid game and looks to have found the player who was on the field in 2008 rather than the player who ran for the Jets over the first 5 weeks of the season. After two good back to back games I think he can be counted on for the remainder of the season. A stellar job by Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, and Nick Mangold in the run game. They just sealed the Raiders completely off and opened huge holes that propelled Greene and Jones right into the secondary and were the unsung stars of another excellent ground performance. Mark Sanchez looked like he had a strong talking to prior to this game and whatever was said sunk in. Sanchez looked much better in the pocket, taking safe passes and finding the open guys rather than trying to force the football, and even threw the ball away when the play was not there. He was able to hook up with Dustin Keller on a big play for the first time since week 1 and threw a nice deep ball to David Clowney for his one passing touchdown. Rookies should be asked to manage a football game and that is exactly what he did. Hopefully the Jets are onto something here. Braylon Edwards did not have much of a statline today, but you saw the impact he has on the game. He constantly draws double teams and his presence allowed the other receivers to find themselves in single coverage or wide open across the field. I believe it was Clowney’s first reception that was totally set up by Edwards drawing Asomugha on a double team, which let Clowney run free. Edwards is also a much better blocker than I ever thought he was. Clowney played well too. He broke one tackle and actually made a great adjustment on the deep TD from Sanchez. He’s actually beginning to look like a real player and not a one trick pony. About the only negative was that the Jets pass protection continues to be subpar. Sanchez got hit a few too many times for my liking today and it looked as if a lot of it came from the Faneca and Ferguson assignments. Wayne Hunter blew one on the other side of the line as well. They need to protect Sanchez a bit better.
This was the first time since week 2 that the Jets defense actually looked like the dominant force that was going to set the tone and seal games for the Jets. The defense basically ended the game within a few minutes with their ability to create turnovers. Calvin Pace was a beast today and the difference maker that we had been lacking all season. Pace was all over the field today, putting huge hits on the QB and forcing turnover after turnover after turnover. Pace can be a frustrating player to watch at times but if he can even be somewhat close to this next week the Jets will have a chance to stop the Dolphin offense. Obviously the Raiders do not have much of an offensive threat in the receiving game, but Darrelle Revis just continues to impress. Even when he got beat by a move he recovered and was smart enough play the receivers motions and break up the pass. His interception was fantastic. Those are the hands of a wide receiver not a corner. TE Zach Miller was virtually invisible and the Jets did a good job with the coverages to keep him out of the offense. The entire defense came out with a great intensity that they lacked all last season in their 4 trips out west. You saw them swarm tackle at the start of the game, something that they have not done for a few weeks. That is the type of tackling and intensity you want to see from the defense. It allows one player to make a mistake and not have it lead to a huge gain, which had killed our defense the previous few games. Good game by Dwight Lowery filling in for Lito Sheppard. Lowery has problems with certain types of players but he is a smart player and does a good job playing the ball in the air. The defense did look soft up the gut without Kris Jenkins. Justin Fargas broke off some big runs and the holes were huge for him to run through. The game got out of hand so early that it was never a factor but that is something the Jets will have to concern themselves with in the future. Overall a great job. You know it had to kill Al Davis to watch the Jets make his prized QB look so bad that they had to turn to Bruce Gradkowski to keep them from losing by 70. Getting the shutout was very important to the defense today from a mental standpoint to prove to themselves they could survive without Big Jenks in the lineup.
Maybe the reason we keep Steve Weatherford around is because of how well he runs the fake punt. He sells the fake punt better than anyone I can recall. I’m sure there will be a time when teams smarten up to it, but it should help the Jets kick coverage units with the threat being there. They made the move to keep Weatherford off holds which may help in the future to run a fake FG with Kellen Clemens holding the ball for Jay Feely. Feely missed another one and now that the streak is over probably can not be counted on as automatic anymore, but he’s still steady and his kickoffs continue to be a pleasant surprise. Oakland did nothing with his kickoffs.
Rex Ryan did what he had to do, getting the team focused and putting the team in the right frame of mind to go on the road and dominate a game. The offensive gameplan was great and they never tried to get cute and stray from the “ground and pound” philosophy. The Jets ran the ball 49 times today with just 15 pass attempts. Some of that was dictated by the score, but it was clear the way they wanted to play this game. Sanchez looked like he was stripped of a lot of the decision making responsibility and they did a great job of using Edwards as the decoy this week. They knew how to go for the kill and they made sure they turned the Oakland turnovers into points, something Buffalo could not do to the Jets last week. You never want to leave a team at home with any hope due to not scoring off turnovers and the Jets left the Raiders with no hope at all.
Ryan made two crucial game calls this week. The most important was running the ball four times at the goal to start the game. Having to settle for a field goal would have been a crushing blow for the Jets and moral victory for Oakland. He showed the faith in his running game to push the ball over the line. I thought the fake punt was not just gutsy, but showed the confidence he had in the defense by running that type of play in his own territory. Those two play calls ended whatever slim hopes Oakland had today of winning the game.
Well you know your team had a good day when you see Danny Woodhead taking handoffs at the end of the game. Even though this was the terrible Oakland Raiders the Jets did prove a few things today that had been questioned. They proved that they can still be a dominant team on defense and that they can win games simply by lining up and running the football. They proved they can go out West and win a football game on the road where they had fallen to 1-2. They also proved that JaMarcus Russell is far worse than Mark Sanchez.
While this win did not necessarily turn the season around, this put a nice little band aid on the season as the Jets get their chance to derail the Miami Dolphins, who lost a heartbreaker to New Orleans, next week and get the season completely back on track. Miami’s offense has put up huge points since Chad Pennington went down and that will be a completely different beast to stop than the anemic Raiders offense.
Hopefully the Jets protect themselves from getting overconfident and overlooking the task at hand which is to get to the break 5-3, distancing themselves from Miami and keeping within striking distance of the Patriots who are taking big advantage of the easy portion of their schedule. Right now the AFC is a crowded field with 10 teams having 3 losses or less and the Jets have to keep pace with everyone else. If they play like they did this week they should have no problems keeping themselves in the playoff hunt well into December. Go Jets!