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Post Game Thoughts: Jets 37 Raiders 27

For the first time in a month the Jets looked like a good football team!

Offense

I thought all the difference in the world was made by the play of the offensive line this week. The last few weeks it just seemed like a jail break every time the QB dropped back to pass of a draw play up the middle was called. This game was completely different. The Jets never looked overwhelmed or beaten before the snap. We even had lineman helping push runners into the end zone. It was a different energy level and they set the tone for the game.

Geno Smith played much better this week than he has in quite some time. He had the one interception, but that was a very good play by the Raiders defender to pick that off. He had another interception that was dropped so I guess maybe it balanced out. The important thing was that Smith was efficient and the game was not hindered by him playing QB. This was different than some of the earlier games where the Jets were trying to just hide him. Here he was just a part of the offense and that's a positive step.

Jeremy Kerley had a really nice game in his return. While his stats may not have been there that TD reception he made was terrific. Smith threw a ball into an area where there were two Jets and three Raiders and Kerley went up and got the ball for the score. I think the ball was actually intended for Santonio Holmes which made the play even more impressive for Kerley. Holmes had a big catch early but he did miss what should have been a score. That's rare for him. Still he finished with a good game. TE Kellen Winslow looked a bit resurgent as if he knows his career may hinge on the next few weeks.

RB Chris Ivory had a strong game and his TD run was really impressive. I have no idea if Ivory even knows where he is on half his runs, but the effort he gives every time he has the ball is pretty outstanding. He just keeps his legs moving and keeps going no matter what the situation. Hes going to be too injury prone to ever be a starting back but he's a very good 10 to 15 carry a game player. Bilal Powell added a big reception on a screen pass though he never got on track running.

Defense

Overall I thought this was one of the poorer games the defense played, but it was also the first game they played with a real lead which can sometimes allow a team to let their guard down a bit. There were a number of positives. Quinton Coples got a sack and again was in the backfield quite a bit. Calvin Pace registered a sack as well and I think he could be back again next season on another MSB type deal. Ed Reed got his first interception as a Jet and that was the play that really turned the momentum. David Harris had a few big stops as well.

Downfield coverage and tackling was an issue again. I don't know what to make of the play where Reed and Antonio Cromartie ran into one another. On one hand you can see how good Reed's instincts are, but on the other you can see how unfamiliar he is with his teammates and how less athletic he is than just a few years back. The Raiders had two receptions over 40 and the Jets gave up another to FB Marcel Reece that was close to 30 on a play where the Jets seemed confused about who was supposed to cover who.

The run defense surprisingly had a letdown game as well, allowing Reece to go off for 123 yards, 63 of which came on one run. That was unexpected. Once he broke through the Jets defense just looked slow. I know he is a top flight Fullback but it's hard to see him outrunning the whole team like that. However when the Raiders thought they could exploit something in the defense with QB Terrelle Pryor the Jets defense ate him alive.

Special Teams

This was probably the best game of the year for specials. Antonio Allen, who was unceremoniously dumped from the defense, had a big punt block for a score that broke the game open. Nick Folk was money again hitting all his Field Goals including a big 50 yarder, something his high priced Raiders counterpart failed to do. Ryan Quigley had a terrific punt inside the Raiders five yard line. The Jets also recovered an onside kick attempt, though the Raiders had a great chance at it, and even allowed a punt to go into the end zone rather than fair catch it inside the 10.

Coaching

With morale at an all time low Rex Ryan was able to rally the team and get them to play well. For a team that had looked like they quit that was nice to see. The Jets have rolled over and played dead for the last three games and they didn't do that this week at all. Whether they prepared for Pryor or not the most impressive thing may have been the way the Jets played against a very different skillset QB. The Raiders swapping of the QB's probably sealed their fate as you never want to go from one QB to another and then back again but the Jets seemed so prepared for Pryor that the Raiders had no choice.

Overall

Unfortunately for the Jets there were a bunch of crazy finishes today, none of which benefitted the team. The Ravens and Dolphins both won games that it looked like they may have lost (in the Ravens case multiple times over), but at least the Jets can still hope. Baltimore does play a difficult schedule and the Jets will get to rematch the Dolphins to try to pull even so at least there is something to hold on to.

This was a big win for the Jets on a number of levels. Had they lost this game there was probably a good chance they would have lost out. Losing to Oakland in your own building would have been emotionally crushing to the Jets and the fanbase. I figured the way the Jets were playing they would have lost today so I was pleasantly surprised.

Next week is what looks to be an unwinnable game as the Jets travel to Carolina. The best hope for the team is if the Panthers get caught up in the Saints games and overlook the Jets. The Jets are a clear trap game opponent for Carolina, especially if Carolina can win their game on Sunday night against the Saints. It is a must win for the Jets to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Realistically I think winning two of these last three games would be a great finish for the team and at least give some good feelings about the season. An 8-8 year would be a nice finish for a team most expected to win 4 games. I don't think it makes Rex Ryan's job safe, nor should it really make his job safe, but it's a positive step for John Idzik and the organization who will get an opportunity to really remake the team this offseason when they can unload a number of contracts from the team.

Go Jets!

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