Post Game Thoughts: Jets 30 Texans 27
Early in the game Houston was a one man offense relying on RB Arian Foster for every yard and the defense let him go for a score. Late in the game the pass defense totally fell apart with players out of position and making horrible decisions on the field. In between they played great, but in the NFL you have to play for 60 minutes not 45 minutes, and that is what the defense chose to do today. CB Darrelle Revis did a great job for most of the day on WR Andre Johnson, but allowed Johnson to outmuscle him late to create separation on a crucial 20 yard reception. Revis was also beaten by WR Kevin Walter on what should have been a huge gain, but he dropped the football. Revis' worst play came when he decided to break to the QB when Matt Schaub came out of the pocket which allowed WR David Anderson know to just get wide open down the field as there was no support deep. Revis has to know that Schaub is a non factor with his legs and continue with his coverage. It was an awful series for Revis. TE Joel Dreesen, who averages around 20 yards a game, crushed the defense to the tune of 104 yards. Both Brodney Pool and Eric Smith allowed him to grab some big catches and someone in the secondary let him get so far open that there was nobody with 20 yards of him. It may have been the fault of CB Antonio Cromartie or it may have been on one of the safeties who chose to blitz rather than leaving any help deep. Clearly there was major miscommunication there. The screen plays to Foster were also well designed and the Jets had trouble with it.
The defensive line played well at times and the Jets seemed to make some good adjustments to limit Foster in the second half. DE Mike DeVito and NT Sione Pouha both made some great plays, perhaps none bigger than DeVito's strip of the surehanded Foster. It was great pursuit by the DE. DE Shaun Ellis also made some big plays and had a solid all around game. LB Jason Taylor had one nice tackle on the day and David Harris and Bart Scott made a few plays, though both were quieter than usual. The Jets are still awaiting for LB Calvin Pace to make some noise. He had a very quiet game and may have lost contain on an end around by WR Jacoby Jones. The biggest problem for the day, besides the coverage on Dreesen, is that the defense just seemed to think that the game was over even when Greene fumbled the ball. The energy on the field just did not look to be there in the fourth quarter. I'm sure some will be giving them major credit for making a stand on the last drive, but that was as much about the Texans playing conservative as it was the Jets stuffing them. Still they did not give up and some teams may have in what looked like a hopeless situation. And it would be a crime to not mention that Vernon Gholston had the biggest play of his career when the Texans forgot to block him and came in and nearly sacked the QB on a play that probably should have resulted in an intentional grounding call.
Another great game by P Steve Weatherford who has become one of the best, if not the best, punters in the NFL. Jim Leonhard had a big punt return early in the game that set up the first 3 points of the game. The coverage teams were great all day and held the Texans not nothing in the return game. The big mistakes came on a return where the Jets blockers failed to play within the rules and the awful decision by Robert Turner to block a guy well out of bounds after a play ended. It was a blatant foul at the worst time. K Nick Folk rebounded nicely making 3 of 4 with his lone miss coming from 53 yards.
Rex Ryan wanted a fast start and did not get one. If that was his measuring stick for the week they failed in that regard. Probably the biggest break the Jets got was after they answered with a touchdown in the second quarter Gary Kubiak of the Broncos decided to have Schaub pass the ball twice when Foster was the hot hand and the Jets defense had no answer. That gave Ryan time to come up with something that seemed to keep Foster in check in the second half. Had Kubiak done differently this may have been an entirely different game.
Ryan made two decisions that people may talk about. The decision to try a 53 yard field goal was a bit strange. Clearly the leg was not there and he should have known that from watching warmups. I guess he trusted that his defense would make the stop despite the good field position, which they did. The bigger question there may have been the third down playcall. If the decision is made to try a long field goal and you have a 3rd an 17 which is almost unmakeable then you should be making a call to get in better position for the field goal kicker. Sometimes there seems to be a disconnect in strategy between the head coach and offensive coordinator and this was an example of it. The second decision was to challenge the Texans TD when it seemed clear that there would not be enough evidence to overturn it. The team lost a time out there, but with nearly 3 minutes left in the game and the Jets only needing a field goal to win, that extra time out should not have been a concern so it was probably worth the prayer.
This is not just a a streak of crazy wins that is odd for just the Jets, who have a history of bad losses, but for the entire NFL. Last year the Jets lost a number of games in the last minute and they seem to be making up for it in 2010. Like last week it would have been a crime for the Jets to have lost this game, but nobody would have the right to really complain too much since the Jets had already won 3 games on the final play of the game. Those things happen and you just have to accept it, but somehow it does not happen to these Jets.
You just have to wonder if this is ever going to catch up to the team. The last time I can recall the Jets having some remarkable wins was 2000, which culminated in the Monday Night Miracle before a sparse crowd, much like the win today. Things obviously blew up after that, but this is a more talented team than that one and have a huge cushion in the wildcard race. But the team has to start putting together better efforts for 60 minutes if they want to win the division. It is getting kind of old to have Rex come out after every game and say “don't worry it will be fixed”, because clearly its not being fixed.
Still this is just exciting to watch because of the development and growth of the QB. The team is starting to realize that this is not a running team and its going to have to become a passing team. The weapons are there to pass the ball and they have to unchain Sanchez to make it happen. It is fun to watch. You see the scrambling skills finally being utilized and the use of the runners as a passing outlet not just a super late dump off. You see Holmes just running pure “I'm better than you” pass routes rather than trying to get cute because you don't have the skill at receiver to get open. The last time the Jets had this potential was in the early days of Ken O'Brien and Al Toon and that about 25 years ago. Jets fans should be excited about the possibilities of Sanchez/Holmes/Edwards the way Colts fans got the chance to get excited about a young Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.
The Jets now have the fast turnaround as they get ready for the Bengals in a few short days. Some of these Jets were here in 2007 when they had to quickly get ready for Thanksgiving in Dallas so hopefully that helps the preparation. The Bengals imploded so badly today that you have to wonder what kind of team is even going to show up in the Meadowlands on Thursday. They are at the point where the questions are going to be asked about the future of their head coach, what to do with their Quarterback, and what does Terrell Owens think of how bad his teammates are when he is still producing big yards. You can guarantee that he will throw everyone under the bus. It has the makings of an easier game, one this Jets team desperately needs.
On a side note due to time constraints and some computer issues there will likely not an an Inside the Numbers posting on this game. I should be able to do a preview for the Bengals game.