Quarterback (B) – Outside of two ugly turnovers, Mark Sanchez put together a strong performance. The game manager title is clearly a thing of the past, as he went 26/44 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. His confidence is fully there and considering the weapons around him, a big statistical year is a real possibility. The turnovers must be eliminated as they both came in killer spots. However, it was nice to see how well he distributed the football among his top targets and didn’t hesitate to push the ball down the field.
Running Back (C+) – LaDainian Tomlinson gets an “A” while Shonn Greene settles in somewhere around a “D.” Neither Greene (10 carries, 26 yards) or Tomlinson (5 carries, 16 yards) did much running the ball but Tomlinson was key in the receiving game, finishing with 6 receptions for 73 yards, leading the team in both categories. The Jets are going to need more from their running game, Greene in particular, moving forward.
Wide Receiver (A) – The playmakers did what they were paid to do. Santonio Holmes turned in a solid 6 reception, 70 yard performance, while Plaxico Burress stole the show in the second half with 4 receptions for 72 yards and a beautiful touchdown catch. Burress looks capable of having a much bigger year than many (including myself) projected. Derrick Mason had 3 receptions for 19 yards, and dropped a potential touchdown pass. Jeremy Kerley only played one offensive snap.
Tight End – (A) – Dustin Keller remains a reliable safety valve for Mark Sanchez and posted 6 receptions for 51 yards, along with the team’s first touchdown of the season. The offense finally demonstrated the use of a two tight end look as a passing threat, by getting Jeff Cumberland involved on a 33 yard reception.
Offensive line – (D) – It wasn’t a pretty night up front, as Mark Sanchez was sacked 4 times and there was no push in the running game. Wayne Hunter was repeatedly beaten by DeMarcus Ware in his first game as team’s new starting right tackle. Hey…at least he won’t face anyone better than Ware the rest of the year.
Defensive Line – (A) – They were solid against the run, as usual. Mike DeVito also had one of the biggest plays of the night by forcing a crucial Tony Romo fumble on a sack. He finished with 3 tackles. Muhammad Wilkerson was quiet in his NFL debut with 1 tackle.
Linebackers – (B+) – Bart Scott had a big night with 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for a loss. Calvin Pace also had a sack. The group still struggled defending the screen pass at times and part of Jason Witten’s big night goes on them. However, on the whole it was a productive night.
Secondary – (C) – It is going to be a long season for Antonio Cromartie if he keeps up at this pace. He was beat by Dez Bryant on a jumpball for a touchdown and then by Miles Austin on a deep touchdown, where he let him pull the ball away from him, which is unacceptable. Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard continued to struggle in pass coverage. Darrelle Revis was beat by Dez Bryant on an early deep ball down the sideline but shut him down after that and then came up with an enormous interception that set up the game winning field. You know the saying, “you come at the King, you best not miss.”
Special Teams – (A+) – The deciding factor in this game…outside of Tony Romo being a choke artist….was the Jets special teams. Nick Folk was money on the game winning 50 yard field goal. Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the 4th quarter that Isaiah Trufant took back to the house. TJ Conley was solid all night at punter as well.
Coaching – (B) – They didn’t come out ready to play and at times seemed a step behind Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan. Yet, this is a resilient, scrappy team that finds ways to win games and a big part of that comes from Rex Ryan. Also, stand up and take a bow Mike Westhoff for continuing to put together excellent special teams units. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deserves credit for his call late in the game that help set up the Revis interception, which did a good job of masking zone coverage as man.