The New York Jets played the type of football game today that they talked about playing all summer. Behind a smash-mouth rushing attack and a suffocating defense, they steamrolled the overmatched Indianapolis Colts 35-9. Without question the story of this game was the much maligned (especially from this site) Shonn Greene having a career day with 32 carries, 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joe McKnight also chipped in a 61 yard run to help boost the Jets rushing total on the day to a gaudy 253 yards.
It didn’t leave much for the passing game to do. Mark Sanchez was an efficient 11/18 for 82 yards with 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. It was good to see rookie Stephen Hill back out there and contributing, as he caught his third touchdown of the season and had three receptions. The Jets used Tim Tebow in a sensible way, allowing him to convert a third and short from an empty formation and letting him run a few read options with Greene. He also converted another fake punt, his third of the season, hitting Nick Bellore for a 24 yard completion.
On defense, we finally saw signs of a pass rush. Quinton Coples finished with 1.5 sacks, the first of his career. Rookie safety Antonio Allen also had a sack in his Jets debut and Muhammad Wilkerson had a strip sack, his first of the season. Antonio Cromartie continued his All-Pro caliber season, keeping Reggie Wayne in check and recording his third interception of the season. The Colts were never able to establish a running game, finishing with only 41 yards on 17 carries.
It was an encouraging, confidence building win for the Jets against an inferior team. People who write off the Jets as one of the league’s worst teams and talk like their season is over, forget their ability to dominate teams like the Colts on their schedule and there are more like them on the way. They aren’t on the way this upcoming week though, as the Jets will travel to New England in a battle for first place in the AFC East. It will be a difficult task as always to slow down New England’s high power offense.
Regardless, the AFC is bunched together and it is going to stay that way. The Jets are 3-3. 2-0 in their division and 3-2 in the AFC. Their season is far from over and if they continue to improve, have the ability to be a factor in the AFC playoff race.
…And now it is Patriots week.