The 2013 New York Jets roller coaster swung in a positive direction today with their most impressive win of the season, 26-20 over the previously 6-1 New Orleans Saints. Today was a banner day for Rex Ryan who schemed up a terrific defensive game plan that flummoxed Drew Brees all day, along with Marty Mornhinweg who has an offense that is producing despite featuring a collection of mid-season acquisitions at the pass catching positions. You can start thinking about it Jets fans…the playoffs are on the radar for this team.
Defensively, the Jets allowed their share of big plays and yards to the Saints passing game but that is inevitable against Brees, Jimmy Graham and company. However, they came up with two interceptions that directly set up points and were clutch. They answered the bell on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter and were able to close the game late when the Saints had the opportunity for a game winning drive. Quinton Coples made his season debut as a game changer on the Jets defense today after a sluggish past few games. He had three quarterback hits, the 4th and 1 tackle and the game ending pressure on Brees. If Coples is going to play like that off the edge, it is going to take this defense to a whole other level.
Dee Milliner and Antonio Cromartie were far from perfect but they took a step in the right direction, particularly Milliner who played with good energy and physicality. This was also a strong game from the Jets trio of safeties. Muhammad Wilkerson had yet another sack, and now has 8 on the season, along with Calvin Pace who has quietly racked up 5 this season.
Offensively, the Jets rode Chris Ivory who established himself as the team’s unquestioned lead back with a 18 carry, 139 yard performance. Ivory finally flashed the talent we have been carrying on about at this site the past 6 months, by showing his tremendous burst in the open field and ability to break tackles to get to the second level of the defense. Geno Smith did not have his best day (8/19, 115 yards) however he had zero turnovers and a pretty three yard touchdown run. Amazingly the Jets go to options in the passing game were Zach Sudfeld (2 receptions, 46 yards), Greg Salas (2 receptions, 57 yards), David Nelson (1 reception, 19 yards), and Josh Cribbs (2 receptions, 6 yards, 12 rushing yards). None of these guys were on the team as of 4 weeks ago! The Jets will get a nice boost when Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow Jr return after the bye week.
Today was an extremely impressive win, for a Jets team that has already exceeded every pre-season expectation for them. In the AFC, the Jets are right in the thick of the battle for the 6 seed…actually they are currently the front runner for it. The bye has come at an opportune time, as Antonio Allen and Jeremy Kerley were both banged up today. Over their final seven games, the Jets play only one team (Carolina) with a winning record. A playoff spot is there for the taking Jets…go and get it.