Statement Game, Not a Trap Game
This had all of the ingredients of a “Same Old Jets” trap game, didn’t it? Coming off of an emotional win, grabbing hold of the sixth and final playoff berth to stare at proudly all week…a 3-9 opponent to overlook next up on the schedule. All of these providing the reasons for the Jets to come in flat, the way the franchise had historically done so many times before under similar circumstances.
Instead, the Jets came out sharp. Razor sharp. In fact, as in control offensively as we’ve seen them to start a game under Todd Bowles. Godsend veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick engineered a terrific scoring drive that featured usual suspect Brandon Marshall through the air, and Chris Ivory on the ground. A march that ended with a patented Eric Decker TD catch on the game’s first possession and the early 7-0 edge, setting the tone for a mindset the Jets continued on both sides of the ball all day.
Putting the Titans to bed before halftime. Putting anyone to bed. The Jets don’t typically do this type of thing. It is what postseason quality teams can do to bad teams though, perhaps the way it all went down was proof that beating the Giants last week in dramatic fashion was a springboard. The starting point for a gelling team that is gaining confidence, getting healthier, and trending upwards.
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s December too. The perfect time for elevation. This had all the makings of a trap game, instead it turned out to be more of a statement, one that emphasizes the fact that these New York Jets won’t overlook anyone. That they still won’t get too high or too low, or waste time talking a good game or talking at all. The Todd Bowles Jets are prepared to take on past Jet demons that couldn’t handle a glimmer of prosperity, by doing so one game at a time.
Marshall and Decker Among Jet Combo Greats : A Top Five Duo In the League?
I know it’s too early to tell and they’ve only played together for 13 games. The production value though, of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker together has to make one wonder at when its all said and done if they don’t become one of the top combos in Jet history. They must be a top five 1-2 punch in the NFL this season as well.
The Marshall/Decker combo are a constant 100 yards per game each, 1-2 touchdown pair. Both had one in the 30-8 romp Sunday. Is there a better combo out there? As for true number one receivers stacked against Marshall, well okay Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham are out of this world. Yet none of those guys have a Decker like counterpart across from them. The Jags have Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The Raiders have big play pair Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. The Lions own Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate but they are an underwhelming team. So what tandem am I forgetting on this Monday morning? I need a coffee so maybe I spacing out here but off the top of my head, Marshall and Decker have to be in the top three conversation if not more. Back to Jets history.
During the glory years of the late 1960s it was Don Maynard and George Sauer. Maynard was the Hall of Fame legend, but was used as a inured decoy in Super Bowl III as Sauer went over 100 yards and was Namath blitz pick up outlet all day.
In the 80s it was Al Toon and Wesley Walker. Toon to me, was on the level of Jerry Rice. However the poor guy had Ken O’Brien, not the efficiency of a Bill Walsh offense run by Joe Montana, or any Super Bowl stage to showcase himself on. Wesley Walker retired with better numbers than Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. He was one of the great big play threats of his era.
In the 1990s it was Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet. Not exactly the best of friends but effective with their incredibly varying skill sets. During Rex Ryan’s brief glory run it was Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. One a big target, the other a clutch home run hitter.
Marshall and Decker are different than all of them. They compliment each other so well. Both play motivated every week. Both are threats in the red zone. Both can be physical of the inside. Marshall is bigger and faster. Decker is the best route runner on the team. Pretty sure handed too. With a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who knows how to utilize and maximize them every week.
It is not fair to compare eras. The game has changed so much throughout the years. However if this duo can stay together for a few more seasons and remains relatively injury free, how can they not wind up as one of the best if not the best 1-2 receiver punches in franchise history?
Three Man Backfield Rotation Paying Dividends
Chris Ivory looked healthy again. Bilal Powell scored another receiving TD, his second in two weeks. Stevan Ridley kept Powell and Ivory fresh and away from the dangers of overuse. It’s week 15 now and the Jets are beginning to run downhill again. This must be a conscious effort on the part of Todd Bowles to keep his primary back Ivory healthy while utilizing the open field abilities of Powell, who has a knack for finding yards after the catch.
Ridley looked out of sorts in prior attempts to incorporate him into the offense over past weeks and didn’t rush for much when he got the call against Tennessee, but even with limited touches and yardage, seemed to have found his rhythm and legs.
December football on the east coast is a lot about owning a ground game with fresh legs to do it. The Jets are set up well right now. Ivory and Powell are both being given chances to contribute and Ridley is capable enough of giving them a blow. It’s the perfect time for a three headed monster to hit its stride.
– Mo Wilkerson is proving to be a player the Jets can’t afford to lose. Even as his price tag rises. He’s been consistent and has gotten better as the season had worn on. Three sacks of Marcus Mariota will definitely help to drive his contract numbers up, but the Jets shouldn’t view the potential of first rounder Leonard Williams as any sure fire replacement for Wilkerson’s production over the years. That’s too risky. Pay the guys. Keep a great player who is the anchor of this defense yet still young enough to provide days like yesterday for many years to come.
– The Jets were up 10-0 in the first half and faced with the quandary of whether to go for it on 4th and 1. Foregoing a chip shot FG and the possibility of handing over momentum. Last week Tom Coughlin’s choice to dismiss the chance for a chip shot woke the Jets up just in the nick of time. Yesterday Todd Bowles payed little mind to any potential emotional risks of taking points off the board. He went for it and got it.
– Dallas, the Pats and the Bills. Many believe that the Jets must run the table and go 11-5 in order to be playoff safe. I say what Todd Bowles would say. Just take it one at a time. Next week the Jets play the Cowboys on Saturday night. Beat them and go to 9-5. Then sit back on Sunday and watch must win teams try to stay loose and hold serve as well.