The New York Jets are now 2-0 at home. The New York Jets have won two games in a row. The New York Jets have the same record as the New England Patriots, in October. Today at MetLife Stadium, they were able to outlast the Jacksonville Jaguars in a sloppy, back and forth game that nearly ended in a tie. On the backs of their running game and a surging young defense, the Jets have the looks of a team who will be substantially more competitive than many projected.
This game should not have been as close as it ended up being. The Jets easily out gained Jacksonville, missed a field goal and gave up a fluky touchdown on a lateral swing pass. The team’s two touchdowns came on monster runs from Bilal Powell (75 yards) and Elijah McGuire (69 yards). They combined for 256 yards rushing and 65 yards receiving, an astronomical total of 321 yards. There was not much else needed from the Jets offense, as Josh McCown had a pair of turnovers but went 22/31 for 224 yards. Robby Anderson was the leading receiver with 3 receptions for 59 yards. Austin Seferian-Jenkins chipped in 4 catches for 46 yards.
There is absolutely zero reason that Matt Forte should get another carry the rest of the season. McGuire is the latest example of how you can always find running backs in the middle and late rounds. Despite struggling a bit in pass protection, the Jets young offensive line deserves credit for the gaping holes they were regularly opening up in the running game. Offensive Coordinator John Morton is also getting as much as possible out of this unit with his play calling.
Defensively, the Jets were fairly dominant after an ugly opening drive. Jacksonville scored a defensive touchdown and got points on a short field to reach their 20 point total. Both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye were solid again and set the tone for the rest of the unit. Kony Ealy had three passes defensed and an interception…that is not a typo. Newcomer David Bass recorded a sack for the second week in a row. The Jets are compensating for some of their draft misses with savvy waiver wire work. It was also another good game on the outside for Morris Claiborne, who has quietly (always good for a corner) been excellent.
Blake Bortles went 15/35 with an interception and was regularly under pressure. The competition level will eventually pick up but the Jets defense is a high energy, versatile unit with substantially more speed than in recent years. Todd Bowles has a ways to go in game management but he has schemed the hell out of this unit the past two weeks and has the team playing hard for him.
The Jets are taking advantage of the softer part of their schedule, which isn’t meant to be a slight. It is one thing to think games against Miami and Jacksonville are winnable, it is another thing to follow through and win. They will be favorites next week against the 0-4 Browns, in what will be a good road test for a young team who will be receiving praise for their two game winning streak.
This team is young, competitive and fast…all things they weren’t last season.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com