It was not pretty and it was not enjoyable at times but the New York Jets exceeded their 2014 win total in week 9 with a 28-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite mounting injuries on both sides of the ball and multiple frustrating breakdowns on defense, the Jets made enough plays to hold off a late Jaguars rally. They now have four short days to get ready for Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills who are getting healthy and are fresh off an impressive win over the Miami Dolphins, who are all but dead in the AFC East.
Offensively, Ryan Fitzpatrick was inconsistent at times but on the whole made multiple timely throws and led an effective Jets passing attack. He avoided any turnovers and finished 21/34 for 272 yards with 2 touchdowns in one of his better overall outings of the season. Eric Decker was the primary target, finishing with 6 catches for 79 yards and his 6th touchdown the year. Brandon Marshall was clearly not 100% but had a huge fourth quarter touchdown, recovered an onside kick and saved the day by recovering a Chris Ivory fumble late in the game. Kenbrell Thompkins had a highlight reel grab and looked to be functioning as the team’s H-Back with 4 catches for 45 yards…even our old friend Jeff Cumberland got in on the act with a 44 yard catch.
The Jets running game continued to be putrid. Chris Ivory had 23 carries for 26 yards and no that wasn’t a misprint. Their offensive line was regularly physically dominated, allowing 2 sacks and picking up multiple penalties. Nick Mangold left in the 2nd quarter and Willie Colon was out with an injury, leaving Wesley Johnson and Brian Winters to struggle. It was another bad outing for D’Brickashaw Ferguson who has continually been exposed the past three weeks.
Defensively, it is probably time to sit Antonio Cromartie down. He was consistently victimized down the field before giving way to Marcus Williams due to a thigh injury. Williams bounced back from a tough outing in Oakland to collect two more interceptions, bringing his season total to four. He is the team’s second best corner right now beside Darrelle Revis. Buster Skrine continued to struggle and does not appear to be healthy. The Jets will have to consider activating Dee Milliner this week.
Lorenzo Mauldin had a coming out party with 2 sacks and multiple pressures. Graybeard Calvin Pace had a huge fourth quarter strip sack. The Jets forced four total turnovers on the day and finished with five sacks (half sacks by Leonard Williams, Dion Bailey, Marcus Williams and Sheldon Richardson). Hopefully Mauldin can continue to provide pressure off the edge, which is something this defense desperately needs.The Jets also lost kicker Nick Folk to a pre-game injury. Ryan Quigley filled in admirably by hitting all four PATs and providing a few timely punts downed inside the 10 yard line. The Jets are likely to sign a kicker with a game upcoming so fast on Thursday.
A win is a win, is a win. The Jets are not good enough to overlook anybody or not be satisfied by beating anybody when they are not healthy. Buffalo will be a challenge on a short week but hopefully they can get a few pieces back and find a way in a hugely critical division game. They will then have 10 days to get healthy before Houston.