The Morning After: Jets Survive Against Titans

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The Morning After: Jets Survive Against Titans

The New York Jets defeated the Tennessee Titans, 24-17, and improved to 3-0, marking their best start since 2004 when the Gang Green began the season 5-0. Unlike in the previous two games, however, there were quite a few alarming signs that definitely should be addressed this week in preparation for the New Orleans Saints. While the Jets were clear winners against Houston and New England, let's be honest and admit that yesterday's game could have easily gone either way.

The Jets came out flying and had a 14-0 lead by the time the opening quarter was over. When the second quarter began, we saw the first alarming sign as QB Mark Sanchez was sacked and lost a fumble. This was Sanchez' 3rd fumble in 3 games and the first one that he lost. Then, suddenly Tennessee's running game started working, which prompted the Jets to ease off the pressure and allow Collins to throw a 16-yard pass on a 3rd and 8. The Titans scored 5 plays later, making the score 14-7.

The offense had been pretty good up to that point, so we really had nothing to worry about. However, apparently affected by the lost fumble, Sanchez began struggling, and from that moment on the Gang Green offense went three and out 5 times in a row. Sanchez fumbled the ball again, but luckily this time the Jets recovered. The Titans added a field goal before the first half ended, making it pretty evident at halftime that the momentum was on their side.

I can't say that I was really surprised when the Titans took the lead on the opening possession of the second half. The Jets' defense was giving a lot of respect to the Titans' running attack, which allowed Collins to pick apart the Jets' secondary. Of course, the fact that the Jets had two of their three cornerbacks out did not help either.

The Gang Green got the momentum back when a Tennessee player muffed a fair catch deep in their own territory, instantly putting the Jets in scoring range. Sanchez threw a touchdown to WR Jerricho Cotchery and from that point on the Jets all of a sudden looked like a totally different team. The defense once again began applying pressure on Collins who failed to complete his last 13 passes in this game. MLB David Harris had an interception and then added a sack that basically sealed the game for the Jets.

The bad:

1). QB Mark Sanchez has fumbled the ball 4 times in 3 games. Although don't be surprised if he wins Rookie of the Week for the 3rd time in a row... 17 of 30, 171 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, plus a rushing touchdown.
2). RB Thomas Jones averaged just 1.4 yards per carry on 14 carries. Although the Jets did face #1 defense against the run.
3). WR Chansi Stuckey caught only 2 of 6 passes thrown to him. In the final quarter Sanchez' pass to Stuckey went right through the receiver's hands and ended up as an interception.
4). Offensive line. They lost the battle at the line of scrimmage, as the Jets gained only 83 yards on the ground and allowed 3 sacks. This unit was also guilty of all 3 Jets' penalties (1 false start and 2 holding infractions).
5). P Steve Weatherford averaged only 40 yards (36.4 net yards) on 9 punts. His 23-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter was truly pathetic.
6). PK Jay Feely started the second half with a kickoff that went out of bounds. The Titans got the ball on their 40 and scored 7 plays later. Feely also kicked out of bounds on the opening kickoff in preseason game against the Giants.

The good:

1). WR Jerricho Cotchery caught 8 of 12 passes thrown to him, including a 46-yard bomb in the final quarter that helped the Gang Green extend their lead to 7 points.
2). NT Kris Jenkins recorded 4 tackles (3 solo) and 2 of them were for a loss. Jenkins' presence in the middle helped slow down the powerful Titans' rushing attack. Although the Jets did allow 127 yards on the ground, it was way below 163 yards per game that Tennessee had averaged in the previous two games.
3). MLB David Harris finished the game with 5 tackles (3 solo), 1 sack and an interception.
4). LB Jason Trusnik forced and recovered a fumble on a kickoff return in the first quarter, which led to a Jets' touchdown.
5). WR Brad Smith... First, I couldn't believe it when I saw him catch a pass. Then, in the third quarter, he played an integral role in recovering the muffed fair catch. Smith wrapped up a Titans player, preventing him from picking up his own fumble.
6). LB Vernon Gholston made 3 solo tackles, which is a career high. Any improvement from Gholston is a good sign.

Tags: mark sanchez, david harris, rex ryan, kris jenkins, jerricho cotchery, titans, tennessee


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