The Morning After: Maybe This Is What Jets Needed

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The Morning After: Maybe This Is What Jets Needed

Mark Sanchez' remarkable rookie NFL campaign hit a big bump yesterday in New Orleans, as the Jets' rookie committed four costly turnovers, which resulted in 14 points for the home team. The Gang Green lost, 10-24, ending undefeated streaks for both Sanchez and head coach Rex Ryan, who lost his first game as an NFL head coach. 

The loss in New Orleans should serve as a good wakeup call for Rex Ryan's confident Jets team. And maybe, just maybe, this is exactly what they needed to grow together as a team and prepare for the Monday Night encounter with the Miami Dolphins, who won their first game yesterday.

The bad:

1). QB Mark Sanchez basically single-handedly lost this game for the Jets. His first interception was returned for a touchdown, and then he lost a fumble in his own end zone. The Saints scored 14 points off his turnovers, which turned out to be the difference in this game. Last week's lesson about fumbles obviously went right past the Jets' rookie, as he held onto the ball for too long and did not protect it well enough when the pass-rushers closed in. A game like this should have been expected to happen sooner or later, as every rookie quarterback goes through growing pains. We can only hope that Sanchez' will use yesterday's disaster as a stepping stone for improving his game.
2). The offensive line allowed 4 sacks and never really helped get the running game going. Just like a week ago against the Titans, they lost the battle at the line of scrimmage. 7 sacks allowed in 2 last games should definitely be a reason to worry.
3). WR Chansi Stuckey, just like the offensive line, had a bad game for the second week in a row. He had 5 passes thrown to him and caught only one for 8 yards.
4). WR Brad Smith had 3 passes thrown to him and caught just one for 4 yards. Ok, I understand that Smith is a versatile player who can be used on many trick plays, but he just sucks as a wide receiver. There's obviously a problem when your #2 and #3 wide receivers have 2 catches combined for a total of 12 yards. WR David "Mr. August" Clowney did show up on a few plays, but mostly late in the game when the Jets were desperate to move quickly down the field. Why wasn't he used earlier? Only offensive coordinator Bryan Schottenheimer can most likely answer this question.
5). Bryan Schottenheimer, in his turn, also had a rather bad game. His several questionable calls on third downs will surely bring up plenty of questions from New York's media and fans. First, he called two pass plays on third downs when the Jets had gained decent yardage on the ground on previous plays. Then, having seen that his pass plays did not work, he called a run when the Saints clearly had 9 players in the box and were gearing up for a run play.
6). Pass-rush failed to really rattle Drew Brees. Despite that New Orleans' signal caller did not have a good game - 20 of 32 for 190 yards, the Jets' defense registered just one quarterback hit and zero sacks. Hopefully, this situation will change with the arrival of suspended LB Calvin Pace.
7). LB Vernon Gholston seemed to have been getting better as the season progressed, but his performance, or lack thereof, will put him back in square one. Gholston once again started in place of suspended Pace, registered only one tackle and had a few long runs directed right at him.

The good:

1). The defense had a great game, limiting Brees and holding up New Orleans' running game as well up until late in the third quarter when they seemingly got tired. This defense is for real, and they cemented their claim for being the best unit in the league by making the high-powered Saints punt on 5 of their 10 possessions, and creating 3 turnovers (one fumble and two on downs).
2). LB David Harris was once again all over the field, registering team-high 12 tackles (10 solo) and forcing a fumble.
3). CB Darrelle Revis shut down yet another top wide receiver, as Marques Colston was limited to just 2 receptions for 33 yards.
4). RB Shonn Greene finally got his first carries in the NFL and gained 23 yards on 4 runs before leaving with an injury.
5). WR Jerricho Cotchery remained the only sure ball catcher on the team. He had 9 passes thrown to him and caught 5 of them for 71 yards.
6). LB Bryan Thomas had 4 solo tackles, defended a pass and also forced a fumble.

"Tough one today. Too many mistakes. A lot to learn from. Hats off to NO for capitalizing on my costly mistakes. Back to work" were Mark Sanchez' words on twitter right after midnight when the Jets landed in New Jersey.

Tags: mark sanchez, david harris, rex ryan, darrelle revis, saints, new orleans, drew brees.


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