Suffering Jets: Five Wins

 

Woooooooooooo! Wooooooooooo! Woo. Talk about a complete turnaround. Last week, this team looked absolutely miserable. This week, they looked about as good as they have all year. Last week, Geno Smith was a disaster. This week, he was exactly what he needed to be. Last week, this defense, to paraphrase the immortal words of Bart Scott, couldn’t stop a nosebleed. This week, they basically shut down one of the top three quarterbacks in this league. Last week, this team looked dead. This week, playoffs?

Let’s not be typical Jets fans and get ahead of ourselves. A person who is more level-headed and definitely not irrationally pessimistic from years of sports-related disappointment, would realize that there is still a lot of season to play, with a lot that can still go wrong. But, it’s hard to ignore that at 5-4, the Jets are totally outperforming all expectations of them. Even I, the writer of a weekly blog devoted to the team, said before the season, “…the only logical conclusion is that the Jets will finish the season with a 4-12 record, and that may be being generous.” HA. Boy, dolook dumb and irrationally pessimistic from years of sports-related disappointment.

The Jets have finished up what was supposed to be a dreadful stretch of games for them, a stretch that was supposed to bury them. Instead, they’ve come away with wins against Atlanta, New England and now New Orleans. That’s three wins going up against three of the ten best quarterbacks in the NFL. Maybe you would have liked to see them perform better against a struggling Steelers team or be an entity that wasn’t completely catatonic against the Bengals, but I don’t think you trade those three wins for anything. You beat a team, in their house, on Monday night. You beat your biggest rival in the league in overtime. You beat a future Hall of Famer and a defense coached by the brother of your head coach. Not bad.

And while Geno Smith, the de facto protagonist of the Suffering Jets storyline, played well against the Saints, this week is not his story. Really, it was the Jets defense, a defense that seems like it is getting more formidable every week, that gave this team what it needed to win this game.

In all my memories of watching the New York Jets play, they’ve never had a pass rush. I’m still not entirely convinced that the New York Sack Exchange of the early 1980’s even existed, what with this team’s reputation for being life-long losers. Basically, to see this team causing so much havoc at the line on defense… I just don’t even know. A change so foreign, yet so refreshing and completely welcome, I guess. That the Saints out gained the Jets by about 70 yards and that Drew Brees threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns in a Jets victory is a testament to how good this defense can be. Because Drew Brees also threw two interceptions, and was sacked twice, and was pressured countless more times into making bad throws. You could even argue that the defense the Jets were throwing at the Saints is what caused the Saints to run that bizarre end around play to their backup tight end, while trying to convert fourth down late in the game. Even beleaguered rookie Dee Milliner broke up a pass at one point, which was nice for everyone involved; he needs every good play he can get. But seriously, I’m loving everyone involved in this Jets pass rush. Even Quinton Coples and his disgusting arms.

While defense was the primary driving force, there was plenty of other good Jets football to go around, this being an odd numbered week and all. Geno Smith did a lot, while statistically doing very little. He only completed eight of his 19 passes for 115 yards, but that was all that the team needed from him. All of his completions were smart passes, he threw the ball away a lot more than he has in previous weeks and when the team needed a score, he ran it in himself. No turnovers, no fuss.

Additionally on offense, Chris Ivory (still apparently the featured back) ran all over his former team. 19 carries for 139 yards (that’s a modest 7.7 yards per carry) and one touchdown. If either he or Bilal Powell or some unknown third party can produce numbers like that on a weekly basis, it will go a long way toward helping this team down the stretch.

Finally, there’s the man, the myth, the kicker, Nick Folk. Folk is really the unsung hero of this season. He has made at least two field goals in every game and has made 23 total field goals on the year. Oh yeah, and he hasn’t missed yet (he’ll now miss the next field goal he attempts.) Without Folk’s leg, this team’s record is substantially worse. Say you take away two or three of his makes this year: that’s could be the difference between winning and losing against Tampa Bay, Atlanta and New England. Then we’d be staring at 2-7 and wondering where the hell it all went wrong. God bless you, Mr. Folk.

The best news of all however, is that the Jets are going into a bye on an even numbered week. They are 0-4 on even numbered weeks. Hopefully, this will mean that the Jets will get their loss out of the way on their time off and get their second win in a row in Week 11. (They’ll now lose the rest of their games. Like I said, pessimistic.) That being said, as there is no Jets game coming up, the content of next week’s post is as of yet, undetermined. I’ll try to think of something “entertaining” or “funny” for all of us.

Spare Thoughts:

– Josh Cribbs did a little bit of everything against the Saints: he returned punts, took a few handoffs and even completed a 25 yard pass. What a guy.

– This week in some new catching passes for the Jets: Greg Salas. The receiver out of Hawaii had two receptions for 57 yards and quickly made me forget that I didn’t know who the hell he was.

– Not sure if Stephen Hill is still injured…or just never getting targeted.

– The Jets have at least one 12 Men on the Field penalty per game. Glad to see some things never change.

– Once more for good measure… 

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