Early in the first quarter the Jets appeared to be off to yet another slow start with the Indianapolis Colts taking a 3-0 lead and moving the ball on offense with relative ease. The Jets' offense didn't come out firing the first drive like they needed to and instead looked flat. The second possession was a different story for the Jets. With 14:13 left in the second quarter, Mark Sanchez found rookie Stephen Hill in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Sanchez made a picture perfect pass and placed the ball only where his receiver could catch it.
The whole possession was a springboard for success for the rest of the contest. Running back Shonn Greene ran the ball like a man on a mission, breaking several tackles before being finally falling to the ground. Greene continued to play aggressively the whole day, on a way to a career-high of 161 yards on 32 carries and three touchdowns. Sanchez, who put the exclamation point on the first scoring drive, was accurate and played smart the remainder of the game. Sanchez finished the day with two touchdown passes, but most importantly he was precise, not throwing an interception.
The Colts scored nine points all afternoon because of three Adam Vinatieri field goals. The Colts were coming off a week where they upset the Green Bay Packers. Their offense had a lot of confidence after scoring 30 points against the Packers defense. Andrew Luck was beginning to get comfortable with the offense and his receivers began to trust him. This week was a step backwards for the Colts offense, but when they did score it was because the Jets defense helped them. The first scoring drive saw pass interference call on safety Antonio Allen and a roughing the passer penalty by defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. The Colts once again received help on their second scoring drive.
In the second quarter with the Jets winning 14-3, cornerback Antonio Cromartie picked off a pass intended for Reggie Wayne and returned it for a touchdown. The touchdown was called back because of pass interference by Cromartie. That same drive Vinatieri kicked a 50 yarder to pull the Colts to within one possession. Like Mark Sanchez and the offense, the defense also played smart. The defensive unit has been battling several injuries along the line and placed Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis on injured reserve. The Jets cannot afford to shoot themselves in the foot on defense because of penalties such as roughing the passer and pass interference.
"It was huge, we needed it, " said Ryan of the Jets win over the Colts on Sunday. "You can't afford to lose three games at home in a row. That would have been tough, we are a tough team. We can overcome a lot, but we really needed this win."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
This week the, "In Case You Missed It," was a combined effort by Shonn Greene and the running game along with outstanding play of New York's the secondary. What will slip under the cracks is how effective both sides of the ball played. In Nick Mangold's 100th career start, he and the rest of the offensive of line created big holes and helped the ground game rush for 252 yards on the day. Mark Sanchez also looked comfortable in the pocket, which allowed him time to make smart decisions all afternoon long. For the first time this season the Jets defense produced pressure from their defensive line. In fact, Luck seemed to be on the run all afternoon, which led to two costly interceptions.
The defensive line had a four sacks with defensive end Quinton Coples talling 1.5 sacks and Wilkerson registering 0.5 a sack and a forced fumble. The Jets' defense played with a chip on their shoulder since the first Colts possession of the game. The Colts tried to work some magic early with a reverse, but linebacker Calvin Pace and the defensive line sniffed out the play and stopped them behind the line. The defense made it clear from the beginning of the first quarter that the Colts would have a hard time moving the ball against them.
Sanchez came into the game with a 48.4 completion percentage, which ranked dead-last in the NFL. Sanchez showed what he is capable of when he has time completing 61.1 percent of his passes and tossing two touchdowns. Gang Green finally did not face a top five defense this week. The past two weeks the Jets offense faced the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans who are amongst the NFL's elite. During their two game slide, the Jets ground game was nonexistent. This week Greene and the rest of the running game ran for 252 yards. The secondary is starting to prove to fans that life without Revis is not so bad.
Luck made an early mistake by throwing the ball right into Cromartie's hands. In the fourth quarter Luck was pressured into throwing a pick to Ellis Lankster, the first interception of his career. The Jets' defense also made the rookie quarterback scramble more then he wanted to and had four sacks on the day. New York will need to maintain the pressure against Tom Brady next week when they play their division rivals, the New England Patriots. Brady plays his worst football when he feels uncomfortable.
The Seattle Seahawks beat the Patriots this week 24-23, and even though Brady threw for 395 yards, he threw two interceptions. The Jets took advantage of the Colts' ground game without starting running back Donald Brown as they held Indianapolis to 41 rushing yards on the day. Next week, the defense will have the tough task of stopping Stevan Ridley. The Jets did not need to focus on a late comeback this week because they controlled the game from the start. Next week in Foxboro, the Jets will need the same start if they hope for another victory.