CHEER:Finally, New York Jets fans had something to cheer about. This week had a lot of positives compared to the past few weeks. In the second quarter the Jets defense stole the momentum from the St. Louis Rams when defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson stripped the football from quarterback Sam Bradford. Linebacker Bart Scott scooped up the loose football and returned it deep into Rams' territory. The cheer this week comes from the events that happened in the next play.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez threw a spot on pass to wide receiver Chaz Schilens for his only touchdown pass on the day. The Jets took a 10-7 lead and did not look back, eventually winning the game 27-13 to improve to 4-6 on the season.
Sanchez showed signs of maturing on the play and throughout the game. On the touchdown, Sanchez used a pump fake to allow Schilens to beat the defender and Sanchez floated an easy pass into the end zone for the score. Sanchez had an efficient game, something the Jets will need to see from him in order to win games.
This was arguably his best game of the season because he didn't turn the ball over. Sanchez went 15 for 20 on the day for 178 yards and a touchdown. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez keep playing mistake free against the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving.
JEER:The Jets defense gave up two touchdowns on the day, both were from Brandon Gibson. The Bradford to Gibson connection was one of the few positives the Rams offense had during Sunday's game. The first touchdown came in the first quarter and the second one was a stat builder when the Rams were clearly out of the game in the fourth quarter.
The first quarter touchdown, on the other hand, could have hurt the Jets hopes of winning the game. The Rams decided to go for it on fourth down on the two yard line, and the decision worked out. Like so many other plays this season, the Jets had a lack of communication that allowed Gibson to streak wide open into the back of the end zone. Bradford spotted Gibson and threw a strike for the touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead.
This week's game was the opposite of the game against the Seattle Seahawks, because the Jets did not seem awake and ready to play at the start of the game, but turned it on later to win.
HEAR, HEAR:"You get to enjoy it for five hours and then it's on to the next ones," said Rex Ryan following the win. "It was really a sound performance by the entire team. Obviously it wasn't perfect, we had a blocked field goal, that's obviously isn't any good, then there were some other things that we have to get better. But, when you win the runs and completions 55-43, obviously, that's huge for us. The turnovers, we won that three to zip, I think that's huge and a couple fourth down stops is really big. Our quarterback rating when you look at, in the NFL now that seems to be a big statistic in how many wins and losses it seems like. Sanchez has a 118.3 rating and Bradford had a 67.4. All those things obviously were very positive for us."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:Third down running back Bilal Powell ran for two touchdowns on the day to help the Jets secure the victory. Both touchdowns came on the same draw play, the first one from five yards out, and the second one for 11 yards. What made this play so effective was the offensive line executing their blocks to allow Powell to rip up the middle for the touchdown.
The offensive line sat back like it was a pass play and after the hand off was exchanged they quickly ripped towards the secondary to open further holes. Powell gave the running game a boost on Sunday. Powell gave the Jets a play maker and rushed for 42 yards and two touchdowns. The sluggish running game woke up against the Rams and had a respectable 124 yards on the game. The Jets will need someone to step up every week if they want to make a run because Sanchez has limited weapons in his huddle.
WHATS NEXT:The Jets beat the Buffalo Bills by 20 points and the Indianapolis Colts by 26 earlier in the season, but this 14 point victory over the Rams may have been the most impressive and well put together game of the season. The rushing attack was solid and Sanchez was efficient on the offensive side. The defense caused three turnovers and did forced a good Rams offense to play from behind, which took carries away from running back Stephen Jackson who was averaging 6.2 yards per carry for the game.
The coaching staff made good decisions in key spots of the game. The only surprise was the special teams. Nick Folk has been very good this season, but he had one field goal blocked and he missed another. Also, the punt team failed to pick up a first down on a fake punt. Tim Tebow took the direct snap and flipped a shovel pass to fullback Lex Hilliard who was met by linebacker James Laurinaitis at the line of scrimmage.
If the Jets play the way they did against the Rams, they will be sticking around against the Patriots, just like the week 7 overtime loss. The Jets only have four days to prepare for their Thanksgiving matchup. The Patriots are coming off a game where they dominated the Colts by the score of 59-24. Tom Brady threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns, but the key stat is he was not sacked once. The Jets will need to keep up the pressure they have caused the past two weeks against the Rams and Seahawks.
The defensive line has made quarterbacks such as Bradford and Russell Wilson very uncomfortable in the pocket. The Jets also need to keep Brady and the Patriots offense off the field. If the running game has a strong performance and controls the play clock, then this can happen. Sanchez is poised for a big day, on Sunday the Patriots secondary gave up 334 yards to rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.
During the week seven loss to the Patriots Sanchez threw for 328 yards, the most he has thrown for this season. If the Jets execute their plays the way they did against the Rams this week, then the Patriots are in for a long day.