On Monday night, the Jets offense produced five field goals and no touchdowns through three quarters of play a the Vikings defense stymied New York on several critical third downs, holding the Jets to a dismal 5 of 17 on third down conversions.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez attributed the Jets offensive struggles in the red zone to the Vikings defensive schemes.
"It was a third-down thing and a red-zone thing. We'd been sharp the last three weeks, but they're a stingy defense," Sanchez said. "They are a bend, don't break defense and they don't give up big plays."
Sanchez completed a woeful 21-44 passes for 191 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, earning him a 59.9 quarterback rating. Sanchez would not blame the harsh weather conditions for his poor completion percentage, weather that delayed the start of the game by 45 minutes.
"I think I just missed a couple. There's no excuse for it," Sanchez said. "It's got to get better and it's got to improve. We're happy with the win and we'll clean up a lot of those mistakes."
In the fourth quarter, the Jets were able to break through Denver's defense by sticking with the ground and pound attack. The Jets commitment to the run produced 155 yards on the ground and for the first time since December 12th 2006, (a span of 51 regular season games), the Vikings run defense allowed an opponent to rush for over 150 rushing yards. The Jets offensive line, led by Damien Woody and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, neutralized the Vikings run defense and won the battle at the line of scrimmage.
The Vikings front four of Jason Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams and Ray Edwards were bullied and beaten by the Jets offensive line, creating seams for the dynamic duo of Greene and Tomlinson. Despite not converting in the red zone, the Jets were able to score seven times, with Nick Folk connecting on all five of his field goal attempts. Shonn Greene's first touchdown run of the season came with 4:30 remaining the game, when he bolted through the teeth of the Vikings' defense for a 26 yard score.
Greene credited both the ferocious offensive line play and the unheralded blocking ability of the Jets wide receivers.
"We have one of the best offensive lines and our wide receivers block on the edge. You don't get many teams with wide receivers like ours (who are) willing to go block on the edge for us," Greene said. "With that combination, we're pretty good."