Mark Sanchez followed up his 326 yard performance in the Motor City, with a 299 passing effort in Cleveland, just missing out on back to back 300 yard passing games. Santonio Holmes enjoyed his best day as a Jet collecting 137 yards on five receptions, including his 37 yard overtime clinching grab. Sanchez found eight different receiving targets, picking on an undersized, 25th ranked Browns passing defense.
Grade: A -
Gang Green rushed the ball 45 times, much to the delight of Rex Ryan. Tomlinson and Greene combined for 129 yards on 38 carries, with Brad Smith contributing 39 yards on five carries out of the Wildcat. New York averaged 3.8 yards per carry – worrisome number that is lower than the season average - with Mark Sanchez representing the Jets lone rushing touchdown on the day. The Jets ground and pound was relentless helping New York dominate the time of possession battle, as Rex's boys held the ball for over 47 minutes.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy displayed poise and confidence in the pocket, as the Jets were unable to unleash a consistent pass rush. James Ihedigbo was a nuisance for McCoy, crashing in for a sack of the rookie quarterback. McCoy connected with eight different receivers as tight end Benjamin Watson led the charge for Cleveland with five receptions for 74 yards. Watson hauled in a 17 yard reception down to the Jets' 38 yard-line as the Browns tied score two plays later with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the overtime period, Drew Coleman made a timely strip of Chansi Stuckey halting the Browns scoring drive; while the Jets would force Cleveland into three and outs on their remaining three possessions in overtime. Clutch when they needed to be, but far from great.
Peyton Hillis rumbled for 82 yards on 19 carries, including a 12 yard run with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Gang Green bottled up Hillis in the second half and overtime, limiting him to 22 yards on nine touches. Calvin Pace gathered six solo tackles plugging the gaps and bringing the fight to Cleveland's run game. The Browns run game was non-existent as they found themselves trailing in the second half forced to pass the ball from behind. The Jets run defense has not allowed a 100 yard rusher this season.
Nick Folk's fall from grace was the pervading storyline as he followed up his heroic performance against Detroit with a debacle at the "Dog Pound." Folk finished two for five on the day, missing on 24, 47 and 48 yard attempts, clearly unable to manage the windy and sandy field conditions. Folk's failed efforts paved the way for Cleveland to fight their way back in the game as merely an average kicking performance would have resulted in a Jets win in regulation. Even Brad Smith's kick return game lacked a little of that pizzazz.
Rex Ryan vowed the team would return to the staple of their offense, the ground and pound attack, and he delivered as promised. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer committed to the running game, virtually splitting Tomlinson's and Greene's carries, while allotting Brad Smith ample opportunities to rush out of the Wildcat. The guys in headsets made a concerted effort to jump start the running game simplifying the game for Sanchez and effectively wearing out Cleveland's defenders. Would like to see Smith take a pass or two out of the Wildcat from time to time.