Those questions will be answered in the next five weeks. The answers will define exactly what the 2010 New York Jets are and were: Legitimate contender or overhyped pretender? Champion or chump? A big-talking group that backed up its braggadocio or a team whose swagger never came close to its substance?
The Jets romped over the Bills Sunday, 38-7, in what ostensibly amounted to an exhibition game. The Jets finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and are the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. They will play Kansas City and old friend Thomas Jones next weekend at Arrowhead Stadium…or they will play Indianapolis and try to revenge last year's loss in the AFC Championship Game.
Having clinched a playoff berth thanks to Jacksonville's 20-17 loss in Washington last Sunday, the coaching staff decided to scratch LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo and Damien Woody, while only playing Mark Sanchez for only one series—one in which the quarterback did not throw the football.
Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens and Brad Smith combined to complete eight passes for 119 yard and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns were thrown by Brunell. He connected on a 17-yard touchdown late in the second quarter with Santonio Holmes and on a 52-yard third quarter hookup with Braylon Edwards. Brunell was sacked once and was picked by Jarius Byrd for 37-yard interception return for touchdown 1:54 into the third quarter.
Fourth round draft pick Joe McKnight rushed for 158 yards in his first NFL start. The USC product also caught two passes for 15 yards and returned a punt for 25 yards. McKnight's first 100-yard rushing effort as a NFL player spearheaded an attack that totaled 276 yards. Smith added 60 yards on five carries as the Wildcat quarterback. Clemens rushed for a 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that pushed the Jets' lead to 31-7. Rookie fullback John Conner capped the Jets' regular season scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run with 6:45 left in the game.
Marquice Cole and Kyle Wilson started in place of Revis and Cromartie. Cole returned a Brian Brohm (10-of-23 passes for 106 yards and three interceptions) pick 35 yards for a touchdown 5:53 into the second quarter. The interception was one of two he had in the game. Dwight Lowery added one interception of his own. Calvin Pace intercepted Bills rookie QB Levi Brown, as well.
Nick Folk's 38-yard field goal with 4:58 left in the first quarter opened the scoring.