Grading The Jets: The Wild Card

GWR's Rich Laughland has his red pen out and the grades are in for Saturday's playoff win.

PASSING OFFENSE:

The man they call the Sanchize was less than stellar but the second year quarterback performed well in the clutch. #6 directed the Jets on a five play, 41 yard drive, punctuated by Nick Folk's game-winning 32 yard kick. Mark Sanchez would complete 18 of 31 pass attempts for 189 yards, one interception and a measly rating of 62.4. If not for Sanchez's late game heroics, New York's lackluster passing game would have absorbed the blame for what could have been a disappointing loss. New York will need to establish an early rhythm in through the air if they hope to pull the upset in Foxboro.

Grade: C+

RUSHING OFFENSE:

A herculean effort by vivacious tailbacks Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson dominated the second half, carrying New York to victory. The Jets menacing offensive line pancaked Colts defenders blasting vast creases for Greene and Tomlinson to exploit. All totaled New York amassed 169 yards on 39 carries with L.T.'s pair of one yard touchdowns catapulting Gang Green to a late game surge. The Jets found their ground and pound game, making minced meat of Indianapolis' porous run defense.

Grade: A

PASSING DEFENSE:

The Jets pass defense was brilliant, disguising their coverages and forcing Peyton Manning to audible to running plays. Gang Green featured a defensive front including five defensive backs as well as shifting safety Eric Smith into the linebacking territory. The Jets tackling was exceptional, particularly Eric Smith whose ten wrap-ups led New York. Despite a lack of a pass rush and virtually no disturbance of Manning in the pocket; the Jets found a way to contain the Colts top ranked aerial assault.

Grade: A-

RUSHING DEFENSE:

The Colts run game was tepid as the combination of Joseph Addai and Dominick Rhodes ran the ball 27 times for 93 yards, with a long run of 14 yards. Indianapolis' tailbacks were stymied by the likes of David Harris, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace who wrestle Rhodes and Addai to the ground on multiple occasions. The Colts 24th ranked ground game looked every bit the part as they were unable to break off any big runs or find the end zone for six.

Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Antonio Cromartie's 47 yard kickoff return on the Jets last offensive possession of the game ignited Gang Green's scoring drive. Nick Folk was true on his 32 yard game-winning kick, proving that the erratic place kicker does have ice water in his veins. Punter Steve Weatherford averaged 50.4 yards on four punts, downing one inside the twenty yard-line. Santonio Holmes' bone-headed decision to let the Colts opening punt bounce through his legs was confounding, but overall a superb effort by those special teamers.

Grade: A-

COACHING:

Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine devised a terrific game plan; featuring formations stacked with defensive backs daring Peyton Manning to audible to running plays. The Jets scheme worked as they executed it to perfection, with New York's run game keeping Peyton Manning on the sidelines in the second half. Kudos to Rex and his staff for containing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. The Jets will be certain replicate the blue print they utilized against Peyton Manning and bring it to the unfriendly confines of Gillette Stadium as future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady awaits their arrival Sunday.

Grade: A


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