It wasn't his most prolific passing day by any stretch of the imagination, but quarterback Mark Sanchez played efficiently and with poise, taking what the defense gave him on Sunday. Sanchez finally snapped a four-game streak where he completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts. New York's No. 6 connected on 11-of-18 drop-backs for 82 yards, two touchdowns and most importantly zero turnovers.
Shonn Greene had been a punching bag for critics leading up to Sunday's contest with the Colts as the Jets struggled to run the football all season long. The fourth-year tailback broke out in a big way setting career-highs in rushing yards (161), touchdowns (3) and attempts (32). Even running back turned cornerback Joe McKnight exploded for a 61 yard scamper in a virtuoso performance for Rex Ryan's ground and pound.
It was tough Luck for the Colts rookie signal-caller as the defensive line penetrated Indianapolis' backfield and forced a number of bad throws. The Jets intercepted the former Stanford standout twice and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson came up with a strip sack to help seal the victory. Luck's 51.3 passer rating was his worst as a pro with kudos going to Ryan's secondary who has stepped up their play of late, after losing Darrelle Revis for the season.
Gang Green's front seven stymied the Colts trio of ball carriers with Vick Ballard, Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore combining for 15 carries producing just 43 rushing yards. Indianapolis' long run of the day went for five yards as New York bottled up the Colts' backfield, which was without starter Donald Brown due to an injured knee. Ryan had been imploring his defensive front to play with sound fundamentals and they did just that eliminating any big running plays and forcing Indianapolis to be a one-dimensional team.
It was a quiet day for placekicker Nick Folk with the Jets converting all five of their red zone trips into touchdowns. Punter Robert Malone blasted five punts for an average 52 yards and pinned the Colts inside the 20-yard line once. McKnight added a 34 yard kickoff return before leaving the game with an injured ankle that he suffered after a 61-yard run in the third-quarter. The most dynamic play of the day came on 4-and-11 from the Colts' 40 yard line, when personal punt protector Tim Tebow connected on a fake punt pass with linebacker Nick Bellore for 23-yards, moving the chains and bringing the crowd to its feet.
It wasn't an elaborate scheme that beat the Colts on Sunday, just old school smash-mouth football. The Jets finally resurrected their ground game, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and busting through for big chunk plays. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano identified the Colts defensive weakness and exploited it throughout the contest. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine did a brilliant job of keeping Luck off-balance and out of rhythm throughout the afternoon. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff hit it big on his gamble to attempt a fake punt of 4th-and-long; helping swing momentum in the Jets' favor.