Victory Monday: Game Balls

It’s been over two months since the last time the Jets enjoyed a ‘Victory Monday’ but they finally got their second one of the season with a victory of Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday afternoon.

The final score was 20-13 but the game was never that close. The Jets dominated the game, in all three phrases, from the opening kick and the Steelers took advantage of garbage time, scoring 10 fourth quarter points, to give the illusion of a close game but it really wasn’t close.

The final box score says the Steelers out gained the Jets 362 to 275 in total yards (326 to 125 passing yards while the Jets out gained the Steelers 150 to 36 on the ground) but the Steelers gained 170 yards in the fourth quarter/garbage time.

Through three quarters the Jets not only led 20-3 on the scoreboard but they also out gained the Steelers 260 to 192 in total yards and of course the Jets won the turnover battle causing four turnovers, two picks and two fumbles, while giving up zero turnovers. Being on the negative side of the turnover battle has been the Jets biggest problem all season long, now you see the importance of winning the turnover battle as the Jets surprised everyone by dousing cold water on the previously scorching hot Roethlisberger and finally getting their second win of the season.

It was a great and much needed win for gang green and while this one win obviously doesn’t change the fact that this season has been a complete disappointment it should still give fans some enjoyment in the short-term. Now let’s give out some game balls.

Jaiquawn Jarrett - Jarrett was by far the star of the game yesterday. Starting in place of rookie Calvin Pryor (who was reportedly benched for being late to meetings numerous times) Jarrett took full advantage of the opportunity and guaranteed himself more playing time going forward.

Jarrett had two interceptions, a fumble recovery, two quarterback hurries, one sack, and 10 combined tackles (seven solo tackles and three assists). That’s a hell of a performance and his play was as big a reason as any that the Jets were able to check Roethlisberger in check and pull out the victory.

Marcus Williams - Williams, an undrafted free agent from North Dakota State, was cut from the Houston Texans before signing to the Jets practice squad on September 25. Because of the injuries and overall poor play from the secondary Williams got the start last week against the Kansas City Chiefs and played really well, this week he improved on that performance as he did an excellent job in coverage against the high powered Steelers passing game.

Williams had four tackles and two passes defended, one of them a great play to breakup a touchdown pass at the goal line and knock the ball in the air for Jarrett to intercept. Williams had coverage on rookie receiver Martavis Bryant and jumped the inside to knock the ball in the air and Jarrett made an outstanding diving catch to secure the interception.

Williams has certainly earned the chance to remain a starting outside corner for the rest of the season and if he continues to play like he has the last two weeks the Jets might have found a gem from the NFL trash heap.

The defensive line - After the defensive line had their worst performance of the season last week in Kansas City they bounced back with a vengeance yesterday as they bottled up star running back Le’Veon Bell, holding him to 36 yards on 11 carries and the Steelers as a whole to 36 yards on 17 carries, and constantly pressured Roethlisberger. They only sacked Roethlisberger twice, because he’s still a truck of a man who is insanely difficult to bring down, but they racked up seven quarterback hits and seven tackles for a loss.

Jarrett and Williams played great on the back end but it was the pressure from the front seven, and everyone got in on the action, that caused Roethlisberger to make mistakes.

Mike Vick - Vick had his second solid game in a row, his second game as a starter, and while he didn’t put up eye-popping numbers he was very efficient and most importantly he avoided turnovers even if he needed some luck to do so.

Vick finished 10 of 18 for only 132 yards, two touchdowns and eight carries for 39 yards. Of those 132 yards 67 of them came on a gorgeous deep touchdown pass to T.J. Graham. There’s a lot of talk about where the Jets would be if they started Vick earlier in the season and while it still seems unlikely that there would be a huge difference in record it’s impossible to still believe that the change shouldn’t have been made sooner.

When Vick was asked if he believes this team would have a better record if he had been the starter earlier he first recognized the trap the reporter was setting for him specifically saying he didn’t want it to sound like he was taking a shot at Geno Smith or complaining before saying of course he thinks that but only because that’s how an NFL player has to think. He has confidence in himself and he wasn’t going to say ‘no, we still would have lost all those game.’ Vick however did say it’s important to note that Percy Harvin just got here and he’s an absolute difference maker that opens things up for everyone else so it’s not exactly fair to judge the two quarterbacks without mentioning that fact.

T.J. Graham - Graham only had one catch but it was a great one. a 67 yard touchdown pass to give the Jets a 10-0 lead and light a fire under the defense and the Jet fans in the crowd. Graham also had a big fumble recovery on a muffed punt that kept the momentum in the Jets favor.

Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg - Both coaches have received a ton of criticism this year, and rightfully so, but if you’re going to criticize when things are bad you have to give credit when it’s due and both Ryan and Mornhinweg coached a hell of a game yesterday.

Mornhinweg might have called his best game of the year, even though he once again neglected to keep feeding Chris Ivory after a great opening drive. And for as bad as Ryan’s secondary has looked all season he absolutely deserves credit for slowing down the Steelers explosive passing attack. It’s still unlikely that Ryan will be able to save his job but this type of performance was exactly what he has been searching for/expecting all season and for that he deserves credit just as he deserves blame for the failures.

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