Yesterday the New York Jets proved that football is not always won in the trenches

The Jets suffered a heartbreaking loss yesterday while also destroying the old adage that 'football is won in the trenches'

You like football, right? Of course you do and since you like football you are also aware of the most used cliches. My favorite cliche in life is cliches are cliches for a reason, they're usually true but yesterday the Jets proved one of the oldest and most used cliches in sports is not actually always true.

As a football fan you've heard the phrase, football is won in the trenches, countless times. So much so that you probably don't even notice when it's being said anymore and usually that phrase/cliche is about as accurate as any other rule of life, so leave it to the Jets to prove to be the exception to the rule.

Yesterday the Jets sacked Andy Dalton seven times (losing 42 yards total on the sacks) and only allowed the Bengals to run for 57 yards on 19 carries (an average of three yards a carry), while Ryan Fitzpatrick was only sacked once (only losing one yard) and the Jets ran the ball 30 times for 152 yards (5.1 yards per carry). If football was always won in the trenches, and only the trenches, then the Jets would have won yesterday's game with ease, but these are the Jets who tend to impress the most in how it is that they find ways to lose games.

Matt Forte ran for 96 yards on 22 carries (4.4 yards a carry) and added five receptions for another 59 yards and Bilal Powell ran for 41 yards on four carries (10.3 yards per carry) while on the other side of the ball Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon spent damn near the entire game in the Bengals backfield. Williams had two and a half sacks, and several more QB pressures/hits, McLendon had two sacks along with a few stops for a loss on running plays, Muhammad Wilkerson got a sack and a half and Lorenzo Mauldin also added a sack to the total. And all of that meant absolutely nothing in the end as the Bengals offense adjusted to a quick/short passing attack to negate the pass rush and surgically pick apart the Jets secondary.

And even though the Jets were able to run all over the Bengals defense their drives kept stalling simply because they weren't able to settle into a sustainable rhythm in the passing game or fully capitalize on all of their red zone opportunities. Forte proved what a huge addition he will be to this offense, Quincy Enunwa showed how dangerous he can be and with defenses having to pay so much attention to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the outside and worry about the backs catching the ball out of the backfield those plays will continue to be there for Enunwa but it's up to Chan Gailey to dial the right plays up at the right time and for Fitzpatrick to execute them properly. 

All the success on the ground in the world won't mean a thing if drives keep stalling because of inconsistencies in the passing game and seven sacks won't be nearly enough to stop a talented offense if the secondary is going to be constantly giving up plays of 50 yards or more. The good news is that typically football really is won in the trenches and the Jets performance in the trenches yesterday bodes well for future games, but leave it to the Jets to prove one of the oldest axioms in sports isn't an absolute.


Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (


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