CHEER:Rex Ryan finally pulled the trigger and benched starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. The defense did not receive any support when Sanchez was in and the Cardinals defense blanked the frustrated quarterback. Confusion and shaky play led to Sanchez throwing three interceptions. Greg McElroy came into the game and brought excitement to a dead MetLife crowd.
McElroy has not attempted all season but he made a splash to help lead the Jets to their fifth win of the season. The lone touchdown of the game sticks out as the biggest positive from the Jets side of the ball. The Jets marched the ball all the way down to the one yard line. McElroy faked the hand off to running back Shonn Greene and scrambled out of the pocket.
When McElroy received pressure from safety Adrian Peterson he tossed the ball to a wide open Jeff Cumberland for the score. The one yard pass to Cumberland was McElroy's first professional touchdown pass. This was the deciding play of the game. The Jets defense continued to play well and held on for the win.
JEER:With 1:12 left in the first half the Jets defense stopped the Cardinals offense and they had to punt. The Cardinals lined up in a punt formation but when the ball was snapped the Cardinals had different plans. Rashad Johnson took the direct snap and exploded down the side line into the Jets territory, finally getting tackled at the 34 yard line. The play was a success from the start, the Cardinals lineman were able to block off the contain men and allow Johnson to get space. Johnson did the rest of the job cruising into territory.
After that play the Cardinals were unable to put six on the board, but they did settle with a field goal for the first points of the game. This type of play is something only a team that lost seven straight games would pull. Having the ball deep in their territory with the game tied and going for it is risky to most coach. But, Coach Ken Whisenhunt decided his team needed something to get them going and this play worked out in his favor.
HEAR, HEAR:"I'm glad we won," said Mark Sanchez. "That's all we needed. We needed to win five games in a row. To do that you have to start with one. Now we just move on from here."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:This low scoring affair was about the defense, although it may be overshadowed by the quarterback situation. But, the play that stands out as a true team player move is when Greene clinched the victory for the Jets. Greene could have tip toed into the end zone towards the end of the game, but he wanted to make sure the Jets would get the victory and fell at the one yard line. The score would have only put the Jets up by one score, but Greene did the smart thing and stayed out of the end zone. The Jets were able to kill out the rest of the game clock by taking knees to clinch their fifth victory of the season.
WHAT'S NEXT:Jets fans should become familiar with McElroy under center. When McElroy entered the game there was a new found excitement that filled the MetLife stadium. The defense made rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley look bad all afternoon as he had one of his worst games on a professional level. Lindley went 10-31 through the air for 72 yards and threw an interception.
The Cardinals only had 134 yards for the game as the Jets defenders swarmed around the ball carrier all afternoon. Of course, the Jets did not play much better on the offensive side. One of the few bright spots was the ground game. Greene rushed had 24 carries for 104 yards and his backup Bilal Powell added 58 yards. Next week the Jets have the Jacksonville Jaguars who have been struggling this season sitting at 2-10. The Jaguars lost this weekend to the Buffalo Bills. Chad Henne has been filling the shoes of starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert nicely. In the game he only had 18 completions out of 41 attempts, but had 208 yards and a touchdown pass.
The running game has been non-existent since All Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew went down. The Jaguars only had 50 rushing against the Bills who have one of the worst defenses in the league. This is a perfect opportunity for the Jets to keep the rushing attack going and give McElroy some confidence. The defense needs to keep up their good play if the Jets want to leave Jacksonville with a victory because the game will most likely be low scoring.