The Jets took the field yesterday in Houston on Sunday ready to prove to naysayers, that they had a top notch defense, a rookie Quarterback who could handle himself in adverse situations and a receiving corps that could help move the chains. Mission accomplished. The Rex Ryan era was ushered in with rave reviews, as Gang Green played a magnificent complete game that they controlled emotionally from start to finish. Bart Scott punishing lick on Texans QB Matt Schaub on the game’s first play from scrimmage set the tone for what was to come all day. A physical complex attack scheme led by Scott , LB David Harris, and NG Kris Jenkins that hit the Texans hard and stopped them behind the line of scrimmage more than I can remember a Jet defense doing.
The Jets led 3-0 after a 24 yard first quarter Jay Feely field goal. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer gave rookie Mark Sanchez modest plays early to allow him to gain a solid footing yet showed off the USC star’s versatility by allowing him to roll out of the pocket in both directions. This keeping the Texan defense and star Mario Williams off balance from the onset. In the second, after a Steve Slaton fumble deep in Jet territory thwarted perhaps the Texnas best and only drive of the day, Sanchez struck. Moving them to the Texan 30, he found Chansi Stuckey all alone as a result of a failed Texans blitz, for a 10-0 lead.
The only danger came when Sanchez threw an ill advised interception while nursing a 17-0 lead with 12 minutes to go in the fourth. Ryan was quoted today as saying that looking back on it , it should’ve been “ground and pound.” Sanchez and the Jets did not perpetuate a typical JEts trait of the past and wilt though. In fact, they came out aggressively and when Dustin Keller (94 yards) caught a 40 yard pass after lining up as a WR in single coverage against formr Jet Nick Ferguson, a win was on it’s way. The deal sealed when Thomas Jones broke free for a 30 yard TD knock out punch.
The Jets SHOULD feel good. They entered the building of a team many project as a playoff contender and beat them physically and mentally. Their rookie QB showed resiliency and a sense of calm after the int. Their coach made true on a promise that the Jet defense would be an attacking one. Jenkins controlled the line of scrimmage all day. Harris and Scott cleaned the rest up. The maligned receiving corps who many feel is without a true number one threat, answered the bell. They were led by dependable Jerricho Cotchery (6-90yds) the speedy Chansi Stucky (4-64yds) and emerging star TE Dustin Keller (4-94yds). RB Leon Washington (15-60yds) and Thomas Jones (20-107 yds) will continue to be the primary focus of an offense that will try and move it on the ground while shortened field provided by a stifling defense.
Next week, the Jets take on hated rivals the New England Patriots in the home opener. Rex Ryan entered Jet nation in March, by saying that he didn’t come here to kiss Bill Belicheck’s rings. We already knew that in week 2 the pressure on rookie Sanchez would come from one of the NFL’s masterminds. After Sunday, we also now know that the heat will be on Tom Brady as well: Perhaps for the first time since the Jets after Mo Lewis knocked out Drew Bledsoe back in 2001 in Foxboro. Leaving Belicheck with no choice but to go his unknown backup, Brady. First place is already at stake in what is shaping up to be a big game in September.
Jet notes: A review of the 3 keys to the Texan game.
Sanchez vs Texan defense. Sanchez threw for 1TD 1 int, 256 yds and answered the call often on third down with crisp tight accurate throws. Mario Williams ran Sanchez down but didn’t make any game changing plays.
Slaton vs Jets front 8. Slaton was held to 17 yards and was stopped behind the line on more than one ocassion forcing Houston into second and third and long. Chris Brown looked better for the Texans. Enough said.
Darrel Revis vs Andre Johnson. Johnson was held to 4 catches and 35 yards. He di not have one deep ball thrown to him bacuae of the Jets pressure on Schaub. Domination. Double teams helped Revis but in all, a major playmaker was held to a whisper.