The Jets survived a late scare when QB Mark Sanchez left with a third quarter knee injury to hold on 19-13 against the Bills in Toronto. The win moves Gang Green to 6-6 and into playoff contention, with 1-10 Tampa Bay and the banged up 6-5 Falcons up next. Any hopes of a playoff run will be dampened though, if Sanchez is out for any extended time.
The Jets took control late in the second quarter. Down 10-9, Braylon Edwards (3-45yds 1TD) hauled in a tough 13 yard throw in traffic and stretched over the goal line with 2:58 left in the half. The play was ruled down at the one but head coach Rex Ryan challenged it and the call was overturned. 16-10 Jets. This made up for a key drop by the former Cleveland Brown, wide open, on a long throw from Sanchez in the first quarter.
Still up 16-10 in the third, Sanchez then hurt his knee on a third down dive for a first down. He had worked with Yankees manager Joe Girardi this past week on sliding, after aggravating the knee on a scramble last week in the 17-6 win against Carolina. The play however called for an aggressive attempt in order for the Jets to keep possession, not a slide. QB Kellen Clemens took over the rest of the way, and was shaky at best. The career backup fumbled a snap and got stripped on a third down roll out inside the Jets twenty. Luckily the Jets recovered. Clemens did however make a key third down throw to the outside in the middle of the fourth quarter to WR Jerricho Cotchery. The completion led to K Jay Feely’s third FG of the game, a 37 yarder to put the Jets up 19-10 with 7:00 left.
Bills K Rob Lindell answered with a 32 yarder to cut the Jet lead to 19-13 with just under 5:00 left. The Jets then went three and out, leaving the season in the hands of the defense. Prior to Thursday night, the defense had twice given up game winning scores on the final drive in 2009. In Toronto, the D answered the call. DE Sean Ellis, who was active all night, put the Bills in a quick hole on their final drive with a key first down sack. On second down, the Bills went for it all down the right sideline, but CB Darrelle Revis, who held hot WR Terrell Owens to just 31 yards, intercepted the Ryan Fitzpatrick bomb to put the game away. Revis has now shut down star wideouts Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Randy Moss twice, Steve Smith, and now Owens twice. LB David Harris also had a stellar game with 11 tackles and a forced fumble that led to points.
Thomas Jones who finished with 109 yards on 25 carries, iced it on the ensuing drive with a 25 yard run with just over 2:00 to go. The Jets torched the league’s 32nd ranked rushing defense with a combo of Jones and rookie Shonn Greene (11-59yds).
The win allows the Jets the right to believe again; To rally around the truth that they are back in the playoff hunt. Jacksonville is 6-5 and the club that Gang Green is chasing for the sixth and final spot. The big key over the next ten days, will be whether Sanchez can respond from the second straight knee injury in two games. During the post game press conference, Sanchez admitted that “in the heat of the moment I was just trying to advance the chains.” The team will conduct more tests on Sanchez’s right knee over the coming days. As of Friday morning they are calling it a mild knee sprain. If the Sanchise is hurt, really hurt, the Jets may be in trouble. The latest Jet drama comes while they escape dire straits with two straight solid wins in five days.
A LOOK BACK ON THE THREE KEYS TO BUFFALO:
Darelle Revis vs Terrell Owens: Revis island owned TO. 31 yards was all Owens could muster up. Three deep throws to Owens, led to two incompletions and a game ending pick for the leagues top corner.
Thomas Jones vs Bills Defense: We said Jones needed 100 yds and a TD in order for the Jets to win. He didn’t get the TD but went over 100 which meant the Jets were running downhill in the second half.
Unsung hero?: We asked for someone outside of the usual suspects to step up. Shonn Greene, Brad Smith, perhaps Danny Woodhead. Greene had 59 yards, Smith made some nice plays, Woodhead tripped on a screen and failed to look up on an early throw to him. Sean Ellis was the difference maker. Getting pressure all night in a game where the Jets had to have pressure so speedy Lee Evans would not have the time to expose CB Lito Shephard downfield. Shephard also played great , jumping short routes all night , almost coming up with some big picks.
follow TJ Rosenthal on [email protected] thejetreport