Sundays 26-3 win over the 1-11 Tampa Bay Bucaneers will not go down as a classic game set to NFL Films music and dramatic narration.It was a game though that the once 4-6 Jets HAD to win in order to stay relevant in the AFC East playoff race. Nowat 7-6 and winners of three straight, the Jets are tied with the Jaguars, Dolphins and Ravens for the final spot and remain a game back of the AFC East leading Pats. Kellen Clemens was tepid at best while taking over for the injured Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
yet succeeded in not turning the ball over on Sunday. For a Jet team that came into the game ranked first in the NFL
in rushing going against the leagues 31st rushing defense, ball protection was the key to the game plan. Plain and simple.
The Jets took control literally on the first play from scrimmage when LB David Harris picked off Bucs QB Josh Freeman.
The INT led to a Jay Feely 24 yard FG. At 3-0 the Jets never looked back. Feely who is from Tampa, continued his solid season, nailing four first half field goals.RB Thomas Jones (24-99yds) added a 33 yard run in the first half as the Jets led convincingly 19-0 at the break. The Bucs were awfuloffensively all day. They didn’t get a first down until the second half and were 0-14 on the day in third down conversions. Freeman (93 yds passing 3 ints), like Clemens, was overthrowing open targets all over the field. RB Cadillac Williams who was nursing a back injury coming into the game was held to just 14 yards. Darelle Revis had another interception, his third straight game with a pick. Revis kept Anotnio Bryant the Bucs top receiver, invisible. Bryant managed just 22 yardson the day.
Jones scored his second TD at 9:07 of the 4th quarter to put the game away at 26-3. Rookie RB Shonn Greene added 41 yards on just six carries but again fumbledand needs to secure the rock if he wants to get more touches down the stretch. Clemens (12-23-111yards), was not only aiming to help keep the Jets alive in 2009, but was showcasing himself for the Jets and the rest of the league league for the 2010 campaign. His performance was spotty but in the end effective. Too many makeable throws were missed that would have been exposed had an opposing team with a functioning offense been on the field that day. However, it’s hard to get on a guy who filled in and didn’t throw it up for grabs. Jets head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer’s gameplan was more conservative than anything the GOP could ever come up, with and rightfully so. With the Sanchise at home, having not made the trip, this game was going to be about Ground and Pound, with the Jets number one rushing attack in football.
The Atlanta Falcons are next as the Jets look to cap off a four game tear before taking on the 13-0 Colts who invade Jacksonville Thursday . Peyton Manning and company can help plow open a playoff lane for the Jets by beating the Jags. The Falcons and 13-0 Saints were tied late yesterday before Atlanta fell by a field goal. This with backup QB Chris Redman keeping the passing game at a high level and Jerious Norwood moving the chains at RB for the injured star Michael Turner. The Falcons are not the Bucs. They also have big threats in WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez in the passing game. This team can score and create some plays on Defense. For the Jets now, the BIG trap game is over. Unlike many Jet trap games of the past, the Jets didn’t fall into the trap. Now Gang Green needs Sanchez back, the defense to stay hot, and a little help from their friends. The schedule is about to get tougher. The winnable games were won and the result is, the Jets have crept back into the playoff conversation. Not bad for a team that was left for dead on the side of the road when Jags RB Maurice Jones Drew took a knee on the goal line a month ago.
A LOOK BACK ON THE THREE KEYS:
CLEMENS DO YOUR JOB: We asked for 150 yards no stupid ints. We got 111 yards, missed throws by Clem but not only no stupid ints, none at all. Clemens did his job. He helped the Jets fly back with a win. Nice work Kellen.
KEEP WILLIAMS AND BRYANT MODEST: The Bucs two main threats on offense. Williams had 14 yards, Bryant had 22. Revis was on him what did you expect?
EDWARDS CATCH THE BALL: We envisioned the need to move the chains on third down. The throws were going to be few and far between. We feared a key drop in a low scoring game
and who else to fear that with, but Braylon Edwards who has been known to drop the easy ones. It wasn’t close though. No throw by Clemens was THAT imminent all day. Yet Edwards was 3-37 Sunday and DID hang on to the ball. Hopefully that’s one to build on from one of the guys brought in here to be a difference maker.
follow TJ Rosenthal on twitter @ the Jetreport