Report Card: Jets vs Chargers




Passing Offense:
Mark Sanchez had a revelation; six foot five wide out Plaxico Burress is a deadly red zone target. Burress entered New York’s contest with San Diego having only two touchdowns to his credit, yet reeled in three scores on Sunday to lift the Jets to victory. Oddly enough, all three of Burress’ touchdowns were scored on third-and-goal plays, while his fourth quarter score put the Jets ahead to stay. Sanchez’s one hiccup occurred in the opening quarter as he aimed for Burress in the end zone only to underthrow the intended wide out with Chargers safety Eric Weddle intercepting the pass. Sanchez’s protection was solid as the signal caller had adequate time in the pocket and while his final stat-line was not exceptional; he engineered three second half scoring drives to lead the Jets to a rousing comeback win.
Grade: B+

Rushing Offense:
This was supposed to be LaDanian Tomlinson’s game, as the Canton-bound tailback was awarded the ceremonial start facing his former team. Unfortunately for Tomlinson he was forced out of action with the stomach flu, while running back Shonn Greene filled in valiantly and stole the show. Greene led all ball carriers with 112 yards on 20 carries; singlehandedly out-rushing San Diego’s dynamic duo of Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert. On a day when Greene achieved season highs in yards (112), yards-per carry average (5.6), along with team’s long run (24) the Jets regained their battering-ram running style and romped San Diego on the ground
Grade: A

Passing Defense:
With a 21-10 halftime lead, the Chargers looked primed to land a knockout blow; the problem was cornerback Darrelle Revis had other plans in mind. #24’s fourth quarter interception turned the tide for New York as San Diego began to unravel and the Jets defense regained its swagger. Kyle Wilson recorded his first career interception in the late stages of the final quarter denying Rivers yet another chance to put the Chargers in front.
Grade: A


Rushing Defense:
For the first time since Week 2 against Jacksonville, New York held its opponent under 100 yards rushing. Matthews and Tolbert were held in check as the Jets returned to their run-stuffing ways. Clearly Rex Ryan’s message rang true as he urged his squad to win the rushing battling following three consecutive defeats in which they were badly outgained on the ground.
Grade: B+


Special Teams:
Sunday was a quiet day for Mike Westhoff and his explosive special teams unit as returners Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley were held without any jaw-dropping runbacks. San Diego keyed on McKnight blasting three kickoffs for touchbacks; eliminating any chance of a return. Punter T.J. Conley has seen better days as his 36.7 kicking average was far and away his worst performance of the season. Nick Folk was true on his two field goals (27,33) helping the Jets squeak out a 27-21 win.
Grade: C


Coaching:
Rex Ryan and the coaching staff made the necessary second half adjustments to overcome an 11 point deficit; all the while flustering quarterback Phillip Rivers. Brian Schottenheimer utilize the play action passing game to Sanchez’s advantage; allowing the Jets to take the training wheels off their offense.
Grade: B+
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Cheers and Jeers: Jets Bolt Past Chargers 27-21



CHEER:

Plaxico Burress enjoyed a breakout performance snagging three touchdowns to the delight of the capacity MetLife Stadium crowd. Burress, who was overtly frustrated and discontent with his role in the Jets offense the past few weeks, emerged as the vital red zone threat New York envisioned when they signed him in the offseason. #17 finished the afternoon with four receptions for a mere 25 yards, yet his three scoring grabs proved to be the difference in Gang Green’s 27-21 triumph over San Diego.

Shonn Greene took 20 bruising carries for 112 yards in easily his best effort of the 2011 campaign. New York’s offensive front was tenacious in the trenches paving the way for a season high 162 rushing yards. LaDanian Tomlinson got the nod as the starting tailback in light of facing his former squad, but was forced to leave the game in the second half with the stomach flu. It was San Diego coach Norv Turner who was sick to his stomach at the conclusion of Sunday’s game as his Chargers failed to hold an 11 point lead late in the third quarter as New York outscored San Diego 17-0 in the second half of play.

JEER:

Sunday’s game was off to a catastrophic start for Gang Green as tight end Dustin Keller was stripped on the fourth play of the opening drive by Donald Butler who returned the fumble 37 yards for the score. New York could not have asked for a more disastrous beginning, particularly for an offense that produced four three-and-out possessions to start the past two games. Sanchez was able to right the ship as he steered New York on an eight play 60 yard field goal scoring drive on the offense’s next possession. The Jets spotted San Diego a seven spot, but conjured up some second half magic to hand the Chargers their second loss of the season.

BIG STAT:

For the first time since September 9th, 2007, Plaxico Burress recorded three receiving touchdowns in a game.

EXTRA BIG STAT:

LaDanian Tomlinson became the fourth running back in NFL history with 600 catches before leaving in the second half due to illness.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

For the second time in as many weeks Darrelle Revis made the decisive play of the game for the New York Jets. Facing a third-and-five at New York’s 25 yard-line and leading 21-17, Phillip Rivers flung a pass in the direction of wide out Vincent Jackson with the ball deflecting off the receivers pads and into the grasp of Revis. #24 returned the interception 64 yards, down to San Diego’s 19 yard-line; effectively halting the Charger’s drive and shifting the momentum in favor of Gang Green.

HEAR HEAR:

“I want to tip my hat to our fans,” acknowledged Rex Ryan. “I know we could barely communicate to each other, so obviously it had to be super hard for the Chargers to communicate. It was brutal. We were yelling and trying to get certain calls in, and it was rough. We talk about home field advantage, and that was probably the difference in the game.”

FINAL THOUGHT:

As the war of words between New York’s head man Rex Ryan and San Diego’s Norv Turner heated up during the week; the Jets backed up their mouthy coach earning a comeback win in dramatic fashion. A game that featured a combined 21 penalties for a whopping 165 yards was anything but a Rex Ryan coaching clinic, but a critical win for Gang Green nonetheless.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Miami Nice



Cheer:

Darrelle Revis showed Monday Night why he is hands down the best cornerback on the planet. In a week when Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall predicted he would win a shoving match with #24 and his secondary mate Antonio Cromartie; Revis’ 100 yard interception return for a touchdown lifted the Jets to a decisive win. Despite Marshall’s gaudy stat line: six receptions for 109 yards; the troubled wide out dropped his fair share of catchable passes including a mental error when he stepped out of bounds with a clear path to the end zone during his third quarter 39 yard grab; flinging the ball into the stands in frustration. Revis, not Marshall would be the one to find paydirt as Gang Green held the Dolphins anemic offense to just six points.

Jeer:

Another sluggish start for New York as it took until the 4:00 minute mark of the second quarter for Gang Green to produce a first down. Opposing Miami’s 31st ranked overall defense, the Jets struggled to move the ball both on the ground and through the air. In each of the past three games (Baltimore, New England, Miami) New York has failed to produce a first down on the team’s first four offensive possessions, a mind-numbing statistic for a Super Bowl hopeful squad. The Jets offense has looked handcuffed by self inflicted miscues and shoddy play calling. Speaking of cuffs, Plaxico Burress was a non-factor showing dismay on the sidelines. New York needs to uncover some answers to its offensive shortcomings as they play host to the San Diego Chargers and their second ranked pass defense this Sunday.

In Case You Missed It:

Jets Right tackle Wayne Hunter has been a lightning rod of negativity with the struggles of Gang Green’s offensive line this year. Hunter was superb on Monday Night as he stymied Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who owns three of Miami’s twelve sacks on the season. Wake was held without a sack or quarterback hit as Hunter bounced back from criticism and elevated his play in front of a national television audience.
Final Thought:

New York’s three game skid is history as the Jets earned an ugly win on Monday Night. No brownie points for this game, as the Jets offensive woes continued, begging the question how can the Jets overcome their first half offensive futility?
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets at Patriots: Report Card




Passing Offense:
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, New England’s secondary ranked dead last in the NFL surrendering nearly 390 passing yards per contest. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense managed merely 169 yards thr
ough the air as Gang Green would convert only 3 of 11 third down attempts; finishing the game with seven three and out offensive possessions. This performance was hardly anything to write home about.
Grade: C

Rushing Offense:
With center Nick Mangold back in the lineup, tailback Shonn Greene finally found his way out of the Jets backfield and past the first down yard marker. Greene hit the ground running busting through for 83 yards on 21 attempts, highlighted by his three yard touchdown rumble in the second quarter. The Jets atoned for back-to-back subpar rushing outputs against Oakland and Baltimore; finding daylight against New England’s run defense.
Grade: B+

Passing Defense:
Tom Brady was terrific as usual completing 24 of his 33 passes for 321 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Jets secondary committed untimely penalties while blown coverage assignments came back to haunt them. Brady found Wes Welker on a 73 yard catch and run as New York’s safety Eric Smith bit on the run fake and two short plays later he connected with Deion Branch on a three yard scoring grab as cornerback Antonio Cromartie lost sight of the receiver. Gang Green made a few mistakes in their coverage scheme and Brady made them pay dearly on Sunday.
Grade: B-

Rushing Defense:
Patriots halfback BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a field day against New York’s front seven as he broke both New York’s run containment and the hearts of Jets fans. With the Jets fully geared up for an aerial onslaught from quarterback Tom Brady and his deep and talented pool of receivers; head coach Bill Belichick elected for a more balanced offensive attack. New England rushed the ball 35 times for 152 yards and two scores; as they kept New York guessing and on its heels the entire game.
Grade: D

Special Teams:
For the second consecutive week returner Joe McKnight ignited New York, providing superb starting field position. McKnight’s 88 yard return came on the heels of New England extending its lead to ten points early in the third quarter. Mike Westoff and the special teams unit continue to shift the momentum in New York's favor, yet the offense has failed to capitalize on this trend two weeks running.
Grade: A+

Coaching:
Rex Ryan ate his fill of humble pie as Bill Belichick out-schemed and out-coached Ryan on Sunday. New York’s offensive game plan was flawed as they did not test New England’s lowly secondary; instead electing to ride the running game to a third consecutive defeat. Another ill-conceived offensive game plan and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s days with the Green and White could be numbered.
Grade: C
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets vs. Patriots: Cheers and Jeers



Cheer:
With New York’s ground and pound on life support, the Jets revived their rushing game with Shonn Greene carrying the ball 21 times for 83 yards including a three yard touchdown rumble. Nick Mangold returned to the starting lineup for Gang Green after missing two games with a high ankle sprain. Mangold made an immediate impact creating running lanes for Greene and Tomlinson while keeping Mark Sanchez relatively clean in the pocket. Green showed a great burst, hitting the hole with authority and finishing runs with fervor.

Jeer:
New England’s tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis, otherwise known as “the Law Firm,”
charged the Jets defense with multiple counts of poor tackling technique and run containment. Green-Ellis finished with a career high 126 yards and two touchdowns on 26 touches. Gang Green’s defense failed to set the edge on the Patriots running plays, as the combination of Green-Ellis and rookie running back Stevan Ridley gashed the Jets on the ground Sunday.

Maybe You Missed It:
New England grabbed a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter as Tom Brady found a wide open Deion Branch in the left corner of the end zone for a three yard scoring grab. The Jets Joe McKnight answered the bell as he broke off an 88 yard kick return taking the ball inside the Patriots 20-yard-line, setting up a nine yard touchdown catch by rookie Jeremy Kerley as New England’s lead shrunk to three points.

Big Stat:
The New England Patriots have won 30 consecutive regular season games at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough. The Patriots last home loss came in November of 2006 to the New York Jets.

Hear Hear:
"I never thought I’d be here losing three straight," admitted head coach Rex Ryan. "That’s where we’re at right now. This is a resilient team. We are the only team in NFL history to overcome two three game losing streaks. We’ve been down that road before. The only way to get back to winning is you have to roll your sleeves up and keep working and hopefully the tide will turn our way."

Final Thought:
In a matchup that pitted the Patriots potent passing attack against Gang Green’s staunch pass defense, the story of the game was the Jets inability to contain New England’s ground and pound. New York’s defense was unable to get off the field, while the Jets offense started the game with four straight three down and out possessions, a recipe for disaster opposing a Tom Brady led offense and a Bill Belichick coached club. With their record dipping to 2-3 and mired in a three-game-skid, the Jets have stumbled out of the gate and will need to rally to put together a playoff push. New York will welcome the winless Miami Dolphins to MetLife Stadium next week and with both clubs desperate for a win, this Monday Night Showdown will be sure not to disappoint.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

The NFL’s Fall Classic: Jets vs. Patriots


Sunday’s Storyline:
When New York and Boston collide in October, they’re normally playing for a spot in the Fall Classic. With the Red Sox eliminated from postseason contention, the focus has shifted to the Jets Patriots matchup as it is the buzz of the Northeast. Gang Green’s last appearance at Foxboro, a 28-21 victory in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs, dealt New England’s title hopes a devastating blow; fueling the fire of an already terrific rivalry. Speaking of terrific, Tom Brady has stored that excruciating loss in his memory bank aiming to return the favor to New York on Sunday. With the Jets coming off back to back uninspiring losses to Oakland and Baltimore, many experts in the football realm see Gang Green as more of a pretender than a contender. Sunday’s Week 5 contest will go a long way in setting the record straight as to who is the team to beat in the AFC East. (My apologies to the diehard Bills fans)

Three Keys to Victory:
1.Go to the Ground Game: Give Shonn the Greene Light
New York’s ground and pound has been a s
hell of its former self; literally descending from first to worst in the league’s rankings. With Nick Mangold likely to give it a go on Sunday; the Jets have a great opportunity to trample a 18th ranked Patriots run defense that is without their leading tackler Jared Mayo who suffered an MCL sprain Week 4 against Oakland. The duo of Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson has yet to light it up on the ground this season, but as the saying goes “it’s now or never.” If New York is able to re-establish their bruising running game; this will take the onus off Mark Sanchez and open up the play action passing game which has been an effective weapon for Gang Green the past few seasons.

2. Give and Take: Win the Turnover Battle
Not surprisingly, in New York’s two losses they lost the turnover battle 6-3. The Jets defense has forced ten turnovers (six interceptions, four lost fumbles) through four games. Yet New York is even in the turnover margin as they have ten giveaways, five by way of the interception and five fumbles lost. Ball security will be paramount on Sunday, as New England’s high powered offense will make New York pay dearly for any mistakes. Sanchez should have plenty of chances to make plays against New England’s worst ranked passing defense, but it will be the throws that he doesn’t force that may be the difference. If Sanchez can avoid costly turnovers and adopt the “live to play another down” mantra, the Jets passing game can rebound from a pitiful performance at Baltimore.

3. Where’s Wes: Contain #83
Wes Welker has enjoyed an MVP caliber season early on hauling in 40 receptions for a whopping 617 yards, throw in five touchdowns including a 99 yard scoring grab to boot and there’s no question he has caught the attention of the Jets coaching staff. Containing Welker is much easier said than done, but if there is a man for the job, it’s the Jets superstar Darrelle Revis. Welker has all expenses paid trip to the desolate and lonely "Revis Island." The winner of this marquee matchup will likely have a major influence on the outcome of this game. Although Brady has a plethora of passing options at his disposal fazing Welker could very well be the difference between a Patriots laugher and a Jets win.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets at Patriots Preview Podcast

Jets at Patriots Preview Podcast


Showtime: Friday, October 7th at 4:00PM.
Join Rick Laughland, Daniel Feuerstein and special guest WEEI's very own Chris Price as they preview the New York Jets upcoming clash with the New England Patriots.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Mangold: The Jets Missing Centerpiece


It’s no coincidence that the Jets downturn in rushing has snowballed since Center Nick Mangold’s high ankle sprain forced him out of action the past two games. A vital cog in New York’s ground attack; Mangold commands the offensive line, barking out protection calls and blocking assignments to create running lanes while helping to keep quarterback Mark Sanchez clean in the pocket.

Sanchez was anything but “clean” on Sunday night as the Ravens demolished the Jets offensive front and put the Jets signal caller on his back virtually every drop back. Widely regarded as the league’s premier center, Mangold has been a pillar of strength for the Jets since he was drafted with the 29th overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft.

Mangold succeeded Kevin Mawae, a canton-bound c
enter and six-time Pro-Bowler in his own right. With expectations sky high, Mangold has quickly ascended to the league’s elite and is a sorely missed presence along the Jets line. Suffice it to say that the Jets struck gold in drafting him near the end of the first round.

In any case, the Jets are mired in a two game skid, with their toughest challenge lurking in the bowels of Gillette Stadium at Foxboro. With Mangold’s status uncertain for Sunday’s clash with the Patriots; New York’s playoff hopes may rest on the flowing golden locks of its burly center.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Four Grades: Gang Green has an Identity Crisis



PASSING OFFENSE:
Mark Sanchez was a sitting duck in the pocket, getting peppered with hits from every angle. New York’s offensive line was just that, offensive. The Jets were forced to shrink their play calling selection to one and two step drop backs and even Sanchez’s quick hit passes were returned for six points. Sunday night was an all around miserable performance leaving much to be desired.
Grade: F

RUSHING OFFENSE:
Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson could barely manage their way out of the Jets backfield. The Ravens had more carries (40) than New York had rushing yards (38). In the absence of Nick Mangold New York’s offensive front struggled to win the battle at the line of scrimmage as Gang Green’s backs were engulfed by a ravenous Baltimore defense. New York’s decline in rushing output is a disconcerting trend for a team that rode their robust ground game to two straight AFC title appearances.
Grade: F

PASSING DEFENSE:
Joe Flacco went two quarters without a completion, finished 10 for 31 for 163 yards including an interception returned for a touchdow
n, yet he still managed to outplay Mark Sanchez. Flacco looked bewildered at times, but with his Ravens building a two score advantage, Baltimore’s signal caller made the high percentage plays to lead his team to victory.
Grade: A

RUSHING DEFENSE:
The Jets limited Ray Rice to a 2.6 yard per carry average and 66 total rushing yards; a much better effort than last week’s dismantling in Oakland. Linebacker Calvin Pace forced a fumble on Ravens tailback Ricky Williams, while the Jets held Baltimore to a long run of 10 yards.
Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS:
One of the few bright spots for Gang Green, highlighted by Joe McKnight’s first quarter 107 yard kick return. McKnight’s run back set a new Jets franchise record eclipsing Brad Smith’s 106 yard return against Pittsburgh Week 15 of the 2010 season. Nick Folk connected on his only field goal attempt, a 40 yarder, making him a perfect 7 for 7 so far this season.
Grade: A-

COACHING:
Rex Ryan was misty eyed returning to the city where he spent nine years of his assistant coaching career; including earning a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 Ravens. Ryan left Baltimore Sunday night, with tears of frustration as his Jets were outmanned, outcoached and outplayed in virtually every facet of the game. It’s back to the drawing board as the guys in headsets need to help Gang Green rediscover their identity.
Grade: D
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

A Marked Man: Sanchez's Sunday Nightmare


Rex Ryan was not the only one returning to Baltimore Sunday Night. Two fumble returns, two interception returns and 107 yard kickoff return to boot marked the wildest and most mistake laden game of Week four in the NFL. New York’s patchwork offensive line was no match for Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and the rest of Baltimore’s menacing front seven. The Ravens wreaked havoc on Jets signal caller Mark Sanchez hitting him ten times, sacking him twice all the while forcing four fumbles (three lost) and one interception. With All-Pro Center Nick Mangold missing his second consecutive game with a high ankle sprain; New York was unable to counter the Ravens pass rushers, who pinned their ears back and punished Sanchez.

New York ran 19 times for 38 yards, an all-time low rushing output for a Rex Ryan coached ball club. For a Gang Green squad anointed the league’s premier “Ground and Pound Team,” Ryan’s bunch appear to have lost their offensive identity.

New York’s identity crisis could not come at a worse time. Mired in a two game losing streak, with a trip to Foxboro looming week five, the Jets need to uncover some answers and quick.

The Jets are in a state of disarray, with untimely injuries, baffling play calling and slopping execution all lending itself to a 2-2 start. Gang Green will have to put this humiliating loss in the rear view mirror as they set their sights on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, who will certainly have a few surprises in store for a troubled Jets squad .
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

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