Jets best Jaguars 32-3: Post-game Breakdown

It’s not often Jets fans get to watch their team crush their opponents, but they did this week as New York buried the Jacksonville Jaguars 32-3.

In a game the Jets defense dominated, cornerback Antonio Cromartie stood out with two interceptions and long runbacks. Last week, he took some abuse for giving up two touchdowns to two good Dallas receivers, but was impressive this week, starting the game off with a 40 yard kickoff return.

It was the sort of game where you felt sorry for Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown by the time they pulled him for rookie Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter. In addition to the two interceptions by Cromartie, McCown was picked off by safety Eric Smith (who only caught one of the three possible picks he got his hands on) and then by linebacker Josh Mauga. Rookie defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson sacked McCown for a safety, and by the time Jacksonville tried to stop the bleeding, McCown had completed only 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards. He posted a 1.8 QB rating. Dreadful.

[caption id="attachment_156" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Josh Mauga and Darrelle Revis tackle Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jets defense dominated Sunday's game. photo by William Perlman/The Star-Ledger"][/caption]

Tight end Dustin Keller was a stand out on the offensive end. Star wide receiver Santonio Holmes caught Mark Sanchez’s touchdown pass with a killer triple move to end the Jets 16-games-without-a-first-quarter-TD streak, but it was Keller who had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.  He’s good at running routes and rarely has butterfingers. He brings to mind Anthony Becht, the last Jets tight end who caught passes on a regular basis. Keller has been with the Jets his entire career, as he was drafted by the Jets in 2008.

[caption id="attachment_155" align="alignright" width="190" caption="Santonio Holmes goes up for the TD pass in the first quarter. photo from William Perlman/The Star-Ledger"][/caption]

Again, though, the offensive line was weak. Wayne Hunter committed two penalties that put the Jets in first and long situations, and allowed Jacksonville defenders to get to Sanchez a few times. The O-line was one of the strengths the Jets had last season. If they don’t want Sanchez to get injured getting sacked, the offensive line is going to have to step up.

The offensive line is also affecting the running game. Jets fans should be getting seriously nervous about the running game. Shonn Greene had only 49 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown against the Jaguars. Greene is supposed to be the main man now. LaDainian Tomlinson is supposed to be taking it easy, so he can be fresh for later in the season and possibly the playoffs. Part of this is Greene, who always seems to be running into piles of people and rarely finding holes to get through.  The other part is that the offensive line isn’t creating many holes. Against the Jaguars this is okay, but against tougher teams, running the ball is going to be an important part of the game.

There’s more bad news on the offensive line front – center Nick Mangold is out 2-3 weeks with a high ankle sprain. The injury occurred in the first quarter when Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith fell on his leg. Mangold has started every game for the Jets since he was drafted in 2006 (that’s 82 consecutive games) and is one of the best centers in the NFL. This most likely means rookie Colin Baxter will fill in. He’s not bad, but at this point he isn’t as good as Mangold. Head coach Rex Ryan said that left guard Matt Slauson will serve as backup center while Baxter starts.

Mark Sanchez slammed his hand on another player’s helmet following through on a pass in the fourth quarter. He sat the rest of the game while Mark Brunell took some snaps, but he didn’t have any tests and Rex Ryan seems unconcerned, calling it “a bruise or something.”

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