Jets’ march to 8-8 continues

Even when the Jets were up 13-7 at halftime, it was hard to believe they’d pull out yesterday’s win over the Rams, given the way their offense and special teams were going. But though the game left us with plenty still worth worrying about, funny things happen when a team holds on to the ball after snaps, during sacks, on runs, and when receiving passes. And the Jets proved too much for Brian Schottenheimer’s offense yet again.

Tim Tebow’s lone highlight came on the most predictable fake punt since that one Genesis game where fake punts were by far the best offensive play (does anyone remember what game that was? When the announcer would say, “It’s second down… and I can’t believe it!” even though you faked a punt nearly every play?). But let’s not diminish the value that fake punt added to the fake fake punt they pulled off later, when Tebow deked like he was taking the snap again but it went to the punter who punted it away on an otherwise normal punt. For all we know, that netted the Jets, like, three extra yards.

Mark Sanchez benefited from improved ball security and a defense that kept the Jets ahead, and enjoys a week not looking like the worst quarterback in the NFL. My best guess is that the Sanchize is in truth way better than most Jets fans seem to think he is and still way worse than the Jets seem to think he is, but there’s really no perfect way to isolate individual performances in football and they all exist in small sample sizes anyway.

About that, and for what it’s worth: Sunday’s was the Jets’ 10th game, and their fifth in which they rushed for over 100 yards. Every time the Jets have gained over 100 yards on the ground, Sanchez has completed more than half of his passes. In those five games, he has a 63.1-percent completion rating.

Sanchez has completed less than half his passes in every game in which the Jets have rushed for under 100 yards. In those five games, he has a 43.5-percent completion rating.

There’s not really an obvious to conclusion to draw from that, as there’s a lot of chicken-and-eggery involved. Plus 100 yards is a pretty arbitrary endpoint, not some magical barometer for effective running. It could be that in some of the better offensive performances, the Jets were able to move the ball on the ground because Sanchez was throwing the ball well. In some games — the debacle in Houston stands out — the Jets’ line appeared so thoroughly manhandled by the opponents’ defensive front to render both facets of the offense hapless. But it does seem — and I figure this is true for every team and every quarterback — that the Jets have an easier time passing the ball when they can run the ball and vice versa. Not really rocket science, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re trying to identify specific culprits.

Look at how happy they are now:

You know they’re going to beat the Patriots, right? That’s totally happening. Then they’ll beat the struggling Cardinals too, and just when we’re all sucked back in they’ll lose to the Jaguars and Titans to crush our spirits, then beat the Chargers and Bills in loving tribute to Herm Edwards. Don’t come at me with facts. This is well-researched stuff.

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