49ers 24. Jets 14. So the Jets, who just two weeks ago were 8-3 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East, now find themselves at 8-5 and tied for first place with the Dolphins and Patriots. My how things have changed over the past two weeks. All those thoughts of a subway Super Bowl are long gone. And if the Jets keep playing the way they have been over the past two weeks, then their playoff hopes may be long gone as well.
In my blog last week I said there were four things the Jets had to do to win this game: The keys for Gang Green this week is A) tighten up the secondary; B) get Leon Washington more touches; C) get the ball to your top wide receivers; and D) pressure the QB. So lets break down what the did and did not do in regards to my list.
A) Tighten up the secondary; This is something that they definitely did not do on Sunday. This has been the Jets achilles heal all season and it was their downfall on Sunday as well. Shaun Hill, starting his 6th game this season, torched the Jets secondary for 285 yards and two touchdowns. He also managed to complete 28 of his passes on 39 attempts. Not only that, he completed passes to 10 different receivers. That stat alone shows that the Jets have absolutely no pass defense. Isaac Bruce led the 49ers with 6 receptions for 70 yards on the day. New York is currently ranked 31st in the league in pass defense. They seem to make every young inexperienced quarterback look like Dan Marino. That is something that will either leave them out of the playoffs or get them knocked out in their first game.
Jumping ahead to D) Pressure the QB; This is yet another thing the Jets managed not to do on Sunday. The run defense rebounded nicely from last week's game against the Broncos as I expected they would. They were able to hold San Francisco's bruising back Frank Gore to just 52 yards rushing, while allowing a total of 100 yards to 4 different players. The defensive line is too good to have two bad weeks in a row. They again showed why they are one of the best in the NFL at stopping the run. As for the quarterback pressure, there was not all that much. They were only able to sack Hill twice while forcing him to throw one interception. Otherwise, Hill was able to hang in the pocket to make his 28 completions. During the Jets five game winning streak, which seems like ages ago, they were able to keep constant pressure on the quarterback, forcing to make bad decisions. Not so much over the past two games. When they have the pressure up front it allows the secondary to capitalize on mistakes. On the flip side, when there is no pressure, it exposes the secondary as the worst unit the Jets have.
B) Get Leon Washington more touches; While he was able to have six receptions for 31 yards, the Jets managed to get him one carry form the backfield. That's right; you read it correctly, ONE. Leon Washington always seems to make plays when he has the ball and that is hard to do when he gets only one carry on the day. Thomas Jones, who had been on fire lately, was only able to get 10 carries himself for a grand total of 56 yards. This was another reason why the Jets lost this game. Not establishing a running game against a poor run defense. During the winning streak, the Jets were able to control the game clock by running the ball. Yesterday, the 49ers controlled the ball for nearly double what the Jets were able to, 39:49 to 20:11. Jones, who still leads the AFC in rushing, needs to get at least 20 carries per game. When he rushes for 100 yards, the Jets usually manage to win the game. For a team that had been in the top 10 in rushing, to only get 11 carries is a big problem. This needs to be addressed next week in a big way.
C) Get the ball to your top Wide Receivers; Another thing the Jets did not do on Sunday. Laveranues Coles, who is your number one receiver, was able to grab one catch on the afternoon for a grand total of 5 yards. That followed up the performance of two catches for two yards last week. The 49ers were without their top defensive back Nate Clements, were still able to shut down the Jets passing game. Brett Favre was limited to 137 passing yards and for the second straight week he did not throw a touchdown, although he did get himself a rushing touchdown. On the day, Favre was 20-31 with one interception. Chansi Stuckey led the team with 43 yards receiving on Sunday, while Coles, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller were held to 4 catches for a total of 29 yards. Not quite the numbers you want from your top three targets in your passing game.
The Jets played a horrible game on both sides of the ball on Sunday. The two stats the jump out at you were the Jets getting killed on the time of possession and the fact that they were 1-10 on third down, while the 49ers were 8-15. The Jets are a very talented team and the good news is that they are still tied for first place in the AFC East. But when they can not run the ball and control the clock, they are just not the same team. And that's when a lot of their weaknesses are exposed. They have only 3 games remaining to try to right the ship and not have this season go down the drain. What was looking like something special only two weeks ago is heading in a downward spiral and needs to be fixed starting on Sunday against the Bills.