Tag:Cassel
Posted on: November 24, 2008 12:03 am
 

Jets v. Titans: Recap (Remember the Jets)

I think it's now time to take the Jets seriously as a contender in the AFC this season.  The Jets managed to not only beat the undefeated Tennessee Titans in Tennessee, but they steamrolled them in the processby a score of 34-13.  New York now sits at 8-3 on the season and could be in a position to get a bye week for the first round of the playoffs.  Of course we are still five weeks away, but the Jets have put themselves in a very good position after Sunday's win against the Titans.

Brett Favre is showing everyone that there is still some gas left in the tank.  Favre managed the game very effectively once again.  On the day Favre was 25-32 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  I believe there were two huge moments in the game.  The first was a Chris Johnson fumble in the 3rd quarter.  At the time, the Jets were leading 13-3.  The Titans were getting a drive together when Johnson coughed up the ball.  Favre was able to put together an 8 play drive that ate up almost 5 minutes of game clock that ended with a 2 yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles in the back of the end zone in double coverage.  That gave the Jets a 20-3 lead late in the 3rd and from that point on they were in the drivers seat. 

The other key moment was the Jets last drive on the 4th quarter.  After the Titans put together a 4 play 66 yard drive late in the 4th quarter that ended in a touchdown that cut the score to 27-13, the Jets took over. Favre was able to lead the Jets offense on a 12 play 75 yard drive that ended with a 4 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington.  The key to that drive was the fact that it ate up 7:34 off the clock.  It gave the Titans the ball back with 2:09 remaining in the game trailing 34-13.  Favre was hitting open receivers all day.  His new favorite target, Dustin Keller, had his 3rd straight big game.  He hauled in 6 catches for 42 yards.  Not as big as his last two games, but did have some key catches on 3rd down.  He has become a very reliable option for Favre over the last month.  Coles had the big day for the receivers, grabbing 7 balls for 88 yards and a TD.  Jerricho Cotchery also grabbed 6 catches for 55 yards.  Brett's only mistake in the game was an interception by Cortland Finnegan in the second quarter.  Finnegan made a one handed catch with Coles all over him.  Other than that, Brett was near perfect.

The Jets running game had a huge day.  Thomas Jones, who coming into the game was the AFC's leading rusher, was able to rack up 96 yards against a very sound Tennessee run defense who was ranked 10th in the league heading into the game giving up about 95 yards per game.  Jones was able to do that on 27 carries.  He has really become the Jets workhorse over the past 2 months.  Washington also contributed with 82 yards rushing on his own.  He was able to gain that on only 8 carries.  He got most of it on a 61 yard touchdown run early in the 4th quarter in which he bolted to the end zone almost untouched.  He didn't have his usual big day on special teams that we have all come to expect, but he always seems to contribute in a big way each week.  In all the Jets ran for 192 yards against Tennessee.  New York's offensive line was great again as you can see from the rushing stats.  But they also managed to keep Favre upright for most of the game, only allowing 2 sacks.  The line has really come together over the last 6 weeks.  This has allowed the running game to improve each week as well as letting Favre have time in the pocket to be able to make big plays.

The Jets defense also had a huge day.  The defensive line put together one of it's biggest efforts of the season.  The Titans who had been rushing for an average of 133 yards per game were limited to a season low of 45 yards on the ground.  The defense, led by Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace were able to take the running game totally away from the Titans.  This meant that the game was left to Kerry Collins against a spotty Jets pass defense.  New York's secondary, which was torched by Matt Cassel for 400 yards last week, had a strong game against Tennessee.  Collins, who does not make mistakes and did not in this game, was held to 243 yards in the air for 1 touchdown.  With the running game being shut down, Collins was never able to get into a groove.  The Jets secondary, which has been having a good week followed by a bad week all season, had a good week in a big spot.  Collins was able to get the ball to nine different receivers, but none of them had more that 43 yards receiving.  Even with the Jets offense turning the ball over three times and the defense only forcing one turnover, the Jets defense still managed to step it up and dominate the Titans offense.  One key stat for the Jets was the fact that they dominated the time of possession.  They controlled the ball for over 40 minutes.  That is just straight domination. 

New York is really hitting their stride at the right time.  They have now won 5 straight games and 7 of their last 8.  Currently, they are tied with the Steelers for the second best record in the AFC at 8-3.  I know it's early to get too excited with five weeks remaining and two trips out to the west coast ahead, but this is getting exciting for Jets fans.  The rest of the league has now been put on notice.  After huge wins against the Patriots and Titans in back to back weeks, both on the road, the Jets are now a huge factor in the AFC.  This is something that has not happened in about ten years when Vinny Testaverde led the Jets to a 12-4 record and got the Jets within 30 minutes of going to the Super Bowl.

Posted on: November 20, 2008 2:15 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2008 2:56 pm
 

Jets v. Titans: Week 12 (Melee in Music City)

With the Jets still riding high after their huge win against the Patriots last week, they now head down to Tennessee to take on the undefeated Titans.  Right now the Jets sit alone on top in the AFC East, but they are well aware that if they do not show up against the Titans, they will be back in a tie for first in their division.  On paper the Jets seem to match up well with the Titans, so I do not see this game being a blow out for either team.  But it will be fun to watch, that's for sure.

One of the main keys for the Jets is for Brett Favre to keep playing smart.  He has only thrown 1 interception in the past three games.  He has been able to manage games efficiently without putting the Jets in any bad situations.  Favre has found a new favorite target the past 2 weeks to get the ball to, Dustin Keller.  The rookie tight end has finally become what the Jets thought they were getting when they took him in the first round of the 2008 draft.  Against the Rams two weeks ago, Keller had 6 receptions for 107 yards.  Last week against the Patriots he had 8 more catches for 87 yards.  With him emerging as a down field threat, defenses will have to adjust which could leave either Jerricho Cotchery or Laveranues Coles in man coverage.  And if that is the case, Favre should be able to see this and expose it. 

With every passing week, the Jets offensive line keeps improving.  Thomas Jones was able to get another 100 yard game last week, gaining 104 yards on 30 carries against New England.  He has become the Jets workhorse over the past month.  He still is the leading rusher in the AFC with 854 yards on the ground.  He also has 8 touchdowns over the past six games.  This week will be a lot tougher for Jones to have a big game.  The Titans are a very physical team and they have big Albert Haynesworth plugging up the middle of their defensive line.  Haynesworth is having an MVP type season for Tennessee with 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.  They will be tough to run against, but they do give up almost 100 yards on the ground per game.  I'm not saying the Jets will gain 100 yards on the ground, but I do think they can get close to that number if Favre can get the passing game going.

With the exception of Matt Cassel gaining 62 yards rushing last week, the Jets still have the 4th best rushing defense in the NFL.  They were able to limit four other of the Patriots running backs to a total of 63 yards on the ground.  Kris Jenkins, who is also a candidate for defensive MVP, is having a stellar season anchoring the line for the Jets.  He may not have as many stats as Haynesworth, but what he has done for the Jets run defense has been remarkable.  And with him having the season he is having, it has allowed Shaun Ellis to have his best season in the past 4 years for the Jets.  He currently leads the team with 7 sacks.  They will have their work cut out for them with the Titans running game.  Led by Chris Johnson and LenDale White, the Titans rush for about 133 yards per game.  Johnson leads the way with 787 yards rushing and White has pounded his way to 11 touchdowns so far.  I believe the Jets run defense matches up well with the Titans running game.  If they are able to keep them under 100 yards and not control the clock, then they just have to deal with Kerry Collins and the passing game.

This is where the Jets may run into a problem.  The Jets passing defense has been up and down all season.  One week they look great, as they did against the Rams two weeks ago.  And the next week they look horrible, as they did against the Patriots last week.  Letting Matt Cassel throw for 400 yards in the air, most of that in the second half of the game.  And Collins, as we have seen the past two weeks, is more than capable of leading the Titans to a win through the air.  They went down early last week to the Jaguars 14-3, only to have Collins throw for three touchdowns and lead the Titans to a 24-14 win in Jacksonville.  Collins does not make mistakes, with only 4 interceptions on the season, and will not hurt the team with bad throws.  The Titans are a run first team and they only seem to rely on the pass when they need to.  Last week the Jets welcomed back Ty Law and he did a very good job on Randy Moss.  Considering it was his first game action in 11 months, I'd say he was up to the task.  With Darrelle Revis most likely matched up with Justin Gage, that means the Jets linebackers and safety's need to watch out for the Titans tight end Bo Scaife.  He leads the team in receptions and yards.  This will be tough for New York, who is still missing David Harris, but Kerry Rhodes has played a lot better as of late and should be on him for a good portion of the game.

I really think the Jets can win this game.  Basically, Favre has to limit his mistakes to pretty much zero and the pass defense has to show up.  If they play they way they did against the Rams and Bills, then I think the Jets will win.  The run defense will play the way they have been all year and the running game should be able to eat up enough clock in the second half to be able to grab a win.  The field position the Jets are given by Leon Washington will also be a big factor.  Every time he touches the ball, he has the ability to make something big happen.  I think the Jets win a close one 21-17, with the Jets making a big defensive stand late in the game.

Posted on: November 14, 2008 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 9:57 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Recap (Jettin' into First)

Jets v. Patriots...Thursday night...prime time...only game of the day, talk about an instant classic.  What a game for the New York Jets.  They go up to New England tied for first place with the hated Patriots, build a huge lead and blow it, and still walk out with a win.  This game was big, not just for the Jets in the standings, but for the whole organization.  Just when we were all ready to say "Same Old Jets", they pull out a miracle win in enemy territory.

All throughout his career, Brett Favre has won big games.  Last night, he finally won a big one for the Jets.  Favre played by far his best game of the season for the Jets, considering the stakes.  He made no mistakes in this game.  He was 26-33 for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns, and most importantly, no turnovers.  He was able to spread the ball all over the field, making completions to seven different receivers.  He is definitely getting more comfortable in the Jets offense, which was evident last night, completing almost 80% of his passes.  The key stat for Favre was that he was 9-12 on third down.  He was finding the open man all night. 

And last night the open man was rookie tight end Dustin Keller.  Keller, coming off a 6 catch 107 performance against the Rams, had another great game last night.  The Jets first round pick hauled in 8 catches for 87 yards, with some of his biggest catches on the night coming on overtime.  Three of his 8 catches came on the game winning drive in OT.  His biggest catch came on third down and 15 in overtime.  Favre was able to hit him for about 14 yards, with Keller making a 2 yard dive for the first down.  He is proving to be a very reliable option for Brett in the passing game, especially over the past two weeks.  All though he did drop a sure touchdown in the 1st quarter, he does have very good hands, and you can see why the Jets picked him in the first round.

Jerricho Cotchery and Leon Washington also had huge games for Gang Green.  In the second quarter, Favre saw Cotchery in man coverage, and unleashed a bomb down the sideline.  Jerricho, fighting off Ellis Hobbs with his right hand, was able to make a one handed catch with his left hand.  He reached out, while falling down, grabbed the ball and pinned it to his helmet for a 46 yard reception that ended up on the New England 16 yard line.  The Patriots must have been having David Tyree flashbacks from the Super Bowl.  To cap off the drive, Favre hit Cotchery for a 15 yard touchdown.  He was met by two Patriots at the 2 yard line, so he stretched his arm out to break the plane by the nose of the ball.  He ended up with 5 receptions for 87 yards.  Leon Washington, who has been a Jets MVP, stepped up in a big way for the Jets again.  In the second quarter, the Patriots scored a field goal to cut the Jets lead to 10-6.  On the ensuing kickoff, Washington fielded it at the Jets 8 yard line and took it to the house for 92 yards.  Giving the Jets a 17-6 lead.  He also had a 7 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter to give the Jets a 7-0 lead.  He really is the Jets "X" factor.  There is nothing he can not do, and is always a threat when he is on the field.

The offensive line was good last night again.  They did allow Favre to be sacked three times, but were able to help Thomas Jones gain 104 yards rushing against a very good Patriots line.  Jones was not flashy, but kept grinding out yards.  He ran the ball 30 times for an average of 3.4 yards.  Overall the Jets ended up with 140 yards on the ground.  At one point, Brad Smith lined up under center with Favre going out wide left.  Smith took the snap and ran the ball for 17 yards to the Patriots 5 yard line.  That would be the Jets version of the "wildcat" formation.  The best part was Favre running a slant and waiving his arms in the air for Smith to throw him the ball.

The defense had a great first half to this game.  They held New England to two field goals until the last minute of the second quarter, when the scored their first touchdown of the game.  During the first half, the Jets defense managed to not let Matt Cassel get into a comfort zone.  He missed a few open receivers on key third downs.  The defense was able to get a huge sack on Cassel in the second quarter on 4th and 1 with the Patriots going for it down 24-6.  The second half was a different story.  Tom Brady's backup had a huge second half, leading the Patriots back to tie the Jets at 24 and then again at 31.  He ended up throwing for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He also ended up with 62 yards rushing on 8 attempts.  His best play was a touchdown pass to Randy Moss on 4th and 1 with .01 seconds left on the clock.  He has chased out of the pocket, and almost sacked, only to hit Moss falling out of bounds on the right side of the end zone.  Moss made an unbelievable catch with Ty Law all over him.  Cassel played a very good game and almost led his team to a big comeback win.

This was a huge win for the entire Jets organization.  They have been getting beat down by New England in what seems like forever, losing 11 of the previous 12 to their hated rivals.  They needed a win like this to not only take a one game lead in the division, but to show the NFL that they can hang with the big boys.  One of the reasons they got all these big name free agents was to win "this" game.  Favre proved he is still up to the task.  And as he said after the game, "This is why I came back".  If he can play like this the rest of the way, this may end up being a very special season for the Jets.

Posted on: November 12, 2008 4:04 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2008 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Week 11 (Now or Never)

It's finally here...the Jets vs. the Patriots with first place in the AFC East on the line.  This is what we Jets fans have been waiting for, a late season matchup against the reigning AFC champs with a chance to put them in out rear view mirror.  This is the reason why the Jets got Brett Favre and all the other big names in the off-season, to beat New England in a game that matters.  The Jets have been getting knocked around by the Patriots ever since Tom Brady took over the reigns.  The Jets have been rolling the past three weeks and have plenty of momentum heading up to Foxborough on Thursday night.

Brett Favre, the old gunslinger, came here for a chance to win one more before he rides off into the sunset.  This is the game the Jets really need him to step up and flash some of that "Favre magic".  Last week against the Rams, Favre played a well managed game.  He threw for only 167 yards and a touchdown, but no interceptions.  They did not need him to do a lot with Thomas Jones running all over the field.  Brett has seen a ton of these games during his career, more than any of his teammates have.  The bottom line is that he is a winner and should be able to lead gang green to a win.  The offensive line has also played a lot better in recent weeks.  They have not allowed a sack the past two weeks, which has allowed Favre to cut down on his mistakes (one interception in the past two games).  Jones has also benefitted from this as well.  He now leads the AFC in rushing with 750 yards.  However, the best part of the Patriots defense is their defensive line.  If the Jets are to have any success on Thursday, then they need to somehow establish the running game.

As long as Favre is upright, then I expect the passing game to have success in this game.  The Patriots have no Rodney Harrison or Adalius Thomas playing in the game and the Jets need to expose that.  Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are both having very solid seasons for Jets.  I expect them to be a huge part of the offense in this game.  Coles is always up for big games and he should be amped up for this one.  Another option that emerged for Favre is Dustin Keller.  He had his best game of the season last week against St. Louis to a tune of 6 receptions for 107 yards.  The Jets are very high on their first round draft pick, especially after the game the just had.  With Keller emerging and Chansi Stuckey out there, New York has plenty of good options for Favre to throw to.  The difference between this game and the game in week two is that the offense is finally on the same page.  The first time they played this season Favre did not know the playbook and the Jets were still meshing as a team.  Favre knows what is going on now and the offensive line is really clicking with each other at the right time.

As usual, the defense will have its work cutout for them.  In week two, Matt Cassel was making his first career start in the NFL and played a very smart game for the Patriots.  He threw for 165 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, not flashy but it got the job done.  He still has Wes Welker and Randy Moss to throw the ball to.  The Jets need to find a way to slow them down.  They will have some help this week with the free agent acquisition of Ty Law.  He may not play all that much with only two days to prepare, but he is a veteran and knows both teams well.  He also may not be a shut down corner anymore, but with him on one side and Darrelle Revis on the other, the Jets secondary will be much improved for the rest of the season.  One of the keys will be to limit Welker as much as they can.  Even if that means giving Moss one or two deep ones in the process.  Welker helps that offense go.  He is their go to guy on third down.  Slow him down and they should be able to slow down the whole offense.

The defensive line, which in one of the tops in the NFL, needs to get pressure on Cassel.  The Jets are second in the NFL in sacks with 31.  Shaun Ellis is quietly having a pro-bowl season for New York, leading the team with seven sacks.  The defensive MVP has been Kris Jenkins so far.  What a huge difference he has had on the defensive line for the Jets.  The Jets are 5th in the league against the run, surrendering only 76 yards per game.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be starting for the Patriots this week and he is coming off a 105 yard rushing performance against a good Buffalo Bills defense.  The Jets should be able to limit him and force Cassel to beat him with his arm.  New York needs to keep constant pressure on him and force him to make mistakes.  They had constant pressure on Marc Bulger and Trent Green last week and Trent Edwards the week before.  They caused big turnovers that they turned into scores.  Abram Elam had an interception return for a touchdown and Calvin Pace had a fumble return for a touchdown the past two weeks.

The bottom line is the Jets have to win this game to establish them-selves as a force in the AFC.  This is a game that they went out and got Favre, Pace, Jenkins, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca and now Law.  This is a great rivalry in the NFL and I would expect both teams to come out with guns blazing.  The main key's for the Jets is just to keep pressuring Cassel and take advantage of his mistakes and for Favre to limit his mistakes and recapture some of the old "Favre magic".  The Jets finally get over the hump and take this one on the road by a 28-17 score.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com