By Peter Schwartz
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You’ll have to forgive the Jets if they’re feeling a little blue after their 32-3 win over the Jaguars.
And it has nothing to do with the fact that they wore their blue Titans of New York jerseys.
The victory may have come at a huge price.
Under normal conditions, the Jets would be sky high, but they are holding their collective breaths and crossing their fingers about the status of Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold. In the first quarter, Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith rolled over Mangold’s leg causing a sprained right ankle. Rookie Colin Baxter replaced Mangold and played the rest of the game.
“I was nervous at first,” said Baxter. “But overall it was exciting and it was a fun moment. When someone goes down, next man comes up and you have to go in there and perform.”
His performance was shaky at times, but the Jets were able to survive.
The good news is that X-rays on Mangold’s ankle were negative and an MRI is scheduled for today to determine the extent of the damage.
At this point its not known how long Mangold will be out or if he will even miss any time.
“I really don’t (know), said head coach Rex Ryan. “I hope he’s back this week, but I’m really not sure. Baxter stepped in and did a nice job. The young man stepped in and did a nice job. He snapped the ball a little early one time, but other than that, I thought he played well for us.”
Mangold has started every game since the Jets drafted him in the first round back in 2006. He’s been very durable over the years but there is a legitimate chance that he might not be able to play.
“Very frustrating,” said Mangold. “It’s not what I want. It’s not what I expected. It’s difficult.”
It will be difficult for the Jets to get by if Mangold is out for an extended period of time. After two home wins, the Jets have three straight road games at Oakland, Baltimore, and New England.
It’s not an ideal time to have an inexperienced rookie playing center.
After the game, Mangold was on crutches when he spoke with reporters.
“Just precaution,” said Mangold who thought he might be able to return to the game. “I felt like I could give it a go, but (the ankle) didn’t want to agree with me on that. I don’t know, we’re just playing it safe.”
The Jets may have to play it safe and keep Mangold on the sideline for a while. If that’s the case, they were certainly be looking around for some veteran help.
Is former Giant Shaun O’Hara healthy? Maybe he gets a phone call.
Aside from the Mangold injury, it was a pretty good day for the Jets. They wanted to be better at home this season and they are 2-0. Has it all been pretty?
No, but keep in mind its still early in a season that followed the lockout. The Jets do have some new pieces and it still might take some time for everything to mesh.
Critics may look to nitpick at Mark Sanchez for throwing two interceptions. There’s no doubt that he has to do a better job, at times, of reading defenses.
But here’s what I say to the critics…Quarterbacks are ultimately judged by wins and losses and here’s the bottom line on Sanchez. He is 2-0 this year. He led the Jets to a pair of winning seasons in his first two NFL seasons. Sanchez won four post-season games, all on the road, and took the Jets to the AFC title game twice.
Could they have done it with another quarterback? Perhaps. But Sanchez is the quarterback of this team and he wins games. Case closed!
What a day for the defense! They picked off Luke McCown four times and shattered a franchise record as McCown notched a 1.8 quarterback rating. McCown was just 6 of 19 for 59 yards. The previous team record was set on October 29th, 1972 when the Patriots quarterback Jim Plunkett registered a 5.4 rating. That day, Plunkett was 7 of 28 for 120 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Antonio Cromartie had a huge day. He did a little bit of everything including two picks and two big kickoff returns.
Here’s a look at Cromartie’s afternoon:
Quarter Cromartie’s Play Ensuing Drive Result
First Quarter 39-yard kickoff return 6 plays, 65 yards Touchdown
First Quarter 46-yard kickoff return 8 plays, 39 yards Field Goal
Second Quarter 1-yard rush 7 plays, 25 yards Interception
Second Quarter 37-yard interception return 6 plays, 16 yards Punt
Third Quarter 26-yard interception return 2 plays, 1 yard Touchdown
“It was good, said Cromartie. The defense, we did a great job of recognizing plays and going out and just playing solid. A lot of stuff we clicked on was play recognition and just going out and attacking.
Other defensive notes….
Linebacker Josh Mauga notched his first career interception, picking off McCown in the third quarter and returning it 11 yards.
Safety Eric Smith recorded his 5th career pick and his first since 2009 against the Tennessee Titans when the Jets wore the Titans of New York jerseys.
I think those jerseys are good luck!
Jets first round pick Muhammad Wilkerson registered his first NFL sack in the first quarter when he brought down McCown. The call on the field was a safety and was upheld after video review. The replays showed that it was very close. In fact, after looking at the replays, I honestly thought that the ball was not in the end zone, but my guess is that, perhaps, the replay was inconclusive.
Wilkerson became the first NFL player to record a safety on his first career sack since Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, playing for Rex Ryan, notched a sack against the Raiders on October 26th, 2008.
FINALLY A FAST START
When Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes on a 17-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, it marked the first time since last October that the Jets found the end zone in the opening 15 minutes of a game.
“That was huge,” said Sanchez. “Rex challenged the offense last night in the hotel and he said we’re going to take the ball, we’re going to receive the ball, which we never do. So he put the challenge on us and we answered the call, now we just need to stay consistent in the first half, and that’s on me.”
Sanchez was also pretty nifty running the ball as took advantage of some opportunities when the Jaguars dropped back in coverage. Sanchez notched a career high 29 rushing yards on three carries.
Maybe it was the blue uniforms?
Back on September 27th, 2009, Sanchez scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on a ten-yard run against the Tennessee Titans on a day when the Jets wore the New York Titans uniforms.
Speaking of the blue and gold outfits…
THE TITANS OF NEW YORK KEEP ROLLING
If only the Titans of New York had this kind of success before they were renamed the Jets.
The Jets sported their navy and gold Titans uniforms in their victory over the Jaguars. After losing the first time they wore then, the Jets have won five in a row.
Date Opponent Result
10/14/07 PHI L, 16-9
10/02/07 at MIA W, 40-13
09/28/08 ARZ W, 56-35
10/12/08 CIN W, 26-14
09/27/09 TEN W, 24-17
09/18/11 JAX W, 32-3
Keep in mind that the Jets have also worn the white Titans jerseys twice and are 1-1 in those games.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Jets get back to work on Wednesday to begin preparations for Sunday’s 405pm kickoff against the Raiders in Oakland. The Silver and Black fell to 1-1 after a 38-35 loss to the Bills in Orchard Park.
What is it about the NFL scheduling format that always seems to have the Jets playing the Raiders on the road? I’ll delve into that when I preview Sunday’s game later in the week.
That’s all for now. Check back later in the week for more.
Can we expect this level of play from the Jets defense the rest of the season. Leave a comment below.