‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
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Ernie Palladino is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.
It should be a nice, quiet week for the Jets after a 24-6 win over the Dolphins Monday night.
They should enjoy it. No grousing from the wide receivers about an offensive line that kept Mark Sanchez clean the whole night. No firing back from a beleaguered offensive line.
Yeah, just a lot of peace and quiet. Wins over ragtag outfits like the Dolphins do that, for a week at least. What next week holds after they start a three-game stretch against the likes of San Diego, Buffalo, and New England is anybody’s guess. But for now, the 3-3 Jets just need to enjoy this one.
Shouldn’t be too hard. It wasn’t a work of art, after all. Sanchez and his offense started slowly, and the only points production for the first 28 minutes and change was Darrelle Revis’ 100-yard interception return as he manhandled Brandon Marshall at the goal line.
It wasn’t until Sanchez brought it in himself with 1:14 remaining in the half that the offense actually scored, and that went as its only touchdown until Santonio Holmes used a Plaxico Burress block to score on a 39-yard pass play in the fourth quarter.
They can thank the Dolphins for having absolutely no semblance of a Red Zone offense, otherwise this might have been quite a different game. In three early trips, the doomed Tony Sparano’s 0-5 team had to settle for two field goals and Matt Moore’s pick that Revis brought all the way back.
And they can thank a Miami defense that put up absolutely no pass rush. Sanchez (14-for-25, 201 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions) had all the time in the world, especially in the second half when he started moving the offense efficiently. The run-pass balance, 28-25, was just right, so kudos to Rex Ryan.
Sometimes, it takes a win against a division rival in a decidedly downward cycle to turn around a season. Struggle early. Do some good things as the game progresses. Win. And then feel good about yourselves until the real competition rolls in.
In the Jets’ case, that would be the 4-1 Chargers, who come into MetLife Stadium Sunday well-rested from their bye. Heaven knows, Sanchez won’t get the kind of time the Dolphins gave him against a San Diego pass rush that, though mired in the middle of the NFL pack, is still significantly better than the Dolphins’ non-existent pressure.
Regardless of the future, the Jets did enough to feel good about themselves. They played a solid second half, offensively and defensively, as they rolled up the majority of their 296 total yards in the last two quarters. On defense, Revis got his second interception of the game, and Jamaal Westerman ended the game with a sack. After going three-and-out 11 times in their previous 15 series, four straight to start the game, Sanchez and his group put it together at the end of the first half and had just one of those series the rest of the way.
The three-game losing streak became a thing of the past. So, too, should the internal sniping that has gone on the past two weeks.
The Jets didn’t get perfect with this one. But they may just have gotten well.
Next week’s outcome will determine if they’ve found the long-term remedy.
Are the Jets headed in the right direction or due for a rude awakening from the Chargers? Sound off in the comments below…