Jets Running Game Spearheads Surprise Win Over Saints
By Tyson Rauch
The New York Jets roller coaster ride continued on Sunday as Gang Green shocked the NFL with their 26-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints. The victory moved the Jets to 5-4 on the season and into the playoff hunt as the team heads into their bye week.
Offense Grade: A
New York entered the game with a goal of establishing their run attack in order to take the pressure off Geno Smith and to keep Drew Brees and company off the field. Well the Jets, led by running back Chris Ivory (139 rushing yards, 1 td) and a very physical offensive line, ran for 198 yards. Gang Green went back to their ground and pound roots and used a variety of formations to take advantage of an over aggressive Saints defense.
The passing game only accounted for 140 yards but it was enough to keep drives alive and the defense off balance. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was lost early in the game with an elbow injury, but the Jets pass catchers including Greg Salas and Zach Sudfeld did their best to pick up the slack.
Defense Grade: B+
The Jets defense played very well on Sunday as they stymied the New Orleans passing attack for the majority of the game. Gang Green’s defensive line played physical in the trenches and applied relentless pressure on quarterback Drew Brees. The much maligned secondary cleaned up their coverage issues and came up with big plays when they had to. There were times when it was not pretty. The unit did yield 382 yards, but in the end the Jets versatile defense was the difference in the game.
Muhammad Wilkerson (1 sack) once again had a tremendous game and has to be considered one of the best defensive players in the National Football League.
Quarterback Grade: B-
This was a nondescript game for Geno Smith as the rookie quarterback only threw for 115 yards. Smith managed the game effectively and only had one pass that was forced into triple coverage. Geno did a good job of moving around the pocket when he faced pressure and used his legs when given the opportunity.
Special Teams Grade: A
Nick Folk is having a career year as he was 4-for-4 with a long of 47 yards. Folk remains perfect on the season, 23 in a row, and has become a true weapon for the Jets.
Josh Cribbs gave the Jets a boost in the return game with a 42-yard kickoff return along with several other key plays. Cribbs is emerging as the reliable return man who the Jets desperately needed.
Total team effort
This was an excellent victory for the New York Jets and it took a total team effort to get it done. On offense Marty Mornhinweg came up with an excellent game plan with Chris Ivory wearing down the Saints defense.
Defensively the Jets went after Drew Brees and never backed down after giving up big plays. The team was prepared, focused, and motivated and earned their hard-fought victory over one of the best teams in the league.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.