Play-Off Hunt: After Bye Week, Which Jets Team Will SHow Up At Buffalo?
Ivory -- run, run, run, run...
So the New York Jets don't play another game until the 17th when they take on Buffalo. Will we then see the Jets who lost big to the Bengals or the team that knocked off New England and most recently the Saints?
The Jets's 26-20 victory stunned the New Orleans Saints and boosted the confidence of fans who thought the team's play-off chance was long-long-long shot after the 49-9 shellacking by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Saints were 6-1 and in first place in their division (6-2 now); a team with a franchised quarterback, Drew Brees; and, they’re ranked sixth in the NFL in total yards per game. As a defensive unit in 2012, they were ranked 31st in the NFL, but for the 2013 season, the organization hired ex-Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan twin brother), propelling them defensively. Before Sunday's game, the Saints were ranked fourth in the league in allowing opposing teams to score in the NFL.
The Saints are a very good team, and after the drubbing the Jets suffered from the Bengals, many predicted another clubbing by a play-off bound team. However, the defensive and offensive line of the Jets came to life to improve their record to 5-4; second place to the 7-2 New England Patriots in the AFC East.
“We knew we had to bounce back from a tough loss that we had last week -- everybody was fundamentally sound, ready to get going for this game and everybody executed well (in) all three phases: offense, defense and then special teams,” said defensive lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson, who had a sack in the game, extending his sack streak of five games in a row this season, giving him eight to lead the NFL 3-4 defensive lineman.
“We knew he’s a short quarterback and we knew, obviously, he’s an elite quarterback and getting him off his mark would get him rattled. And I think we did that, getting pressure on him, hits, sacks and overthrows and batted balls," he said of Brees.
The Jets defensive line held the Saints to 41 yards on 13 carries, which were season lows for both the Saints offensively and the Jets defensively.
Offensively, the Jets were led by running back Chris Ivory, who geared the offense with 18 rushes for 139 yards, while scoring his first touchdown as a Jet this season, including three runs of 25 yards or longer.
Ivory wasn’t the only player to stand out for the Jets; wide receiver Josh Cribbs stepped into the light a few time times, one was when he completed a 25-yard pass to reserved placement tight end Zach Sudfeld to set-up a field goal in the second quarter. Linebacker Demarco Davis helped the Jets to victory by attaining his first career interception, which was converted into a 39-yard field goal to take the lead in the inception of the game.
“We know we’re a better team than people thought, it’s because it’s about all of us. It’s not just about one guy, or this guy or that guy,” said head coach Ryan. “We may have the best defensive player in the league right now, but it isn’t about him, it’s about us.”
The Jets have a bye week and seven games remaining: Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and the Miami Dolphins again.
Consistency is the key element for the offensive line of the Jets to open the gates for their running backs and for the defensive line to shut down opposing teams and create turnovers.
“We have a long way to go -- clearly, we have to fix a lot of things still, but I know one thing: We have a group that’s willing, and that’s the toughest thing,” head coach Ryan said. “When you have a group that’s willing to get better and work hard to get better -- that’s where we are.”