Monday, September 24, 2012

The Costliest Win

Only in football: the best player on the field, maybe the best player in the league gets no action. It's lonely on Revis Island, but a top corner takes away a top offensive weapon and takes away a quadrant of the field. It allows a defensive-minded coach like Rex Ryan to construct an entire defensive scheme around him.

In the most violent sport, Darrelle Revis got the dreaded not-contact knee injury yesterday, which makes every pretense of being a torn ACL. Like when you saw Mariano Rivera's knee buckle shagging flies in batting practice, you know how that wound up.

So that obviously hangs over the Jets' overtime victory in Miami yesterday. But there are only 16 games in a season and every win counts. The Jets looked terrible, but they're 2-1.

The offense was stymied. The "ground & pound" run game hasn't materialized yet this season: 88 rush yards for the game, and 22 of those were in OT. That means you're relying on Mark Sanchez, which is a risky proposition.

Sanchez can look great when he has time and timing, but he is prone to horrific mistakes. The ledger sheet tilts to the positive (how can it not with 4 road playoff wins?) but sometimes you have to watch through your fingers which are gripping your face.

The defense wasn't good either, though they were missing Revis for most of the second half. They gave up 185 rush yards, allowed an 80-yard TD drive in the 3rd quarter, and let rookie QB Ryan Tannehill take the Dolphins right down the field for the tying field goal at the end of regulation.

The difference was special teams. Kicker Nick Folk made all 3 attempts. He's 6-for-6 on the year, and has been quietly reliable for 3 years now. Punter Robert Malone had 6 punts for 45.7 and dropped 4 inside the 20.

Mike Westhoff's unit also managed to establish Tim Tebow, running him from punt formation for 5 yards on a 4th & 3 on their own 25. A ballsy call that led to a Field Goal.

The game ball goes to Jeremy Kerley, who had 3 nice punt returns, a 66-yard catch & run, and the go-ahead TD reception with 3:01 left in regulation.

And despite the uneven performance, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano gets to look himself in the mirror knowing he is 1-0 against the team that fired him.

Where the Jets go from here is anyone's guess. It truly is one game at a time as the overall gameplan may have to change significantly without #24.

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