Jets hold off Jags while receiving help in the AFC playoff picture.
As usual it wasn’t pretty, but the Jets did just enough to beat the Jaguars 17-10 in Jacksonville. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell both ran for touchdowns and the defense put together another great performance to improve the Jets’ record to 6-7 on the season. Muhammad Wilkerson continued his strong sophomore season by wreaking havoc in a variety of ways while Ellis Lankster sealed the game with an interception.
Mark Sanchez’s play did not improve after last week’s benching, completing 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards with a lost fumble.
The game’s first questionable decision came before the game started, as third string quarterback Greg McElroy was inactive and did not dress a week removed from playing the role of hero. Sanchez is clearly the guy until the end of the season, no more speculation is necessary.
After starting the game with a three and out, the Jaguars put together a 13-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in zero points as Bart Scott intercepted Chad Henne’s pass over the middle. After trading possessions, the Jets began their first drive in the second quarter.
After picking up a first down, Sanchez dropped back and threw towards Hill, but he slipped and went to the turf holding his knee. Hill did not return to the game and his MRI is scheduled for tomorrow to determine the extent of the damage. “”Hopefully it’s not too severe,” said Rex Ryan.
On the same drive, the Jets moved into Jaguars territory but Sanchez’s ball security problems showed up again as he was stripped by Jason Babin.
After surrendering a field goal, Sanchez found Jeremy Kerley at midfield but Kerley fumbled fighting for extra yards. The Jets went into the half scoreless for the fourth time this season. The Jets first half drives were punt, punt, fumble, fumble, punt, punt.
But the second half begun and the Jets rushing attack started to wear down the NFL’s worst rush defense. Starting at their own 43-yard line, the Jets ran seven of the next nine plays, the last of which was a Greene one-yard touchdown to take a 7-3 lead.
The Jets defense forced four straight three and outs from the Jaguars offense in the second half, who put up six yards (Yes, six) in those drives. The Jets continued to pound the rock, running the ball seven straight times with Powell who scampered in from four yards out to put the Jets up 17-3.
“Both those guys found holes because there were holes to be found,” said Sanchez.
But as we all know, it’s never that easy.
After allowing the Jaguars to reach midfield, the drive was kept alive by a Quinton Coples facemask penalty. The Jaguars kept fighting forward and running back Montell Owens turned the corner and scrambled in from 32 yards. After the Jets couldn’t close the game in their next two offensive drives, Henne had one more chance to continue his success against the Jets.
Henne completed a fourth and fifteen to Jordan Shipley to move the ball into Jets territory, but a miscommunication between quarterback and receiver led to Lankster catching the fair-catch interception that put the game away.
Greene and Powell combined for 39 carries (20, 19 respectively) for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Two of the teams the Jets are chasing in the playoff picture, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, lost on Sunday. It is still too early to think about possible playoff scenarios, but almost everything went right for the Jets on Sunday. The Colts earned a win and most likely a playoff spot, it seems the race for one team is between the Jets, Steelers (7-6) and Bengals (7-6).
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