The Zionist Conspiracy
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Any Given Sunday
1. Today's game was as tense as midseason games get, and therefore not particularly enjoyable to watch. Playing the Patriots in Foxboro, I expected a close game in a losing effort. The win is obviously the Jets' best since the 2004 playoff victory in San Diego. The Jets have now exceeded their win total of last season, and, with the Chiefs, Bengals and Jaguars losing, are now back in the playoff picture.
2. By no means did the Jets play a flawless game. Some potential points were left on the field, and the defense gave up an infuriating three fourth down conversions, including two on 4th and 3.
This actually makes me more optimistic about the Jets' abilities. They made some mistakes, but got their most complete performance from the offensive line, finally established an inside running game led by Kevan Barlow, and got the best performance of the season from the defense.
3. The Jets coaching staff deserves much credit. The team came well prepared, and the gameplan was solid, with aggressive play on both sides of the ball.
Unlike some who fail to follow their own slogans, the Jets actually played to win the game.
On offense, in the 2nd quarter, the Jets went for it on 4th and short at the Pats 23, made the first down, and then scored a touchdown. Herm Edwards tries a field goal there. In the 4th quarter, the Jets were aggressive, scoring a touchdown on Chad Pennington's pass to Jerricho Cotchery, and then responded to the very quick New England touchdown and 2 point conversion by converting three first downs, using up three minutes and forcing the Patriots to use all three of their timeouts.
Defensively, after abandoning the aggressive schemes that worked well in the first three weeks of the season, the Jets finally returned to the blitz, and kept Tom Brady off balance all day. The run defense wasn't too good, but the Jets did make a few key stops on running plays. Overall, the defensive backs, linebackers and defensive line were all solid.
My only serious quibble with the coaches was with the Jets' use of the prevent defense late in the 4th quarter. Obviously that's not a spot for free safety blitzes, but giving Brady unlimited time is a recipe for disaster. Despite getting the ball at his own 11 with 1:08 left and no timeouts, Brady was one play away from getting his team into field goal range.
The prevent has been used against the Titans, the Bills, the Colts, the Dolphins, and now the Patriots. It hasn't worked and will not work.
4. The refs ripped off the Jets again today. The roughing the passer penalty on Victor Hobson was a joke, nullifying a great blitz by Hobson, an interception and long return, and giving the Patriots 15 yards. Yet again, the NFL has serious officiating issues.
5. It was a rare pleasure to watch a competent announcing team on CBS today rather than be subjected to the ignorance of Solomon Wilcots. For the most part, Phil Simms and Jim Nantz did a fine job, but I have to take issue with their bizarre criticism of Chad Pennington's touchdown pass to Cotchery. I disagree strongly that Pennington's decision to throw that pass was a bad one. While Cotchery was covered, it was one-on-one coverage, and it's refreshing that the Jets are trying to give their wide receivers a chance to make big plays. Perhaps commentators had become so used to the Jets being ultra-conservative that they think some mistake must have been made when the Jets are aggressive.
The TD pass to Cotchery never would have happened when Herm was coaching. Herm would have probably settled for a field goal. If he'd actually tried that play, the receiver would have been Justin McCareins, whose consistent failure to fight for the ball is a complete contrast from the effort Cotchery made on his touchdown reception. Cotchery hardly played when Herm was here.
6. I actually wasn't sure if I was going to watch the game at all after Mr. Gloomy (a/k/a Elster, and a/k/a - during baseball season only - Mr. Sunshine) baselessly wrote that the Jets have a fragile psyche, and declared that the Jets not only would lose today and at home next week against the Bears, but that those losses would be followed by "the wheels coming off" in the form of a loss to Houston in two weeks.
7. I don't think much about the Giants, but am surprised that nobody is discussing whether their trade of the rights to Phillip Rivers and their first round pick in 2005 (along with other picks) for the rights to Eli Manning was the right move. Even as Drew Brees is proving that he is an elite NFL quarterback, Rivers has been so good that Chargers fans aren't missing Brees at all. Time will tell, and it will be fun watching these fine quarterbacks in the meantime.