Dwayne Smith. 7th October, 2009 - 2:46 pm
For the first time this season, the New York Jets were unable to overcome the mistakes of their young franchise quarterback. Those miscues were instantly converted into 14 first half points and put New York into their biggest hole of the year. Unfortunately for the Jets, courageous play from the defense would not be enough to prevent a 24-10 defeat to the New Orleans Saints.
The early turnovers, along with an inability to cash in on some solid offensive production created a 17-3 halftime deficit. While the Jets offense was able to score and cut the lead back to seven, the Saints defense continued its relentless pressure on the Jets ground game and Sanchez in order to crush the comeback attempt. A late touchdown by the Saints put the game out of reach and the Jets fell to their first defeat in 2009.
Here are the five things you can take from this game:
1. The New Orleans Saints defense makes this team a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
All the talk surrounding this game was about the Saints offense vs. the Jets defense. That contest may have been a small win for New York in holding the Saints to 10 points. Unfortunately for the Jets, the game became a blowout when the Saints marched in on defense. Four sacks, six hits on Sanchez and three other negative plays against the Jets told a major part of the story for the job New Orleans did in limiting all facets of the Jets offense. While New York was able to produce yards on offense at times, seven of the Jets possessions did not yield a single first down. This speaks to that fact that it wasn?t just Sanchez, although his gaffes were the worst, but the entire offense that was simply handled by New Orleans. Combining this type of defense with an established offense makes this team a serious championship threat in the NFC.
2. The honeymoon is over and Sanchez needs to take better care of the ball.
It was easily overlooked during the three game winning streak that Sanchez has had a penchant for giving the ball to the defense. Before this game the rookie QB had thrown two interceptions and fumbled the ball four times, losing one. In those games Sanchez was able to right the ship and the Jets defense was able to hold the opposing offense down enough to minimize the mistakes. Unfortunately, his turnovers were instantly turned into 14 points and his inability to get a rhythm prevented any comeback from occurring this week. You would imagine a greater emphasis would be placed on ball protection this week and the duration of the season.
3. MLB David Harris is slowly booking his ticket to the Pro Bowl.
It must be pointed out again that on a day in which Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall scored a spectacular game winning touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, the man that his head coach really wanted was producing a spectacular game for the Jets in defeat. Harris was a menace to the Saints with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Harris so far is leading the elite Jets Defense with 33 tackles and two sacks and has been everything Head Coach Rex Ryan thought. If this keeps up, it would be hard to prevent him from earning a Pro Bowl appearance.
4. What were considered strengths, the offensive line and running game is not doing enough to lessen the pressure on Sanchez.
The Jets have one of the best offensive lines in the AFC, but have not looked that way most of the season. Anemic production from the ground game outside of Week 1 has to be a major concern. The best friend of an inexperienced QB is a ground game that keeps a defense at bay. The Saints were able to load the box against New York and completely shut down New York?s ground game for most of the day. Additionally, New Orleans never allowed Sanchez to comfortably sit in the pocket and was able to force numerous mistakes by the rookie QB. If this offense is going to be a contending unit, the line play will have to reach their 2008 level, it has not been there thus far.
5. The depth of the Jets defense makes them even more dangerous as the season continues, especially next Monday Night when they are back at full strength.
The bright ray of sunshine from this game goes back to the defense and the way they were able to stop the Saints for most of the game in holding their offense to ten points. This was without two defensive backs and OLB Calvin Pace, who finished his four game suspension and rejoined the team on Monday. Pace was the team?s leading pass rusher last season but has yet to play in the attacking system that Ryan brought to New York. This has to have him incredibly excited. it also probably marks the last time OLB Vernon Gholstun?s name will need to be mentioned in a New York Jets article.