Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jets Stun Saints and NFL with Defensive Masterpiece


Let me guess, when you took a look at the schedule for week 9 you probably thought the Saints were an automatic lock to win against the Jets? Don't worry, I thought so too.

Instead the Jets blew up Las Vegas betting lines and wallets everywhere with a 26-20 stunner over the Saints, as New York's ferocious defense, combined with the running of ex-Saint Chris Ivory paved the way to victory.

This game was more about what the Saints did wrong against the Jets defense, then anything the Jets did right.

Every time Drew Brees dropped back to pass he was under incredible duress, with Quentin Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson in his face the entire afternoon. Brees, never had a moment to set himself.

He was sacked twice, and was hit more than a dozen times over the course of the afternoon. He even had two passes tipped and picked off by the Jets; with the way New York's defense played, the Jets could have easily had four interceptions of Brees.

The Jets gave Brees only two small glimmers of hope early in the contest and shut the door after that. Holding onto a 3-0 lead, the Jets allowed New Orleans to take the lead when Brees connected with Jimmy Graham for a 51-yard touchdown in single coverage to make it 7-3.

Then early in the second quarter, New Orleans went up 14-6 when Brees connected on a 60-yard bomb to Robert Meachem, to spot the ball at the Jets 20, before finishing off the drive with a 10-yard score to Jimmy Graham.

With the fire power of the Saints offense combined with the Jets lackluster showing offensively early in this contest, it looked like this game would be poised for the slaughter everyone predicted.

That was until Chris Ivory started to eat up his former team, gashing them for huge chunks of yards. Ivory totaled 139 yards on 18 carries for the Jets, and basically carried the entire offense, while Geno Smith played Robin to Ivory's Batman.

Still Smith had his moments. His only real positive drive of the day came in response to the Saints second touchdown of the day. Smith hit two big passes, one to Tommy Bohanon and another to David Nelson to move the Jets deep into Saints territory, before Ivory took over with two rushing for four yards each to move the ball to the Saints 7. Finally, Ivory plowed through a gapping hole in the Saints front for the score to make it 14-13.

Now it was the defense's turn to step it up a notch. Wilkerson and Coples rushed Brees into a hurried throw that bounced out of the hands of Nick Toon and into the waiting hands of Antonio Cromartie at the Saints 39-yard line. The interception proved to be the turning point of the game.

Next Smtih led the Jets on a quick five play, 38-yard drive culminating in his five-yard scamper for the touchdown, giving the Jets a 20-14 advantage.

The Saints would battle up hill for the rest of the afternoon.

Brees spent the rest of the afternoon running for his life, as the Jets front seven pressured the former Super Bowl MVP into errant throws, incompletions, and total confusion. Brees was so befuddled by the Jets defense that he even held onto the football longer than he would have liked at many points in the game.

The biggest game changing moment of the second half came midway through the third quarter after New Orleans converted a long third down on a screen to Pierre Thomas to advance to the Jets 22. Down only 23-14, a touchdown, would have almost certainly brought the Saints back into the game. However, Wilkerson and Calvin Pace sacked Brees on back to back plays to push the Saints on the fringe of field goal range at the 50-yard line.

Somehow the Saints were able to get enough yards on third and 38 to settle for a field goal to keep their heart beat alive at 23-17, but the phase of this game had taken a new turn.

The Jets were out playing the Saints in every facet of the game. They had Brees reeling, and for the first time since he was probably a Charger, Brees had a defense in his head. Mentally, the Jets had already won the game on that series.

The defensive stand was then aided by Ivory, who went totally ballistic. He gashed the Saints for 46 yards on four carries, including one carry for 30 yards, to set up a Nick Folk field goal to make it 26-17.

The Saints had a couple more chances, but Brees and the Saints offense still couldn't handle the Jets front seven pressure as the quarterback finished 1-for-7 down the stretch of this contest, with everyone and everything Rex Ryan could throw at him in Brees' face.

It was total domination by a Jets unit that got torn apart by the Bengals a week ago, and it was a heck of a statement too by a team that has been counted as DOA by everybody this year.

So for the fifth time this year, the Jets win after losing badly the previous week, and are now 5-4 on the year. The roller coaster ride continues for Rex Ryan; but after this win, I am sure his job security is getting safer by the minute. Now New York will have a bye week, before taking on the Buffalo Bills in  mid-November.

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