Many people will continue to question the validity of the New York Jets' 7-2 record after they escaped with their second straight overtime victory, this time 26-20 against the Cleveland Browns. However, don't listen to any of that nonsense. There is something to be said for a football team that finds a way to win close games week after week. This Jets team knows how to win and a big reason for that is because their second year quarterback is maturing at a rapid pace.
Mark Sanchez arguably played his best complete game as a professional today. It is time to stop with the questions about his future as this team's franchise quarterback. He has "it," and whatever that "it" is...is good enough for the Jets to be serious Super Bowl contenders this year. Sanchez was looking a little bit like Ben Roethlisberger today with the way he was avoiding pressure and finding receivers down field, despite dealing with a calf injury.
This would have been a tough loss to swallow because the Jets completely dominated from about half way through the second quarter up until the final minutes. They did a poor job finishing drives and Nick Folk had a 2009 throwback performance by missing three field goals. We will give him a slight pass because he has been good so far this year and Cleveland is a notoriously tough place to kick. Yet, another miss or two in the following week and he could be heading back to the unemployment line.
Other problem areas: I absolutely hated the Jets decision to let the game go into overtime. There is no room for that "playing not to lose" BS this year. You always go for the win, especially with the way Sanchez has been playing. The Jets defense is also far from being elite this year because elite defenses don't allow rookie quarterbacks to drive down the field to tie the game in the final minute. Darrelle Revis, you really let Evan Moore catch that on you...Evan Moore? The pass rush is still inconsistent and Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith continued to struggle heavily in pass coverage.
However, I loved what I saw from the running game today. Twenty carries for Shonn Greene...it is about time. Jerricho Cotchery had a much needed bounce back performance. His catch in overtime was one of the gutsiest plays I have ever seen. LaDainian Tomlinson had 110 total yards. Brad Smith was great in extended action. Kyle Wilson looked like a competent football player and Brian Schottenheimer was finally in a good rhythm as a play-caller.
Enough of this "lucky" talk. Anybody who has watched Cleveland the past few weeks knows they are a quality football team and it is impressive the way Jets statistically dominated the game in their building and found a way to win despite their field goal kicker and some questionable decisions. The Jets are 7-2 and very much in the discussion as the best team in the NFL.