I have been one of the most critical people of New York Jets running back Shonn Greene, often making the case that he's the worst starting running back in the league. Sometimes, crow tastes unbelievably delicious.
The Jets are in a four way tie for first place in the AFC East (or four way tie for last place, if you're a glass-half-empty kind of person), after a 35-9 rout of the Indianapolis Colts, in a game that was somewhat dominated by Greene. It was the type of performance the Jets expected from Greene and their running game as a whole when they touted this season as a return to Ground and Pound. Whether it can be replicated or if the Jets have turned a corner with their running game remains to be seen, but it was a welcome respite form the previous four weeks of unacceptable play. Before we move on to Week 7's battle for first place with the New England Patriots, let's hit The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about the Jets' win over the Colts.
Of course, we start with Greene. The most encouraging thing about his performance, to me was that you can't just chalk it up to great blocking by the Jets' offensive line. Yes, Joe McKnight did pull off a 60-plus yard run, so the O-line was certainly on it's game, but Greene often found cutback lanes and actually made defenders miss to pick up extra yards. That sounds rudimentary, and it is, but it's not something we've seen form Greene pretty much throughout his entire career.
It's amazing what a solid running game can do for a quarterback. Yes, people are going to look at Mark Sanchez's 82 passing yards and smirk, but when your running backs are picking up all the available yards all you can do is hit your receivers when you have to. And Sanchez did that for the most part on Sunday. He completed 11 of his 18 throws, a 61% clip, and threw two touchdowns. The Jets generated two long drives in a first half in which they effectively put the game away, and even if Sanchez wasn't chucking the ball all over the field, the Jets' offense was in a good rhythm and consistently moving the chains. The quarterback deserves credit when an offense runs that smoothly.
The Jets pushed all the right buttons with Tim Tebow. He gives them a legitimate weapon on every punt, where he can either run for a first down or throw for one, like he did on Sunday hooking up with Nick Bellore for 23 yards.
On defense, the Jets were very aggressive, almost to a fault sometimes with some bad penalties. But Antonio Cromartie continued to play excellent, intercepting Andrew Luck once, finishing with four total tackles and two passes defensed. The Jets finally got some consistent pressure on an opposing quarterback, led by rookie Quinton Coples who was constantly in the Colts' backfield and had his first career sack and a half.
Big Bad Bobby Malone averaged 52 yards on five punts. Oh yeah.
The Bad, The Ugly
Is there really anything to put here? This was very reminiscent of the Week 1 beat down against the Buffalo Bills. I mentioned a few poor penalties by the Jets' defense, but most of them were an offshoot of the Jets' being very aggressive on defense. The Jets went three-and-out on their first possession, so there's that! We're reaching for this section, which is something we do not often have to do in this piece. Enjoy it now while we can, Jets fans.
The Jets play for first place next week in New England. How about that?