So the Jets went down to New Orleans on Sunday to face their toughest competition to date and left with their first loss of the season. They looked great on one side of the ball and horrific on the other. It may have looked bad on Sunday but the immediate future looks good for the Jets.
The defense looked very strong against the high powered offense of the Saints. They were able to hold QB Drew Brees to under 200 yards passing for the second game straight with no touchdowns. In fact the Saints did not score an offensive touchdown until there was about six minutes left in the game. Brees was never able to get into a serious rhythm against the Jets.
The Saints marched down the field on the opening possession and the "bend but dont break" defense of the Jets held them to a field goal. Brees only managed to throw for 190 yards, but most importantly he had no turnovers. It was the Saints running game that gave the Jets defense fits on the afternoon.
The Jets run defense, which had only been giving up about 82 yards per game on the ground, surrendered 153 yards to New Orleans, one of their worst performances over the past 2 seasons. RB Pierre Thomas, who scored the only offensive touchdown for the Saints, racked up 86 of those yards himself.
New York's defense did more than enough to win the game. They only gave up 10 points to the Saints offense on the afternoon, the same offense that was averaging about 40 points per game over the first three games. The defense just could not come up with the big play. They had no interceptions on the day. They did force the Saints to fumble twice but only recovered one of them. The one that they did recover, they turned into a touchdown.
It was the Jets offense that cost them this game. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez looked like a rookie for the first time on Sunday. The Saints had Sanchez looking confused all day. They forced the Jets QB to throw three interceptions and forced him to fumble which led to a touchdown for the Saints defense. On the Jets first play of the second quarter, Sanchez took the ball on the Saints 15 yard line and fired a pass to TE Dustin Keller in the end zone. Except it was picked off by S Darren Sharper on the 1 yard line and taken all the way back for a touchdown. Instead of the Jets taking a 7-3 lead, they were down 10-0.
Sanchez was confused all day and got limited help from anyone else on the offense, namely the running game. Jets RB's Thomas Jones and Leon Washington were not able to get anything going against an improved Saints defense. Combined, they only managed 65 yards on 17 carries. Washington only was able to grab 4 of those carries. He is a key to the Jets being successful this season and he needs to get the ball more than 10 times per game. That was not to be on this afternoon.
The bottom line here is that the Jets lost to the better team on Sunday. The Saints controlled the game on both sides of the ball. Brees did not have a huge game but he didn't need to. He was able to control the clock and the Saints defense did the rest. The New Orleans defense gets the game ball this week. They did something that the Jets three other opponents failed to do. Make Mark Sanchez look like a rookie.
Things will get better for Gang Green over the next four weeks. They have the Dolphins twice, the Bills and the Raiders coming up before their bye week. The defense continues to improve and will get even better with the return of LB Calvin Pace this week. We will see what kind of team the Jets are going to be next week against Miami. This is the first time they will be coming off a loss and we will see how they will respond. I expect the Jets to come out mad and firing on all cylinders next week.