Sanchez-less Jets pound Tampa; playoff berth still within reach
Though the history of the New York Jets is steeped in the failure to regularly beat lesser talented teams, this time, they managed to follow through.
Playing without injured franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez, Gang Green used a powerful running game and a ferorcious defensive effort to defeat the overmatched Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-3 on Sunday at Raymond James stadium.
Thomas Jones led the way with another strong game, rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Shonn Greene and Danny Woodhead got into the act as well, contributing an additional 58 yards combined.
Clemens, starting his first game since December 2007, was only expected to manage the game and did just that, throwing 111 yards but not turning the ball over. However, he overthrew his receivers several times (including an open Jerricho Cotchery in the end zone for what would have been a sure touchdown) and, in general, did not inspire very much confidence (the Jets longest pass play was a 27 yard one completed by receiver Brad Smith on a fake punt.). Head coach Rex Ryan said there is a chance that Sanchez will be able to play next week.
Meanwhile, the defense took full advantage of it's tasty matchup against rookie quarterback Josh Freeman. David Harris intercepted him on his first pass attempt of the day. Darrelle Revis (who, once again, shut down the opponent's best receiver in holding Antonio Bryant to just two catches for 22 yards) and safety Kerry Rhodes also snagged a couple of Freeman's errant passes. The Jets defense also sacked Freeman three times as well.
Kicker Jay Feely booted four field goals.
Up next for Gang Green as they continue their improbable march to the playoffs is a home game against Atlanta, a team likely to still be without starting quarterback Matt Ryan and star running back Michael Turner. Another winnable game against a compromised opponent.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Jets can rewrite another chapter in the history book.
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Written by Frank Mazzola