Chris Ivory said re-introduced himself to his former team to the tune of 18 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown. That's an average of 7.7 yards per carry. From the Jets' perspective, the emergence of Chris Ivory is exciting for a number of reasons: 1) his big game against the Patriots 2 weeks ago looks less like an aberration, 2) this takes a ton of pressure off of Geno Smith, and 3) paired with a solid defense, the Jets are finding a winning formula just at the right time, as the temperatures drop and the prospect of playoffs loom. I'd say that's worth the 4th round pick the Jets gave up for Ivory, a bruising back that a would-be tackler does not want to see in the open field during a crucial game in December.
A Complete D
Both halves of the Jets' defense showed up on Sunday for perhaps the first time of the entire season. The d-line, led by Wilkerson, Harrison, and Richardson (AKA The 'Sons' of Anarchy) generated consistent pressure on Drew Brees without having to bring the blitz, and the secondary cashed in with 2 interceptions. It wasn't a dominant performance by any stretch -- Jimmy Graham had 2 touchdown receptions and Brees threw for 382 yards, but at the end of the day the prolific Saints' offense was limited to 20 points and forced into 2 turnovers key to the Jets' victory. Perhaps the most heartening takeaway for Jets Nation was the play of Quinton Coples and Dee Milliner. Coples consistently found his way into the backfield and displayed the kind of gap discipline that's necessary for success as an OLB when the Saints ran a reverse on 4th and 1 late in the game. Milliner, despite a couple of hiccups, played his best game of the season one week after being benched mid-game in Cincinnati, registering a couple of pass breakups and 4 tackles.
By no stretch was this game pretty for Geno Smith, who at one point trailed Josh Cribbs in passing yards after Cribbs executed a wildcat pass for 25 yards. He completed just 8 passes in 19 attempts for 115 yards. His biggest moment of the game was executing a read-option play just before the half to run it in for 6 and giving the Jets the lead, but throughout the course of the day it was the negative plays he didn't make that made the difference
This was an important game in the development of Geno Smith for the following reasons: 1) he learned that just by protecting the football, he can put the team in a position to win, 2) playing without Holmes, Cumberland, Winslow, and, after a mid-game injury, Jeremy Kerley, he showed a level-head and situational awareness to not try to make plays that aren't there, and 3) he showed much-improved pocket awareness, recognizing the blitz and avoiding the big negative plays have that plagued him thus far.
By the 3rd quarter, Geno Smith had just Stephen Hill, Greg Salas, David Nelson, Zach Sudfeld and Konrad Reuland as a receiving core. The Jets already-ailing aerial attack, if you can call it that, took a big blow as Jeremy Kerley suffered what looks like a possible season-ending elbow injury. The bye week could not come at a better time as they will be expecting to have Holmes back from his hamstring injury and Kellen Winslow from his suspension. More so, the bye week gives them a chance to break their streak of alternating wins and losses. The Jets have alternated losses over the first 9 weeks. Maybe it's time to take a break.
The Jets come out of the bye on the road at Buffalo and will be looking to begin a push for the playoffs on the right foot.