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Sep
28
2008

Favre Riddles Cards; Defense Hangs On

Offensive woes?  What offensive woes?

Brett Favre tossed six touchdown passes, Laveranues Coles racked up 105 yards receiving and hauled in three scores and the defense forced seven turnovers and recorded five sacks as the Jets lambasted the Cardinals 56-35 at the Meadowlands.  The Green and White (or Blue and Gold as it were) raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead and then withstood their own poor play and an Arizona comeback to even their mark to 2-2 heading into next week's bye.

There were some very encouraging things and some very disappointing occurrences in this one.  But I guess that can be said for any contest.  Here's a quick list.

REASONS TO GET UP ON MONDAY:

Brett Favre.  Well, it looks like this offense can get on the same page.  The Cardinals were without linebacker Bertrand Berry and safety Adrian Wilson and those guys should ask for huge raises because the Jets went to town on Arizona's defense.  Favre was like a kid in a candy store almost every time he dropped back to pass.  No. 4 got the ugliness out of the way in the first quarter when a pass thrown across his body on a 3rd and 1 from the Cardinal 48-yard line was intercepted.  In fairness, the Cards looked offsides on the play and Favre must have thought he had a free play.  Still, a quarterback usually tries to make a play down the field instead of across it.  But Favre made up for it.  This was the first game where everything clicked in the passing game.  The offensive line did an excellent job of pass protecting and the receivers were running free all over the field.  Favre finished with these gaudy numbers: 24 of 34 for 289 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT.  I never doubted you for a second, Brett.

Laveranues Coles.  Yes, the Jets aren't loaded with playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, but it's not like they are bereft of talent.  I usually don't watch the pregame shows on Sunday, but I tuned in for a quick looksee.  And the Favre apologists were out in full force.  Chris Carter had the audacity to say that Coles would be the third wide receiver on the Green Bay Packers.  Ridiculous.  Well, LC showed he has something left in the tank with a three touchdown day against the Cards.  Coles finished with 8 catches for 105 yards.

Kris Jenkins.  The big guy was back in action and made his presence known.  Jenkins' blocked field goal attempt in the first quarter gave the Jets excellent field position and set up their first score.  KJ also destroyed center Lyle Sendlein and forced Kurt Warner to throw a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Eric Smith in the second quarter.  Jenkins finished with only three tackles, but he creates so many opportunities for the other guys on defense when he's right.

Defense (first half).  It was a thing of beauty -- getting pressure, forcing turnovers, swarming to the ball.  It almost brought a tear to the eye.  Shaun Ellis forced the first fumble, but the Cards were able to recover.  But on the next play Dwight Lowery separated the ball from Anquan Boldin and newly re-signed Hank Poteat made the recovery.  Glad to have you back Hank.  Darrelle Revis really got the ball rolling when he returned an interception 32 yards for a score to give the Jets a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.  The D went on to force three turnovers on the Cardinals next four possessions and held their high-powered offense scoreless for the first 30 minutes of play.

REASONS TO SLEEP IN ON MONDAY:

Defense (second half).  Like night and day.  Penalties contributed to the Cardinals first scoring drive of the third quarter (pass interference on Dwight Lowerey, Drew Coleman called for unnecessary roughness) and the Jets allowed Arizona to convert on a 4th and 8 on their second scoring drive.  OK, nobody expected a shutout, but the defense must have gotten a little too happy with itself during the half.  I initially thought the defensive lapse could be turned into a positive going into the bye.  You know, "don't relax," "the game is 60 minutes," "insert cliche here," but then things got a little sweaty.  Especially when the Cards recovered an onside kick and then sliced the lead to 34-21.  I didn't really think the Jets could blow a 34 point lead (I don't really know why I felt that), but the defense still allowed Warner to throw for 472 yards.  Yes, everyone in the stadium knew the Red Birds were going to throw in the second half, but that is still unacceptable.

Jay Feely.  When is Mike Nugent due back?  I thought Cat Scratch Fever made me nervous on field goals, but Feely is a mess.  Feely missed a 22-yard attempt, but got a second chance when Arizona was called for running into the kicker (with a nice acting job by Feely).  He "nailed" the 20-yarder.  Feely had a chance to pad his stats when he lined up for a 44-yard field goal with 3:11 left in the game, but his kick sailed wide left.  Thankfully, it didn't matter at that point, but Feely has shown that he isn't reliable.  He can't kick over 40 yards and has trouble in the 20s.  Other than that, he's money.

This next little bit isn't enough to make me sleep in, but why did the Jets go for it on 4th and 5 from the Arizona 24-yard line with two minutes left in the game?  They were up 48-35 at that point and a field goal would put them up by 16 points.  Was it because Eric Mangini had zero faith in Feely?  I suppose.  So Favre hit Dustin Keller for a score to really "put the game away."  Why did the Jets go for two after that touchdown?  Leon Washington converted the attempt, but it seemed like overkill to me.  The Cardinals didn't seem that upset, but I would have been if I were in their shoes.

Also, a scary moment at the end of this one.  Anquan Boldin took a shot from Smith in the end zone that left him down for the count.  Play was stopped and Boldin was carted off on a stretcher.  But Boldin was alert and able to move his extremities.  Smith was also shaken on the play, but was able to walk off the field.  Smith wasn't penalized on the play, but he'll probably get slapped with a fine for the helmet-to-helmet hit.

All in all, the Jets needed to win and did just that.  The offense looked confident and the defense looked ferocious (for 30 minutes, anyway).  There's still some work to be done, but things look a lot better than they did just last week.

So, take a week off guys and come back ready to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 12.
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