The New York Jets established a new team record against the St. Louis Rams in their 47-3 victory. It’s the largest margin the team has ever won by, and it came as easily as the score would indicate.
In fact, it could be argued that New York left some points on the field. The Jets’ first field goal came from inside the 5-yard line after a 54-yard strike from Brett Favre to rookie Dustin Keller.
But this is not a day for complaints.
The Jets refused to be denied against an inferior team. After weak showings against teams they should’ve defeated easily, fans were on the verge of mutiny—even with a winning record.
So when they faced the reeling Rams without Steven Jackson, there were to be no excuses. The threat of the run was eliminated, so all that was left to focus on was the pass.
The question was if the Jets should blitz, or try their hands in coverage?
They successfully managed both.
No Land, No Air
The Rams were disallowed a safe journey through Jets’ territory. The stifling run defense was hard at work for the entire game. Given their efficient play all season, it’s difficult to imagine the result being different even if Steven Jackson had been active.
For the entire season, the Jets’ Achilles heel has been the pass defense. Mediocre backup quarterbacks and MVP-candidates alike have toyed around with the Jets’ secondary, connecting with their receivers for impressive gains and bringing their teams within reach of victory.
The Jets allowed no such thing for St. Louis.
Both Marc Bulger and Trent Green were under pressure for the entire game, turning the ball over to a Jets’ defense that had struggled to take the ball away.
Abram Elam was a vicious force for the second consecutive week. Receiving the starter nod, Elam continued to make impact plays for the defense, directly resulting in points.
His 92-yard interception return in Buffalo gave the Jets a lead the Bills would never take back. His first-quarter sack and forced fumble against the Rams allowed Calvin Pace to return the ball for the touchdown that truly sent the game spiraling out of control.
One has to wonder if any games would have turned out differently if Elam had been starting from the beginning of the season. His athleticism and aggressive style seems to have been the catalyst in a secondary needing a real spark.
Thomas Jones is Running Wild
Football fans would be hard-pressed to find many people that were big supporters of Thomas Jones in his first few games on the Jets.
Some fans were willing to give him a pass in 2007 as he struggled to gain yardage behind one of the most inconsistent lines ever assembled. But at the start of 2008, despite a good start, it appeared he was still running with hesitation.
It was as if he didn’t fully trust his new line yet as he would bounce once or twice for minimal yardage, only to fall at the first sign of contact.
Needless to say, there have been a lot of words eaten at this point.
Jones has made the most of every carry, rushing for great yards with minimal touches. He was a victim of awkward gameplans, as he was denied carries against teams that were susceptible against the run.
Realizing that the Rams rank towards the bottom against the run for a reason, Brian Schottenheimer let Jones loose for nearly 150 yards, and the second three-touchdown game of his career—both happening in 2008.
40-Point Lead and the Starters Stay In?
Jets’ fans watched the start of the second-half with puzzled looks on their faces. The Jets had a monster lead, and the starters were still in the game. Terrible coaching, or cautious measure?
When the Jets were up on the Arizona Cardinals, Kurt Warner led his offense to 21 third-quarter points. It was an impressive performance which forced the Jets to continue playing their starters well into the fourth.
When it was clear that the Rams weren’t on the verge of looking remotely impressive, the receivers sat, and Kellen Clemens enjoyed the exhilaration of handing the ball off to Leon Washington.
It was a welcomed opportunity for relaxation, because in four days, the Jets travel to New England for a Thursday night game with first-place in the AFC East on the line.