Is it by design or necessity? Or are we witnessing a change in the Jets’ offensive philosophy? However you slice it, the Jets’ “ground and pound” rushing attack ground to an abrupt halt in Sunday night’s 27-24 win over the Cowboys.
Shonn Greene carried the ball just 10 times and Mark Sanchez threw 44 passes. The Jets’ offensive line struggled as the Cowboys’ defensive line got to Sanchez early and often. Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn’t ready to concede anything and lauded the Cowboys and their defensive scheme put together by his brother Rob.
“I think we evolved based on the flow of the game,” said Ryan. “You have to give them a lot of credit. We averaged 2.8 yards a rush. They were getting off blocks and they were blitzing the run.”
Ryan will undoubtedly continue to stress the run, but is it time for the Jets to consider some tweaking to the offense? LaDainian Tomlinson, who had just six carries, played well, catching the ball out of the backfield. Tomlinson said after the game that he “envisioned” that being a big part of his role. Considering he’s one of the all-time great pass-catching running backs, why not make it his primary role? He can still make people miss and he adds another weapon for Sanchez to use in the passing game.
Speaking of passing, when Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer allow Sanchez to make plays downfield, the Jets are potent. As has been the case the last couple of years, Ryan and Schottenheimer seem to wait until the Jets are trailing to unleash Sanchez.
Plaxico Burress didn’t get involved in the offense until the second half. In fact, of the 13 catches the Jets’ wide receivers made, only four came in the first half.
Offensive questions notwithstanding, there was a lot to like about the Jets’ win. Even kicker Nick Folk, who hit the game-winning field goal, was fired up. “Tonight, against the Cowboys, I felt like I could’ve probably kicked it from 65,” said Folk, who was cut by Dallas in 2009.
The Jets, who host the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at 1 p.m., really have a chance to get a leg up on the AFC. With the Steelers and Colts getting trounced, would it be too much to ask for the Jets to finally get a home playoff game?