The peak-and-valley nature of the 2013 Jets season was apparent again in Sunday’s 26-20 win over the Saints.
There’s no explanation as to how a team can lose by 40 points one week and hold one of the league’s most potent offenses to a near-season low in offensive production a week later. Even the Jets players themselves can’t explain what’s going on.
“That’s a redundant question. I don’t know how to answer that anymore,” Jets guard Willie Colon said when asked about the inconsistency surrounding the team. “Each guy in this locker room has to come out fighting with more intensity on the road. The lesson behind it is you have a bye week, guys can get away, clear their minds and come back ready to go.”
The Jets (5-4) beat the Saints by playing some old-fashioned football. Four runners—led by Chris Ivory with 139 yards—combined for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries.
Sound familiar? Running the ball was how the Jets marched to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010. And that is probably what they need to do the rest of this season to make the postseason.
“You just have to knuckle up,” Colon said. “We understand Chris [Ivory] is a big back for us. If we get him going, the sky’s the limit. We take pride in him, and he takes pride in us.”
Those rushing numbers prove that the Jets’ coaching staff has accepted the fact that Geno Smith can’t be expected to win every game with his arm. Those numbers prove that the Jets can run on any team if given the opportunity.
A veteran offensive line headed by Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Colon developed the necessary chemistry needed to blow opposing defensive linemen off the ball.
But will running the ball be enough to get the Jets over the hump? The NFL has become a passing league, which means that at some point, Rex Ryan will have to give Smith more responsibility.
It won’t happen this week with the Jets on bye, but rest assured, it’s an issue that will be dealt with in the next month.