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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Seven & Out – Week IV

Seven & Out – Week IV
By Michael –Louis Ingram, Scouting Director/Associate Editor-Football Reporters Online
PHILADELPHIA (FRO) Each week, the National Football League puts out seven statistical samplings to savor from the week’s games – and here we decide whether it’s worth chewing or choking…
New Orleans safety DARREN SHARPER registered his 10th career interception- return touchdown (99 yards) in the Saints’ 24-10 win over the New York Jets.  Sharper joins Pro Football Hall of Famer ROD WOODSON (12) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 10 career INT-TDs.  Sharper, who had a 97-yard INT-TD in Week 2 against Philadelphia, joins DEION SANDERS (1994) as the only players in league annals with two INT-TDs of at least 90 yards in one season. 
(Here is a clear case of semantics getting in the way of the truth. Cast off as being too old and too slow, Sharper already has five picks and two house calls. While five interceptions would be an exemplary season for most corners, Sharper’s guile and feel for the game were downplayed; in large part because he was a veteran who deserved more money! No doubt Sharper has already hit a bonus objective or two on the road to a Pro Bowl season).
Jacksonville wide receiver TORRY HOLT had three receptions in the Jaguars’ 37-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.  Holt, who has 884 career receptions, surpassed wide receiver KEENAN MC CARDELL (883) and moved into 10th place on the all-time receptions list.
(No real surprise here; another castoff who cast his fate to the free agent winds. If the NFL really gave a shit about players like Torry Holt, they would extol his virtues with more than a couple of lines, instead of going into orgasm over certain selfish, bratty quarterbacks who know to produce more drama than results. While not the best receiver to ever come out of N.C. State (Mike Quick has that distinction) Holt has been one of the most polished receivers ever to strap on in this league; how soon they forget!)
 With 353 passing yards in the Colts’ 34-17 win over Seattle, Indianapolis quarterback PEYTON MANNING recorded his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing game.  Manning is the third player in NFL history to start a season with four consecutive 300-yard passing games.  Only KURT WARNER (2000) and STEVE YOUNG (1998) had longer streaks in NFL history (six consecutive games).
(Another useless statistic in a league where the fix is in for defenses to surrender gobs of points because of the desire for offense to have a distinct advantage; yards don’t mean shit – unless there are W’s attached to them. For all the accomplishments of the aforementioned passers, and the bullshit fawning over Drew Brees {who is only 55-51 and has only three winning seasons out of the eight he has had in this league} I know Manning won all of his games; can the others say the same?
Peyton Manning is by far the best quarterback in this league; and doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards to win a game. Unlike the others, Manning’s moves are a residue of design and not anal-retentive “game management.”)
New York Giants wide receiver STEVE SMITH posted a career-high 11 receptions in the Giants’ 27-16 win over Kansas City.  Smith has 34 receptions through Week 4, the most receptions through the first four games of a season in franchise history.
(For a team whose pedigree has always been ‘defense first’ and ‘run first,’ this is a big deal. Not only has Smith become Eli Manning’s security blanket, he has shown flashes of brilliance in his pattern–running, making a living over the middle while carving up defenses. Give GM Jerry Reese his due in finding another draft gem!)    
Chicago quarterback JAY CUTLER registered a 100.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 48-24 win over Detroit.  Cutler is first Bears quarterback since 1970 to have a 100-plus passer rating in three consecutive games (minimum 15 attempts).
(Will you STOP already with the horseshit statistics? What the fuck does it mean to have a 100 percent passer rating? Not a damn thing. Ask Terry Bradshaw {71%} Johnny Unitas (78%} or Bart Starr {81%} what they really think of passer ratings – when they’re not having their respective championship hardware polished…)
New England wide receiver RANDY MOSS posted his first touchdown of the season in the Patriots’ 27-21 win over Baltimore.  Moss has 137 career touchdowns and now ranks sixth all-time for the most career TDs.
(Not bad for a supposed “malcontent” - I only wish Moss had really pulled his pants down in that TD celebration. You don’t have to like him, but Moss is that cat in the band that knows {and everyone else knows} he can play; and just like Clapton had to genuflect to Hendrix {and he did!}, the league has to grudgingly admit Moss riffs on a whole different level).
Rookie head coaches JIM CALDWELL of the Indianapolis Colts and JOSH MC DANIELS of the Denver Broncos have led their teams to 4-0 starts.  This is only the second time in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) that two rookie head coaches have guided their teams to 4-0 starts in the same season (2000: AL GROH, NYJ and MIKE MARTZ, StL).
(While a good start is important, how you finish matters more. Broncos have an interesting four game gauntlet to handle, while the Colts just keep keepin’ on; and, of course while Mc Genius gives the Belicheat clan moment to pause, Caldwell just wins games.  Like they say-if it ain’t broke…)
Always remember – once the point is made – if you roll seven, you crap out!

The N – Files, Volume I: The Untruth is Out There

The N – Files, Volume I: The Untruth is Out There
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Director of Scouting/ Associate Editor-Football Reporters Online

PHILADELPHIA (FRO/BASN) Two fingers of Bacardi Gold splash inside the glass and acquaint with the residing three ice cubes; a day’s work supposedly done.

Then a casual glance at the television screen makes you boot up the computer and start scribbling all over again.
You see the graphic footnote on ESPN that Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell threw six of nine complete passes, and you’re thinking, “brother man is making progress” – then the “analysis” talks about what Russell didn’t do well; while showing two of his three incomplete attempts.

Now 67 percent completions are pretty good by any standard; except when it describes the efforts of a Black quarterback – and, even more specifically, a National Football League quarterback.
Cue whistling… 
 (Agent C. M. Piper looked over his entry notes as he closed the window tab on the computer screen. It was nearly four o’clock on the West Coast, and time for the tele-conference. Piper allowed himself to briefly ponder his time in Canada. Four o’ clock meant High Tea and the old Vancouver hotel where he had his first cucumber “samich” - bringing a smile to his face; the food could definitely be replaced, but the ceremony was cool…

Piper dialed in awareness of the two minute warning window, which now showed 48 seconds and counting. The constant cyber – attacks on RBG made such methods necessary; and in spite of the fact a call took a few seconds, the rerouting was what consumed most of the time.

Seconds later, a female voice came over the line. “This is RBG Control. I confirm Agent Craig Buchanan; Executive Director Mack McClain; Agent George Wheelwright; Agent Chanticleer Piper.

“Big MAMA*{MODIFIED ANALOG MASKING APPARATUS} has secured the area, and you are now free to converse.”
Exec Director McClain opened the meeting. “Gentlemen – the purpose of this meeting is to light a match to a pair of gasoline drawers. The No Former (Slaves) League has stepped up its efforts to mollify, vilify, and nullify all evidence of the Black quarterback.

“Constant castigation by mainstream media has placed every Black field general at risk. Previous attacks, which were once discreet, have become flat-out blatant when skills of Black QBs are assessed in comparison to white QBs.

“Although we know some among the Black intelligentsia have eschewed conventional wisdom as to what the symbolism of this means, the time has come to address this untruth about Black QBs and create a better atmosphere in which we can energize a collective conscience. That said, I want to get to the field reports, and Agent Buchanan, you can set it off.”

Buchanan cleared his throat. “Chief, the situation in Minnesota is deplorable. Progress for Tarvaris Jackson has been severely compromised by the actions of the Vikings front office, head coach Brad Childress and owner Ziggy Wilf.
“I mean they went out of their way to move up and get Jackson the year he was drafted; then they tell the kid that he’s the guy; then pull him after 2 games.

“After they bury him, he has to bail out the team when Gus Frerotte gets hurt. All he does is go 3-1 down the stretch and leads his team to a division title and the playoffs. His reward for his efforts – was to have his job handed over to Brett Favre’s old ass.
“Favre comes back and debuts as the starter; goes 1-4 and almost throws a pick; meanwhile Jackson goes 12-15, 202 yards and a TD bomb. The mainstream media, of course, downplays Jackson and apologizes for Favre. Oh, and by the way- they’ve sold over 3000 season tickets since Favre signed.”
“Hmmm – well, can’t say I’m surprised,” said McClain. “Big Wheel – whatcha got for me?
“Boss the view from the Left Coast is spotty, to say the least,” said Wheelwright. “It seems everyone in the Bay Area is looking to give Jeff Garcia the starting job over JaMarcus Russell.

“Nothing from what I’ve seen would indicate that’s even remotely close to happening; but I can tell you that many Raider fans can sense something positive happening this year with the team.

“They drafted very well last year, and with McFadden, Bush and Baby Bear Fargus, they have an outside shot of stealing the AFC West division title. Denver’s got problems, Kansas City’s rebuilding, San Diego’s got Norv Turner – need I say more?”
The laughter lightened the sense of urgency as McClain’s tone matched the moment. “In that same vein, I feel this and the data collected from the past couple of seasons seems to be leading us to the previously stated conclusion,” sighed the Chief.
“Hey, Chief – I would like to take a different approach to this, if possible,” chirped Piper.
“Okay, Agent Piper – what’s on your mind?

“I think it’s safe to say everyone at this conference can see the plausibility of conspiracy; but I feel there’s more to it;
“We spoke on the Vikings and Raiders as places where the Black QB is under siege. Well we also know these teams have a shot to win a Super Bowl.

“After Doug Williams rocked the house in SB XXII, I think the league hierarchy underestimated Williams’ ability to lead; to this day, some are still saying he was ‘lucky’ or ‘hot’ the day he and Washington kicked their golden boy John Elway’s ass.
“So what I’d like to do is to have a budget authorized where we can put together investigative teams of RBG personnel to get to the crux of the matter, which I feel is a deliberate attempt to ensure a Black field general will never again have the sufficient fire power to destroy a great White notion like Williams did in the Super Bowl.”

McClain took in Piper’s words, pausing several seconds before he spoke. “I know how lazy this generation of information gatherers have been in working to present the truth; most of them couldn’t or wouldn’t know how to work a real beat.
“You couple that with what possible benefits we could provide in debunking many of the untruths perpetuated by this machine, and the pluses to this far outweigh any potential liabilities. 

“Alright, Piper – you’ve got your funding; get the proof, and Buchanan and Wheelwright will work with you on this as code file RBG-072908, with you as lead Agent. Information will be on need-to-know until final draft of presented data.
“Gentlemen, Big MAMA is alerting us our masking aura is dwindling. Let’s wrap this up and convene again after Agent Piper’s first draft directive. Good evening – and good luck.”

Piper smiled after hanging up the phone, excited over the chance to provide in earnest a scenario for stopping future Field Generals from taking their rightful place on the field.

As the rum slid down his throat, Piper highlighted his playlist; and found Monk’s “Misterioso” running. The volume clicks up, and the somber chords tapped him where he lived; magic fingers providing acupuncture for the soul.  

“Well, the untruth is out there,” thought Piper. So – first things first; and, as if straight out of the Detectives’ Manual, Piper knew the place to be – was back at the scene of the crime – Super Bowl XXII.
To be continued…
Copyright 2009 Michael – Louis Ingram

AFC South Week 4 wrap up

                                         AFC South Week 4
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
 Jacksonville 37 Tennessee 17
As the season continues one wonders how long will it be before Kerry Collins gets benched in favor of Vince Young? The fans and media alike will start the arguments across the football land. The Titans however are in a bind much deeper as they stick by the quarterback that led them to the best record in the league last year at 13-3. Now they find themselves in a hole called 0-4 with games against Indianapolis and then at New England. So 0-6 is more the reality at this time because this team does not look like one that can get up enough to beat their next two opponents. The offense was a repeat of weeks past. They cannot count on the run because Chris Johnson seems to get a big run or next to nothing. Collins is under more pressure than normal and his passer rating is getting lower than the average high temperature in the fall. The secondary is getting worse by the week and now with the injury to Nick Harper Tennessee will have to turn to rookies to get it done. Jags quarterback David Garrard torched them as he went 27-37 for 323 yards with three touchdown and no picks. He had time to throw and room to get the ball to his receivers. Mike Sims-Walker used his speed and skills to burn the Titans for 91 yards on seven catches good for two touchdowns. It was 30-3 five minutes into the third quarter and the game was essentially over. Johnson got 83 yards on 16 carries but could not become a factor in a game he could not win by himself. One of the few bright spots continues to be rookie receiver Kenny Britt as he had seven catches for 105 yards and after four games is the team’s leading receiver with 17 grabs. He also got his first NFL touchdown and turned a short pass into a 42-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Collins finished 29-48 for 284 yards, one touchdown passing, one rushing and two interceptions. He continues to struggle with his receiving corps. They have not found that timing from last year mainly due to new faces on the field. In the meantime Young continues to wait on the bench for his turn. The followers will call for his reinstatement to the starting job and say that now is the time to inject the offense with a spark. An argument was made that said that the Titans wouldn’t be turning the ball over to a rookie. They would be giving the ball back to the player they picked third in the draft a few years ago. They would be asking him to earn his rightful place back if he can. It's not like he would be replacing a star. He would be replacing a 15-year veteran that is on the last legs of his NFL career. If things go bad against Indy next week why not give your huge investment a chance to see if he still has it? Do it soon before it’s too late and he is lost for good.  
Indianapolis 34 Seattle 17
This one was over by the end of the first half as Peyton Manning threw for two touchdowns and the Colts had a 21-3 lead. Then to put a stamp on it they scored 13 points more in the second half to increase the lead to 34-3. Manning was a terrific going 31-41 for 353 yards and has his team at 4-0. He has a new set of receivers to go with Reggie Wayne and he doesn’t miss a beat. He continued his rise in the record books as he tied Fran Tarkenton for number three with his 342nd touchdown pass. He joined Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to throw at least 55 touchdown passes to two different receivers. Next week they go to Tennessee looking to put the dagger into a dismal season for the Titans. Indy’s run defense was solid, as Seattle backs had no place to go. They sacked Seneca Wallace five times and hurried him plenty more. With the defense playing well and Manning at the helm the Colts look ready to play in January and it’s only October.
Houston 29 Oakland 6
The story here was how would JaMarcus Russell do against this Texan defense and it turned out bad. They shut him down and held him to 128 yards on 12-33 passing. They held the Raider running game to 45 yards and the offense had a good day. Steve Slaton had a touchdown run of 32 yards and also caught an 18-yarder for another score; Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 95 yards for another touchdown, as Houston outclassed the Raiders. Matt Schaub started quickly and then tapered off finishing 11-22 for 224 yard and one touchdown. The offense put up 329 yards but had to punt seven times to stall drives. Now Houston has a chance to go 3-2 next week if they can pull one out in Arizona in a game they should feel good about.  

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark? week 4

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark? week 4

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters Online

One year after passing for the second most yards (5,069) in an NFL season, only 15 yards behind Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards in 1984, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is again poised to take aim at Marino's record. FRO follows Brees' prusuit of Marino each week, throughout the season:

Brees’ 2009 Avg. Yards Per Game: 250.25
Avg. Yards Needed To Pass Marino: 337.83

Week 4: Although the Saints keep winning, Brees has been rather ordinary over the past two weeks after starting the first two weeks on pace to challenge Marino’s record. That’s probably just fine for Brees and New Orleans, who would probably prefer to keep notching wins over setting records. Marino’s record appears safe for now, but there’s a lot of football left in the 2009 season, and Brees is certainly capable of putting up some more big numbers (although next week against the Giants, who have defended the pass as well as anyone thus far, will be as tough a test as it gets).

1 Sun 9/13 vs DET W, 45-27 26-34 76.5 6-1 358 4,727
2 Sun 9/20 at PHI W, 48-22 25-34 73.5 3-1 311 4,416
3 Sun 9/27 at BUF W, 27-7 16-29 55.2 0-0 172 4,244
4 Sun 10/4 vs NYJ W, 24-10 20-32 62.5 0-0 190 4,054
5 Bye
6 Sun 10/18 vs NYG
7 Sun 10/25 at MIA
8 Mon 11/2 vs ATL
9 Sun 11/8 vs CAR
10 Sun 11/15 at STL
11 Sun 11/22 at TB
12 Mon 11/30 vs NE
13 Sun 12/6 at WAS
14 Sun 12/13 at ATL
15 Sat 12/19 vs DAL
16 Sun 12/27 vs TB
17 Sun 1/3 at CAR

TOTALS; 144-66 87-129 67.4 9-2 1,031

Quick Start Propels Giants To Another Easy Road Win

Quick Start Propels Giants To Another Easy Road Win
By Jon Wagner
Sr, Writer at large Football Reporters Online

It’s been a successful formula so far for the 2009 New York Giants: Four times New York has scored on its first possession, and four times the Giants have won.

Another (Big Blue)print that’s worked: Points off turnovers, a category in which the Giants rank at the top of the National Football League, with 45 points scored off of opponents’ miscues.

The saying goes (albeit in poor English), “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After three weeks of success in previous victories, why change what’s worked?

It didn’t take the Giants (4-0) long to start riding a familiar road to another easy victory when the they recovered a fumble by the hapless Kansas City Chiefs (0-4) on the game’s opening kickoff. New York took an early 7-0 lead just five plays later, on a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Steve Smith just 2:16 into the game, en route to a 27-16 win in Kansas City on Sunday, completing a sweep of the Giants’ three-game road trip.

Although, the fumble was the Chiefs’ only turnover of the game, the tone was already set, and the Giants led from wire to wire, despite Manning committing a turnover himself, on the each of New York’s next two possessions in the first quarter.

Kansas City sacked Manning and recovered his fumble on the New York 36 yard-line, which led to the Chiefs’ first score of the game, a Ryan Succop 34-yard field goal, with 5:02 left in the opening quarter, cutting the Giants’ lead to 7-3. On the Giants’ next possession, Manning was
intercepted at the Chefs’ 15 yard-line, throwing a little behind wide receiver Mario Manningham, wasting a nice, juggling 43-yard reception along the right sideline by Manningham three plays earlier, during the same drive.

Manning though, responded the next time the Giants touched the ball. A questionable personal foul penalty on Kansas City’s Jarrad Page for a hit on Smith which appeared to be clean, set New York up with a first down at the Chiefs’ 25 yard-line. Manning capitalized on the next play, capping a four-play, 71 yard drive in just 1:39, with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Smith, 1:27 into the second quarter.

Smith has stepped up nicely as the go-to receiver the Giants sought coming into the season. The 2007 second-round pick out of USC leads New York with 34 receptions this season. His two touchdowns and 11 receptions on Sunday were both career-highs, and the most ever by a Giant wide receiver in a non-overtime game (Amani Toomer had 12 in an overtime win at Philadelphia in 2006). Smith’s 134 yards on Sunday also matched a career-high that he set just two weeks prior, with ten catches at Dallas.

On the final drive of the first half, Manning continued to maintain his reputation as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks during the two-minute drill. After a Kansas City punt to the New York 13-yard line with 1:49 left in the half, the Giants’ signal caller directed a nine-play, 80-yard drive, resulting in a Lawrence Tynes 25-yard field goal, putting the Giants up 17-3 as the first half concluded. Two plays before Tynes’ kick, tight end Kevin Boss caught a 3rd-and-3 pass from Manning for 24 yards to the Chiefs’ 7-yard line. Boss was injured (he’d later return okay) on the play, but he had the courage and the presence of mind to get up, and limp into formation, so the Giants, without any timeouts left, could avoid the automatic ten-second runoff, line up quickly, and spike the ball in time for Tynes’ field goal attempt.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ defense which was dominant through the first three quarters, allowing just four first downs, 91 total yards, and only 23 passing yards before the fourth quarter, forcing Kansas City to punt on six straight possessions spanning the first three quarters, after the Chiefs’ first-quarter field goal.

The second half started with some trickery on both sides. Kansas City opened the half with an onside kick, but an alert Bryan Kehl, who also pounced on the Chiefs’ game-opening fumble, recovered the ball again for the Giants, at the Chiefs’ 42 yard-line. That led to another Tynes field goal, this time from 40 yards away, putting the Giants up 20-3, with 10:22 remaining in the third quarter. Tynes received that opportunity after the Giants kept the eight-play drive alive by running a direct snap on the fourth play of the drive to running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for nine yards and a first down on a 4th-and-3 play that Manning did a good job of selling by faking a high snap over his head.

In the fourth quarter, rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who sat out the past two games with a foot injury, showed why the Giants drafted him with the first pick in the 2009 draft, with a couple of nice stutter-step moves to free himself for a 54–yard touchdown –- the first of his career –- on a sprint up the left sideline, giving the Giants a commanding 27-3 lead with 13:28 left in the game.

That was Manning’s last play of the game after suffering a bruised heel while planting his right foot, attempting a pass on the previous play. Manning, who completed 20 of 34 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, doesn’t believe the injury should keep him from starting next week’s game at home, against Oakland (1-3). “I don’t think it’s awful, I think I’ve been injured worse before,” he said. “We’ll see how it feels throughout the week. I could stand up, I could still walk around and put pressure on it. I always assume I’m going to play, that I’m going to be out there. I’ve always been a pretty quick healer. I’ll be doing everything I can possibly do this week to get healthy and prepared to play Oakland.”

After not allowing a touchdown through seven quarters over the past two weeks, the Giants let the Chiefs make what should have been a blowout, become respectable, as Kansas City found the end zone for two harmless scores in the final quarter. Jamaal Charles, the culprit who fumbled the opening kickoff, somewhat redeemed himself after Nicks’ touchdown with a 53-yard kickoff return to the Giants’ 48-yard line. The Chiefs then converted two fourth downs during an 11-play touchdown drive, but they failed on an ensuing two-point conversion attempt, to pull only to within 27-9, with 9:26 left in the game.

New York then went three-and-out on its next two possessions with backup quarterback David Carr replacing Manning. Sandwiched in between those two possessions, was the Chiefs’ final scoring drive of 12 plays, 59 yards, to make the final margin 27-16, on a touchdown with 4:54 remaining.

The Giants held big advantages in both total yards (429-193) and passing yards (273-88), as Brandon Jacobs (92 yards on 21 carries) helped New York outgain Kansas City on the ground, 156-105.

New York, which has started 4-0 for the second straight year, has won its first three road games of a season for the first time since 1990. The Giants also became only the eighth of 107 teams since 1990 to play in three straight road games while navigating through such a trip without a defeat. The Chiefs meanwhile, are just 6-30 since their last winning season, a 9-7 campaign in 2006.


by TJ Rosenthal contributing writer Football Reporters Online

The Jets left the Superdome with their first loss Sunday 24-10 to the high powered Saints. Two key rookie mistakes by Mark Sanchez (14-27, 138 yds 3 int) essentially did them in. The Jets suffered their first loss under rookie cooach Rex Ryan and fell to 3-1. They proved to themselves two things however. That they could be down a ton early in a hostile environment, settle down and be in the game late. Secondly, that their defense is undoubtedly for real. Slowing down the Saints is tought to do. The defense kept the Jets in the game. 

The Jets were down 3-0 after one, and driving. They got out of the first quarter, despite struggling on the ground again while holding Drew Brees  with a solid pass rush and tight secondary coverage.

Then Sanchez made his biggest mistake of the year. Staring down TE Dustin Keller in the end zone one the 1st play of the second quarter, Sanchez failed to look off FS Darren Sharper. Sharper read the eyes of Sanchez, stepped in front and went 99 yards for the TD, 10-0 Saints. A huge emotional game changer. On the brink of going in for the lead now down two scores, the mountain to climb suddenly felt long and steep.

The Saints went for the knockout on the ensuing drive but a Jet goal line stand that saw two incompletions by Brees left the Jets still down 10, but backed up  on their own 2. Then the mountain grew even steeper and longer.. The Jets came out throwing but Sanchez failed to find any open receivers and took too long in escaping. DE Will Smith (no, not the actor) caught him and stripped the ball. It was recovered by Remi Ayoldele for the TD, 17-0 Saints.

The Jets tacked on 3 and got out of dodge with a 17-3 deficit. Needing to take better care of the ball, but not out of the game.

While Sanchez and the ground game struggled, thanks to a Saints defense that smothered the Jets all day (sacks, int) the defense continued to thwart the most high powered passing team in the NFL. Then the Jets finally broke through. After having a fire lit under him by rookie Shonn Greene (yds, left with an injury or he would've gotten more), Thomas Jones rambled through the middle of the Saints line to cut the lead to 17-10. Thats how the third ended. The Jets, with guts and 
a fighting attitude, had a chance.

The offense had two possessions with the ball but failed to pick up the first. One was a thrid and one slant thrown too hard by Sanchez to WR Jerricho Cotchery. A play that Alan Faneca was quoted Sunday as saying he wished were kept on the ground. That because that is the O line's time to take on the responsibility. 

Finally, in the middle of the fourth, the Saints broke it open. Pierre Thomas (86 yards ), who got going in the second half, while the defense fatigued and continued to keep their focus on Brees, rushed in for a () touchdown and a 24-10 lead. A fourth and less than a yard offside's by NG Kris Jenkins, on the Jet 43 kept the drive alive. The gamble to time the play perfectly backfired for Jenkins but he and the Jets have nothing to be ashamed of. A second Sanchez int to Sharper on a roll out under pressure around midfield on the next drive sealed the win for New Orleans.

The most telling moment of the game was not the result from a play on the field. It was when Jenkins put his arm around the rookie Sanchez to console him and remind him that the team has faith in him. That's because for the first time in years, the Jets ARE a team. Gang Green has a pulse, a soul. Their ability to trail big early on the road against a great offense, settle down and have the ball in the 4th with a chance to tie are the kinds of situations a team growing into winners will value as October becomes November and playoff December. Tough loss but spirits are high. "THe mistakes killed us. you turn the ball over like that in this league and you can't win." Sanchez said, taking responsibility for his role in the loss like a field leader the Jets need.

The 1-3 Miami Dolphins are next. Monday night Football. Another divisional battle. Another classic Jets Miami game on the way.  Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and the Wildcat await along with QB Chad Henne, who now runs the offense thanks to the season ending injury to Chad Pennington. He was was solid in his first NFL start, a 38-10 blowout win against the often times pathetic Buffalo Bills Sunday. Henne will be getting a dose of Rex Ryan's crew though next week at Landshark stadium. That will be  a different experience for Henne than the lost Bills. Quarterback play on both sides will be the key next Monday night as the 3-1 Jets look to keep pace with the streaking 3-1 New England Patriots in the AFC East .

A look back at the FRO three keys to beat the Saints:

Brees vs Jet blitz. I asked for sacks, not pressure: The Jets didn't get any. Hence, no major drive killers that included turnovers, over a loss of inherited field position.

Jet ground game vs Saints front seven: A fast start running the ball  was essential against the high scoring Saints. The Jet's didn't get one. This prevented the Jets from controlling tempo and clock in the first half. They trailed 17-3 at halftime.

Dustin Keller vs Saints linebackers: I envisioned a big dose of Keller, all over the place a la Jason Witten. In the flat, over the middle, behind New Orleans  MLB Jonathan Vilma. It didn't happen. Saints pressure and the Jets inability to run effectively were part of the cause but Keller was targeted but too many times in the flat. None of the attempts were deep post patterns that could've provided the big play threat the Jets lack right now in their passing game. The Jets tried to offset the pressure with slants but none went to Keller. A key third and one try went to WR Chansi Stuckey and was not converted. Keller finished with just  33 yards.

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