The Jets wrapped up their win over the Chiefs by halftime and flipped things into cruise control for a 37-10 win.
If that cruise control featured any scoreboard watching, it was an entertaining second half for the Jets. The late comeback by the Texans over the Bengals and the Saints’ win over the Titans left the Jets in much improved playoff position than they were in when the day began. If either the Broncos or Raiders lose in the late round of games, Sunday will end with the Jets in possession of a Wild Card spot.
They have their most complete performance of the season to thank for the victory. They came out strong on both sides of the ball, smothering the Chiefs before the game was even 10 minutes old and then sat back and watched backups take the game home in the fourth quarter. The offense showed tremendous balance — 181 yards passing for Mark Sanchez, who accounted for four touchdowns, and 129 yards rushing for Shonn Greene — and the defense made Tyler Palko look like he belonged in the NFL about as much as Justin Bieber.
Whatever hopes the Chiefs had relied on their defense and it wasn’t able to put forth the same effort it did in last week’s victory over the Bears. They made some plays early, but couldn’t keep their focus once the game got out of hand. That lack of focus hit its nadir in the third quarter when the Chiefs gave up 81 yards in penalties to help the Jets to their fifth touchdown of the afternoon. Coach Todd Haley drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on that drive for arguing with the officials. His frustration is easy to understand, but his inability to keep his players from hurting themselves with penalties won’t help him win any fans in Kansas City.
For a time it looked like the Chiefs would wind up with more penalty yards than offensive yards. They avoided that fate, but that’s about the only silver lining on the day for them.
No such problem for the Jets, who are suddenly looking like a good bet to wind up in the playoffs for the third straight year.