The direction of the Jets’ season probably won’t change all that much as a result of Sunday’s 27-13 victory in St. Louis, but it’s going to make for a much calmer week than the one they just finished.
With the Jets riding a totally ineffective offense to a three-game losing streak, there were those calling for a quarterback change and other, anonymous Jets calling Mark Sanchez’ backup Tim Tebow terrible. It was a tabloid field day and the Jets trotted everyone up to and including owner Woody Johnson to insist that the chaos around them would make the team closer.
They’ll have to answer for how close they are, but they were certainly better. The Jets thoroughly outplayed the Rams after St. Louis opened up the game with an 86-yard touchdown drive and their offense avoided any of the big mistakes that have crushed them in past weeks. Mark Sanchez completed 15-of-20 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown in his best performance since a loss in New England last month and Tebow saw his already limited playing time pared down to a handful of snaps. He did get to try a fake punt, but it was unsuccessful.
Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight had 120 yards on 33 carries, helping the Jets keep possession for more than 32 minutes over the course of the afternoon. The Rams’ hopes of winning the game pretty much disappeared when Daryl Richardson fumbled in the third quarter to set up Powell’s second touchdown of the game, but it was going to be a long shot thanks to the play of Sam Bradford.
Bradford threw a pick, got stripped on a sack and compiled just 170 yards on 23-of-44 passing. The Rams actually ran the ball with some success, but once they fell behind they weren’t able to rely on the ground game to move the ball. Bradford couldn’t get it done and the Rams are almost certainly done at 3-6-1.
The Jets are probably done as well, but we’ll find out quickly if they have a hope of making the playoffs. They have a home date with the Patriots on Thanksgiving night, which means they won’t get much chance to enjoy the good feelings generated on Sunday.