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Jets grades: Week 10

A good, gutsy game for Sanchez and his receivers.

Quarterback: Resilient. All game long, Mark Sanchez seemed willing to put the team on his shoulders and manage the offense, stepping up to make plays. The hit he took late in the third quarter that saw him limp off the field – and then limp back on for the next series – is the stuff that inspires confidence in the team. Even his interception was better than a punt for the Jets. Good, gutsy game from Sanchez. Grade: B+

Running Backs: Not quite sure if it was the return of “Ground & Pound” but it was encouraging to see more of a balance in the offense and the emergence of Shonn Greene. The second-year running back had a season-high 20 carries and his physical running style was key to the Jets topping Cleveland by almost 20 minutes in time of possession. The three catches out of the backfield for Greene is an encouraging sign for a player who had one catch for all of last year. LaDainian Tomlinson was steady as usual, topping 100 yards in total offense and keying several big plays. Grade: A-

Offensive Line: Some ups and downs for the line. The run blocking was average at best, with neither Greene nor Tomlinson breaking a run longer than 10 yards and the two backs combining for just under 3.3 yards per carry. Sanchez faced steady pressure in the pocket all game long, particularly in the fourth quarter. An uneven display by the line, who dominated the second and third quarters but looked suspect at times. Grade: C+

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: Seven Jets receivers had multiple catches on the day, a sign of good routes and separation. In an emotional return to Cleveland, Braylon Edwards battled some early game emotions for a solid afternoon, including four catches for 59 yards. And what’s not to like about the emergence of Santonio Holmes, who has been clutch late in the game for consecutive weeks. His game-winning 37-yard touchdown gives the Jets momentum heading into the final-third of the season. And Jerricho Cotchery became the stuff of legends, making a spectacular grab after a moment earlier suffering a groin pull. Concerned by Dustin Keller’s numbers on the day as he had difficulty getting open after enjoying a solid game last week at Ford Field. Grade: B+

Defensive Line: Not a good first half by the defensive line, who were physically overmatched by the Browns in the trenches and let Peyton Hillis repeatedly break the initial point of contact unscathed. Settled down in the second but it was a lackluster effort. Only two defensive lineman, Mike DeVito and Shaun Ellis, were among the top 15 tacklers for the Jets and the unit failed to register a single sack. Grade: C-

Linebackers: Another outstanding effort for the linebackers, following a very good second half against Detroit. Two sacks, one from Calvin Pace and another from Jason Taylor, highlighted the afternoon for the group. Pace led all Jets players with seven tackles and David Harris continued his streak of hot play with five more tackles. In the second half, the linebackers stepped up the game to stop an effective Browns rushing attack, led by Peyton Hillis, who ran wild in the first half. Grade: B+

Secondary: They didn’t have any interceptions or passes defended, but the secondary limited mistakes and kept tight pressure on the Browns receivers. There were some big plays given up, including Chansi Stuckey who seemed to haunt the Jets in the second half by turning routine grabs into moderate gains, but the unit held up well. Drew Coleman was clutch, stripping Stuckey late in the game to create a fumble and a Jets recovery. Grade: B

Special Teams: Ugh. The kicking game’s woes have already been well documented, with Nick Folk missing three of his five field goal attempts. The rest of the special teams enjoyed a rather blah afternoon, with Brad Smith averaging five less yards a return then his season average, which has been among the best in the NFL. Grade: C-

Coaching: Praise must go to Rex Ryan, whose team started out stronger and more focused then games past and closed out another game in clutch fashion. Even the playcalling on offense was more balanced, a positive sign after the unit got away from the run in recent games. Grade: A-

 
 
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