It wasn’t pretty or even riveting, but the Jets methodically improved themselves to 2-0 on the season, beating Jacksonville 32-3. New York did what they had to do after a sluggish start:
1. Systematic Jets
The Jets marched down the field efficiently on the game’s opening drive, putting an early stamp on the game from which Jacksonville could never recover. Sanchez was 4-for-4 for 60 yards on the drive, featuring a 33-yard pass to Dustin Keller and a 17-yard touchdown strike to Santonio Holmes. It had been 16 straight games that the offense failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter, and after the slow start for the offense last week against Dallas it was a feel-good start from New York. The six-play, 65-yard drive staked the Jets to a 7-0 lead and the safety on Jacksonville’s opening drive essentially wrapped up the game midway through the first quarter.
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Perhaps it’s a sign that the Jets’ offense needs some work, but it was a big day for cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who led all New York players in total yardage. Even though he got just a single yard from a second quarter catch, Cromartie still put up some big numbers. He had the two kickoff returns, which combined for 84 yards, and his two interceptions kept the Jaguars from gaining any momentum on offense. There is no doubt that Cromartie is the best athlete on the team and that he has the potential to be one of the league’s elite playmakers, but he must find consistency. His versatility and penchant for the big play on special teams is almost enough to make you forget his coverage of Dez Bryant on last week’s opening drive against the Cowboys. Almost.
3. Locked in
If there was a negative for the Jets, it was their second offensive series. On the drive’s second play, Sanchez sold the play-action, but then locked in on Derrick Mason. Jaguars cornerback William Middleton sat underneath, patiently waiting as Sanchez’s eyes never moved, waiting for Mason to make his cut. Sanchez locked in and Middleton made the interception. After a strong start to the game, Sanchez’s rookie-esque error showed that the third-year quarterback still has plenty of maturing to do. On their next offensive series, Sanchez was sacked and the Jets were forced into a three-and-out. Especially discouraging for fans of the green and white, he didn’t learn from his previous transgression. In the second quarter, Sanchez did the same thing as before, staring down Santonio Holmes on a pass intercepted by Rashean Mathis.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.