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Jets' comeback win exposes weaknesses

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Sept. 12, 2011 @ 3:30 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

The Jets could not have asked for a worse start to the season. Tony Romo and the Cowboys marched downfield on their opening possession and WR Dez Bryant torched the Jets' defense twice en route to a 7-0 lead.

How did the Jets' offense respond? With a three-and-out.

In a game of two quarterbacks known for being mistake-prone, it was Romo who made the biggest errors, and Sanchez who took advantage. The Jets rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter for just the third time in franchise history and exited the Ryan Bowl with a 27-24 victory.

Despite Sanchez's poise under pressure and a big blocked punt by Joe McKnight, the victory raised concerns regarding a Jets team that's looking to reach its third AFC championship game in a row.

The PFW Spin

Jets fans would be quick to point to last year's season opener — a 10-9 loss to the Ravens — as reason to not be worried about a Week One hiccup. The win against the Cowboys on Sunday night, though, brought to the forefront some things to keep a close eye on against a weaker opponent, Jacksonville, in Week Two.

  • Mark Sanchez, as he always does, stepped up when the team needed it most. He dropped back to pass 48 times and threw for 335 yards, the second highest yardage total of his career. However, he also threw a bad interception, lost a fumble and completed less than 60 percent of his throws. He looked much more comfortable when the team was trailing and in the two-minute drill — he completed 5-of-6 passes for 56 yards when operating out of the no-huddle, and both touchdown passes came on drives where the Jets were using a hurry-up attack. Week One showed what we knew about Sanchez — he has the tools to be a great quarterback and is very good under pressure, but he didn't play like a quarterback who made the Year Three jump that Jets fans were hoping to see.
  • Granted, ORT Wayne Hunter went up against a double-digit sack artist who is a Defensive MVP candidate in OLB DeMarcus Ware, but Hunter had a rough night. Ware had two sacks, and it appears as if the Jets will need to help Hunter more on the right side.
  • In Shonn Greene's first game as the Jets' bellcow back, he rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries. Granted, New York played from behind most of the night, but Greene's 2.6-yard rushing average was dismal.
  • The Jets gave up 326 passing yards and CB Antonio Cromartie lost out on two jump balls in the endzone. The safety play could be a bigger concern. TE Jason Witten had six catches for 110 yards, including a 64-yard catch-and-run. The Jets face another top-notch tight end next week in Marcedes Lewis and have to face the Patriots' talented tandem twice this season.

Don't get me wrong — this was more than just "a win is a win." It was very impressive to come back the way the Jets did. LaDainian Tomlinson still has not lost a step, Plaxico Burress made big plays in his first regular-season game in almost three years and the defense forced three turnovers and sacked Romo four times. It's one thing to have Week One jitters after a limited offseason on an emotional night, but if the weaknesses linger against the Jaguars, then Rex Ryan's crew will have a lot of work to do.

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