(Long Island, N.Y.) The Jets take some well deserved criticism, so it only seems fair to give them credit where it is due. By staving off potential ‘elimination’ with a victory this past Sunday in St. Louis, they find themselves 4-6 and only a few games out of first place. Getting a little ahead of ourselves? Yes, so let’s take it down a few notches.
It is true that if they somehow find a way to beat New England on Thursday night, the Jets will be one game closer to their divisional rivals and have ended up with a split of the season series. But beating the Rams is a totally different accomplishment than besting the perennial Super Bowl contender.
More impressive than the win itself was the way that Rex Ryan was able to get his team to focus on actually playing football after a week full of torrential locker room squawking. Deflecting and defending became euphemisms rather than action on the field after the anonymous quotes about Tim Tebow came to light. Even owner Woody Johnson felt the need to address the media and try to put it to rest.
Ryan pointed to the pressure being put on the team as originating from the “outside in,” and he was able to back up his claim that the locker room is a tight knit one, regardless of the public perception. If the truth even lies somewhere in the middle, the results prove that it leans towards the latter.
“I think that all of the hard work on the practice field and in the classroom paid off,” the fourth year head coach said. “Our guys have been working extremely hard. We needed a win in the worst way.”
Now they must build on that and still take it one week at a time. If they can get the same type of efficiency out of Mark Sanchez the rest of the way, all of the Tebow chatter will go away and allow the former USC Trojan an opportunity to return to his 2009 and 2010 form.
“It seems that in our toughest times, we end up playing our best football,” the quarterback said. “It’s a fast way to lose your hair or turn your hair gray, but whatever it takes to win, we’ve got to get wins. I think this team can really turn this around. We’ve shown we can handle pressure situations before. We’ve shown we can play well on the road and at home.
“Now we just have to keep building off of it.”
And that begins with the primetime game at MetLife Stadium versus New England, who beat the Jets in overtime earlier this season. It was a game that the Jets could have – and should have – won, so it behooves them to make up for that. Any time these two teams face off, it figures to be a good one. Their recent history is like a soap opera with so many turns and it would be a great addition if the Jets can get the job done.
And wouldn’t you know it – that would quell the criticism for at least another week.