It wasn’t easy to know what to expect from a game between a team seemingly headed for a high draft choice that was coming off a win in a high-scoring game and a team challenging for a divisional title that had just lost a game where the two teams combined for nine points. As it turned out, the Lions and Jets met somewhere in the middle.
In a sloppy game that saw the teams combine to rack up over 200 yards in penalties, the Jets finally played mistake-free football for the last five minutes of regulation and overcame a 20-10 deficit to win in overtime and deny the Lions their first back-to-back wins since 2007.
At the halfway point of the season, the Jets have as many wins as anybody, although at least half of them have been scrappy, down-to-the-wire affairs. For the Lions, they may be at least a year away from contending for a playoff spot, but their abundance of young potential was on display in this game, although they ultimately lacked the poise to hang on for the win.
Jets: Three performances of note
Although he didn’t play particularly well for three and half quarters, the main story behind the Jets’ come-from-behind win was the performance of Mark Sanchez (+3.7). Sanchez passed for a career-high 336 yards and completed 10 of his last 12 passes to lead the Jets back from a 10-point deficit. The Jets went to a no-huddle offense with 4:26 to go and were able to drive for a quick touchdown, with Sanchez making a couple of clutch throws to Dustin Keller and finishing off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. They then got the ball back with just under two minutes to go and he was able to get them into field-goal range to tie the game as time expired. In overtime, his 52-yard strike to Santonio Holmes set up the game-winning field goal. While he made a few mistakes earlier on, could the way he closed out the game represent a coming-of-age moment?
The other big storyline was on defense, where it looks like Revis Island is back in business. Darrelle Revis (+2.7) was matched up against Calvin Johnson and held him to just one catch for 13 yards, breaking up the other three passes thrown his way, including a long bomb on the game’s first play. Johnson had caught at least four passes in every other game so far this season.
One unwanted side-effect of Revis’ dominance was that the Lions instead targeted slot cornerback Drew Coleman (-2.7). Coleman had been playing well earlier in the year — and was even in the starting lineup while Revis was recovering from his hamstring injury — but gave up six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Lions: Three performances of note
Julian Peterson (-4.3) rounded off a difficult day with the costliest error of the game. His late-hit penalty on LaDainian Tomlinson moved the Jets into field goal range with just under a minute remaining. Peterson was mostly employed in coverage, only rushing the passer five times all day, and gave up six catches for 59 yards on just seven throws in his direction. He also had the third-worst run defense grade on the team.
On offense, the Lions were limited by their inability to get the running game going. This was particularly costly at the end of the game, where they had three consecutive three-and-outs to keep the Jets’ hopes alive. Rob Sims (-5.6) in particular was overmatched. The Lions gained just 3 yards on five carries on runs between over left guard. Sims also gave up two pressures in pass protection.
The best offensive weapon for the Lions was Nate Burleson (+2.9), who dominated against Coleman. He was only thrown to eight times, but caught seven of them for 113 yards and a touchdown. Burleson’s rating would have been higher, but he let himself down with some sub-standard blocking.
The Jets haven’t been getting much production from their rookies to this point. Kyle Wilson saw action on two plays defensively, having been exclusively a special-teamer for the last few weeks. … John Conner saw action on just eight plays at fullback, but his run blocking was excellent (+1.4). Conner also recovered a fumble — on a punt return by Wilson.
Running Back Jahvid Best (-1.0) was held to 48 yards on 16 carries, but added five catches for 40 yards. …Ndamukong Suh (+0.4) had a couple of stops and one pressure, but his missed extra point (yes, you read that correctly) was costly. … Amari Spievey (+3.3) had a great game in run defense, as the Lions routinely put one of their safeties in the box and they combined for 14 tackles.
Eleven of Best’s 16 carries went for 2 yards or less, netting minus-1 yard. … Matthew Stafford was 14 for 15 on short passes over the middle. Otherwise, he was 6 for 21. … Jets lineman Wayne Hunter saw action on a season-high 19 snaps, including two on defense. … Jets wideout Jerricho Cotchery, who struggled last week, saw action on only four plays in the first quarter.