Well, at least it wasn’t a Hail Mary this week.
Having put together a 20-point fourth quarter to overturn a 23-7 deficit, the Texans once again lost in heartbreaking fashion, as the Jets went the length of the field in less than a minute with no timeouts and came away with a rare regulation-time victory.
The Jets were in control for most of this one, but Houston was able to capitalize on the Jets’ banged-up offensive line to get back into it, only to become the third straight team to see their hopes dashed by late-game heroics from Santonio Holmes. Holmes’ 6-yard touchdown catch with ten seconds to go proved to be the game winner and lifted the Jets to 8-2 on the season.
Jets: Three performances of note
Although the Jets won, the performance of Wayne Hunter (-7.0) is a major cause for concern. After a first-quarter knee injury to Damien Woody, Hunter filled in at right tackle and gave up a sack, a hit and eight pressures, as Mark Sanchez had to constantly escape the rush in the second half. If Woody is unable to go on Thursday night, the Jets might like to consider leaving more extra blockers in to help Hunter out, because that much pressure is a recipe for disaster.
Somehow, the Jets were able to win despite the relentless pressure, and for that they have Sanchez (+4.7) to thank. The second-year signal-caller willed the Jets downfield for the winning score for the third week in a row, showing good pocket presence, decision making, touch and a big arm — and that was just on the game-winning drive. Sanchez only had a passer rating of 53.2 when pressured, so that underlines how important it will be to protect him better in the coming weeks.
It’s about time somebody paid tribute to Mike DeVito (+3.5). One of the most consistent 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL, DeVito had yet another solid display to anchor a run defense that was able to hold the league’s leading rusher, Arian Foster, to 84 yards on 22 carries. He’ll never give you much in the way of pass rush, but DeVito took on blockers all day, blew up a screen pass for a 5-yard loss and stripped the ball loose from Foster for a key turnover.
Texans: Three performances of note
They call him “Super Mario,” but after this performance, it might be time to break out some new superlatives. Mario Williams (+7.1) was absolutely relentless, recording two sacks, one QB hit and eight pressures. The Jets entered the game having given up nine QB hits and 43 pressures all season, but — thanks in large part to Williams’ efforts — Houston recorded seven hits and 24 pressures despite the fact they only blitzed 20 times. Williams did a lot of his damage against Hunter, whose struggles were documented above, but not all of it. He also gave Pro Bowler D’Brickashaw Ferguson (-5.0) a hard time, as Ferguson uncharacteristically gave up five pressures and a hit.
Also on defense, the Texans got an excellent performance from veteran Kevin Bentley (+4.5), who registered a team-high five stops. He was good against the run with seven tackles and recorded one of the hits on Sanchez, but check out these numbers in coverage: thrown at five times, two catches, 1 yard. Toss in a fumble recovery and an interception in the fourth quarter and it all adds up to a second outstanding individual performance on the Texans’ defense. It’s just too bad Houston was let down by the secondary and their league-worst pass defense.
Back in 2006, when the Jets released Joel Dreessen (+2.2), a former sixth-round pick who had only caught five passes in his rookie season, they could have been forgiven for thinking that it was unlikely he’d ever amount to much. On Sunday he proved otherwise with the first 100-yard game of his career. Making the most of his opportunity for increased playing time following an injury to Owen Daniels, Dreessen caught all four passes thrown his way for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Cornerback Kyle Wilson (-0.9) again split time with Drew Coleman as the third cornerback and was okay in coverage, but had a bad missed tackle on Foster in the flat. … Fullback John Conner (+0.5) was in on just six plays offensively this week, but did add a special teams tackle. … Running back Joe McKnight just played on special teams, but did a good job as the primary gunner and added two tackles.
Houston rotated five cornerbacks during the game and first-round pick Kareem Jackson (+1.3) was actually the only one with a positive rating, although he did get credit for breaking up a pass on what probably should have been a pass-interference call. … Daryl Sharpton (+0.5) was good against the run, but LaDainian Tomlinson beat him for an important 21-yard catch on the last drive. … Earl Mitchell (-0.4) was on the field for 21 snaps and recorded two stops. … Cornerback Sherrick McManis and tight end Garrett Graham played sparingly.
After going 9 of 9 for 106 yards and a touchdown when throwing to his left last week, Sanchez went 7 of 8 for 95 yards throwing to his right this week. … Eight Texans players missed tackles. … Braylon Edwards has only dropped two passes all season — and seven in 25 games since joining the Jets.