ReFo: Jets @ Seahawks, Week 10
The New York Jets’ season was never likely to get back on track in the Pacific Northwest, not with the Seahawks having one of the league’s best home field advantages. And so it proved, with Seattle running away to a comfortable three-score lead before icing the game in clinical fashion.
Mark Sanchez was once again ineffective as the pressure mounts on him, Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum with yet another loss in what is fast becoming a disastrous season for the Jets.
By contrast, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was extremely efficient as the Seahawks relied on the run game and their defense to throttle the game and come away with a comfortable win. These seem like two teams heading in different directions, with the Seahawks on the rise employing much of the same strategy that gave the Jets success in previous years.
New York Jets – Three Performances of Note
Perhaps the most damning indictment of the Jets this season is that they can perform this badly on one of the occasions when their offensive line shows up and looks like the unit of old. In this game all five members of the unit graded positively, with four of them firmly in the green. The starting five members accounted for one sack and one hit on Sanchez, but nothing else, keeping him as clean as he has been in the pocket all season long — and yet the offense was still ugly looking and floundered.
The line wasn’t quite as impressive in run blocking, but there were still good performances there, especially from left guard Matt Slauson and right tackle Austin Howard, who both had some impressive blocks. This is what the Jets used to great success early in the career of Sanchez — a punishing offensive line and a strong defense, but unfortunately Sanchez seems only to have regressed from that point and it no longer works. It may not be Tebow time, but it is time for a change in New York.
It’s quite impressive that after years of great play from a fairly unique player in the shape of Shaun Ellis, the Jets have somehow managed to replace him with a remarkably Shaun Ellis-esque player in Muhammad Wilkerson (+4.8). After filling out a little since coming into the league, Wilkerson is even built exactly like Ellis and has his predecessor’s knack for making plays all day long. Wilkerson notched a hit and a hurry in this game, but it was his work in the run game that stood out, as he was constantly finding ways to slip off blocks and wreak havoc at or around the line of scrimmage. The Jets’ defense might be struggling to maintain the levels it once attained, but they at least seem to have hit a home run with the selection of Wilkerson, who looks well capable of taking the mantle over from Ellis for years to come.
The Sanchez Swansong?
This game should have been the final nail in the coffin for the starting tenure of Sanchez (-4.1) in New York. At this point I’m still perfectly willing to believe it won’t be, such is the suicidal loyalty shown to him by Rex Ryan, but there is nothing left to defend anymore. The Jets protected him well, asked little of him in this game, and he still completed just 40.9 percent of his passes, failed to throw a touchdown, and threw a terrible red-zone interception. He completed just nine passes for 124 yards, and 75 of those came from two deep shots left of the numbers. At this point it’s becoming clear that heads will roll in New York by the end of the season, and the key for Ryan needs to be proving that he is relevant to the future of the franchise. To do that he needs to move on from Sanchez, even if it isn’t to Tebow.
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
Move Over Revis
He’s not there yet, but Richard Sherman (+4.8) is the next man up when it comes to staking a claim for the crown of shutdown corner. With no Revis until next season, he could well be the best corner in football this year, and this game was a vintage display of dominance. His interception of Sanchez was a fantastic play. He baited the Jets’ quarterback to make a throw that was covered all along by maintaining just enough distance from a route he allowed to pass him by that it looked open at a glance. His play is also becoming ever more smart and sophisticated. Despite playing press-man coverage on an island he is prepared to allow receivers past him if he knows they’re likely to only be running to the first-down markers. In all he was thrown at four times and didn’t allow a reception. He also intercepted Sanchez and broke up a pair of balls for as good a day in coverage as you can have without scoring.
It somehow seems unfair to Marshawn Lynch that he is forever tied to Adrian Peterson by comparison. The two players entered the league at the same time, and since that point Lynch has always been in Peterson’s shadow — but that shouldn’t take away from some fantastic running. With 124 yards on the ground, Lynch went over 1,000 for the season. He’s only the second runner to do that this season (after Peterson) and on 212 carries this year is averaging just short of 5 yards per tote of the rock. He also forced five missed tackles, including three on one play on the Seahawks’ final drive when they needed him to chew up yards and clock to ice the game. Lynch may not be Peterson, but he’s the next best thing, and the Seahawks are certainly in love with his play this season.
The Seahawks’ defense was rounding into one of the league’s most formidable units, and though they shut down the hapless Jets in this game, there were a couple of players who had enjoyed fine form over the first half of the season who seemed to go missing in this game. Chris Clemons notched just a single hit from 30 pass-rushing snaps as he worked against Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson for the most part, and run-stuffer Brandon Mebane was unable to anchor in the middle as the Jets were able to move him out of the hole with their interior blockers. Mebane had been comfortably our best-graded DT against the run early in the year, but after a couple of performances like this he has slipped to seventh. Seattle needs both of these players at their best for that defense to be truly intimidating.
– Thanks to one ugly looking pass to Sidney Rice for a touchdown, Golden Tate left the game with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
– The Seahawks allowed just six yards per passing attempt, suffocating the Jets in the air.
– Shonn Greene managed just 3.9 yards per attempt and failed to break a tackle in his 15 carries.
PFF Game Ball
There may be stiff competition for Darrelle Revis moving forward as the league’s best corner, and performances like this from Richard Sherman are the reason why.
Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam