Game 4: Defense Falters On Final Drive In Loss
Wasted Solid Effort By Giving Up Winning Points.
by Steve Saslow
The defense gave a great effort for most of the game including some individual spectacular efforts. When the game was on the line though they faltered and gave up the winning field goal. The offense struggled most of the game but woke up in the fourth quarter. Only if they could put it all together they would win a game. Here are our position by position grades:
Drew Bledsoe struggled most of the game but had an outstanding fourth quarter throwing two touchdown passes. He did manage the game well especially down the stretch. He finished with 197 yards passing on 16 of 29. Grade B+: Not the reason they lost. Did enough to win at the end.
Travis Henry struggled mightily gaining just 33 yards on 12 carries and was slowed by an ankle injury in the second half. He gave way to Willis McGahee who led the team with 42 yards rushing on 8 carries including a nice 21 yard run on a pitch play to convert a third and long. Daimon Shelton caught two passes for 22 yards. Grade C-: While Henry struggled it was nice to see McGahee get his reps.
Eric Moulds led the team with six carries for 54 yards but never made the big play. Lee Evans caught a bomb for the third game of the row, this one went for his first career touchdown. It was his only grab. Josh Reed was non existent again and may have been passed by Bobby Shaw on the depth chart. Shaw caught three passes for 37 yards including a nice 16 yard catch and run on the desperation final minute drive. Mark Campbell was quiet again until catching a 16 yard touchdown pass. Tim Euhus had the most extensive action of his career and caught his first two passes. Grade B-: Made some plays.
Jonas Jennings was beaten many times by John Abraham as the banged up unit gave up four sacks but for the most part Bledsoe had time to throw. With Trey Teague out they seemed to struggle opening up holes for the running game. They were much more disciplined as a unit not getting called for false starts or holding penalties. Grade B: Despite the lack of running game, played their most spirited game of the year.
Aaron Schobel was very active for the first time this year. He had his first sack to go along with a forced fumble and a pass defensed. He did cause havoc in the Jets backfield. Chris Kelsay had a sack while his mate Ryan Denney was in on three tackles. Sam Adams was active as he was in on five tackles. Pat Williams did not have a tackle but the two guys in the middle clogged things up well as Curtis Martin was held under 100 yards for the first time this year. Grade A: There best performance of the year.
London Fletcher was a tackling machine as he was in on a whopping 21 tackles, including 15 solo. Jeff Posey was more active than usual as he was in on five tackles and had an interception. Takeo Spikes had five tackles, one of them was for a loss. Grade B+: A bounce back day for this unit.
Terrence McGee played for the injured Troy Vincent and was picked on once again as Wayne Chrebet had a big game. Nate Clements did a fantastic job in pass coverage in this game and forced a fumble that Pierson Prioleau recovered. Prioleau was beaten a few times and was called for the pass interference penalty that setup the Jets lone touchdown. Izell Reese was very quiet having only one assist. Grade B: Not bad for the team's most banged up unit.
Brian Moorman didn't have one of his best days with the winds of the Meadowlands. He punted seven times for a 36.6 yard average. Terrence McGee averaged 23 yards on three returns. Rian Lindell did not attempt a field goal. Nate Clements had one punt return for 6 yards. The coverage units did give up a 34 yard punt return by Santana Moss. Grade C: Not one of their better days.
Mike Mularkey had enough and he let his offense know it. He was seen reading the offense the riot act in the fourth quarter on the sidelines. The result: two touchdowns, that's results. Unfortunately, where was it earlier in the year? The team did not quit on him although the Jets expected them too. Grade B: Doing everything they can to get in the win column.
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