Before we get to the film breakdown, a couple of thoughts:
1. The troubling thing about Mark Sanchez's right-arm/neck injury is that he didn't take a direct hit to the arm on the play, which tells me it may have been a pre-existing condition. There was very little impact from DE Jason Babin, yet his arm went dead after releasing the pass and he went to the ground like a tree falling in the forest. Even CBS analyst Rich Gannon wondered aloud how Sanchez could get hurt on that play. He got smacked in the facemask by Babin's helmet, so maybe that triggered something. It has all the signs of a pinched nerve, but Rex Ryan was evasive Monday. Okay, enough of the amateur-doctor hour.
2. Advice to Santonio Holmes on his next trip to the end zone: Act like you've been there before.
TIGHT-END ISSUES: The safeties always take the brunt of the criticism when a tight end has a big game, but in the case of Brent Celek's monster game, it was a team effort on the part of the Jets. CB Antonio Cromartie had man-to-man coverage on Celek's 26-yard TD reception. LBs Bart Scott and David Harris had coverages responsibilities on other completions. On his 73-yarder, Celek put a double move on Harris and cut across the middle, with S Eric Smith trailing. It was hard to pinpoint the guiltiest party, but it looked like there was a whole lot of bad going on.
CHASING A VICK-TORY: The Jets' pass rush was undisciplined at times, but QB Michael Vick made a handful of plays no other quarterback in the league could make. CB Kyle Wilson and LB Calvin Pace whiffed on potential sacks, costing the Jets a total of 40 yards on those two plays. At times, the Jets looked like they were playing tag, blindfolded.
It's almost impossible to sack Vick with a four-man rush, based on this season's stats, but the Jets sent four rushers on 15 of Vick's 25 dropbacks, unofficially (not counting spikes). He tore them apart, completing 11 of 14 for 138 yards and a TD (Celek), plus a nine-yard scramble. Their five-man rush wasn't any better; he went 4-for-6 for 126 yards and an INT (a Hail Mary at the end of the first half).
I'm surprised they didn't use a spy more often on Vick. Early on, I saw S Brodney Pool spying on one play, but it wasn't common. On Vick's 11-yard TD, the Jets rushed only three and left a gaping hole on the right side of their defense. Vick showed his remarkable speed and beat Wilson to the pylon with some serious after-burners.
VERTICAL VICK: The Jets entered the game allowing a league-low 37.7 completion percentage on passes of 11+ yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information. No matter. Vick completed 10 of 14 (71.4 percent) passes for 251 yards of that distance, accounting for 91.6 percent of his passing yardage. The Jets entered the game allowing a league-low 37.7 completion percentage to opposing passers on throws of that distance.
Sorry, but you can't blame all that on the absence of injured S Jim Leonhard. There was plenty of blame to go around, everything from the pass rush to the play calling.
SWING AND A MISS: Conservatively, the Jets missed nine tackles, by my count. The worst sequence came on LeSean McCoy's 33-yard TD run. Scott knifed into the backfield, but missed him four yards behind the line. DE Muhammad Wilkerson had a shot behind the line, but he, too, came up empty, one of three misses by the rookie.
On McCoy's nine-yard TD run, he made a great cutback to the Jets' backside. Harris and Scott overpursued to the front side and were caught out of position. On McCoy's 1-yard TD run, Pace couldn't get off a block by Celek, allowing him to get to the outside.
BAD PASS PRO: Look, we all know RT Wayne Hunter (two sacks allowed) had a poor game, but let's give some credit to the Eagles. They did a nice job of scheming for the Jets. In the first 13 games, the Eagles were one of the most conservative pass-rushing teams in the league, usually relying on their front four. But they changed it up, using more five-man rushes than usual. They changed fronts, using two down linemen on occasions, and also caused confusion with stunts.
The Jets blamed it on being in too many third-and-long situations, but only two of the four sacks came on obvious passing downs.
There were some nice moments for the offensive line. Sanchez was afforded terrific protection on his 41-yard pass to TE Dustin Keller (great catch) and his 25-yard TD pass to Holmes. On the TD, Hunter did a nice job of riding Babin out of the play. It was a seeing-eye throw by Sanchez, who threaded it between two defenders. I'm still trying to figure out why the Eagles put a LB and S on Holmes.
ODDS AND ENDS: Sanchez completed only seven passes to WRs, including just one to Plaxico Burress. In the previous game, he had only three. What gives? ... LB Aaron Maybin spent more time behind Vick than in front of him. He constantly took himself out of the play with wide rushes ... Clearly, the Eagles did a good scouting of scouting the Jets and we ready for those screen passes.
PERSPECTIVE, PLEASE: Celek had the same amount of receiving yardage (156) as the Chiefs' Tyler Palko had passing yardage the previous week against the Jets.