Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Five plays that shaped the game
By Rich Cimini
A look back at the key plays in the Jets' 7-6 win over the Cards:
1. Interception No. 1: Mark Sanchez began quite possibly his final game as the starting QB by making a terrible decision. On the Jets' first play from scrimmage, he was pressured up the middle, threw off his back foot and lofted a balloon down the middle that was picked off by former Jets S Kerry Rhodes. Sanchez broke every QB rule in the book.
The Cards ran a clever five-man rush, with ILBs Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon twisting in the middle. Sanchez panicked, failing to see open receivers Bilal Powell and Konrad Reuland. Officially, Jeremy Kerley was the intended receiver, but the pass was so off line that it's hard to tell if it was intended for Kerley or Dustin Keller.
2. Interception No. 2: Once again, it was Rhodes. Sanchez has a blind spot when it comes to reading safeties. On a play-action pass out of shotgun, he kept his eyes on Jeff Cumberland the entire time. Cumberland ran a deep seam. Sanchez got the ball over the head of LB Quentin Groves, but he failed to see Rhodes in a center-field position. Sanchez's eyes drew Rhodes to the play.
3. Interception No. 3: Sanchez threw three picks in the first 19 minutes of the game; some quarterbacks go a month with only three interceptions. This time, he made a nice throw on a deep ball Chaz Schilens. He stepped up nicely in the pocket and let 'er rip. CB Patrick Peterson made a highlight-film play, actually scooping the ball off the side of Schilens' helmet. You know you're having a bad day when a play like that happens.
4. Fooled 'ya: The Jets committed a special-teams lapse that could've cost them the game. With the Cards punting from their 25 with 1:11 left in the first half, the Jets put eight men at the line of scrimmage, overloading five to the punter's left. The Cards recognized it instantly. Up-back Rashad Johnson took a direct snap and bolted around right end for 40 yards, setting up a field goal. Eric Smith and Demario Davis were on that side, but Smith stunted up the middle, leaving Davis to seal the edge. He didn't.
5. Big Mac attack: Greg McElroy threw his first career touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, a one-yard toss to Cumberland. It was a well-designed play. The Jets loaded up with three TEs and two RBs. McElroy ran a play-action boot to the right, receiving a terrific block by RG Brandon Moore. That gave McElroy the edge. His first read was to run, but he spotted Cumberland and floated a pass to him. Cumberland's spike ended up in the stands. McElroy, thinking souvenir, looked into the crowd for the ball. A kind fan tossed it back to him.