[Editor Note: Zoltan returns with another great article. His last one was picked up by ESPN. Time to make him part of the staff]
Watching the playoffs and specially the games of the New York Jets keeps me wondering: How in the world could the Jaguars beat this team in “The Meadowland”? The Jets embarrassed the Cincinnati Bengals not once but twice in back-to-back weeks, the same Cincinnati Bengals that won the really hard AFC North and had a 6-0 divisional record. Then they defeated the San Diego Chargers in California, the team almost every expert said was the favorite to win the Super Bowl. The NY Jets are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and yet, not so long ago, the ’09 Jaguars beat them. How could they do it? Was there just luck; coincidence; or something else?
Well let’s see. Yeah the Jets were in a bad shape when the Jaguars meet them, having lost 4 of the 5 games before meeting in Week 10. But; they were the same team! They had that outstanding defense. They had the running game. Darrelle Revis was that impact player on that game like he is in this season. Then how could the Jaguars win?
Well one reason might be that the Jets have issues with teams with a good running game; which the Jaguars had on week 10(what happened with the rush attack from week 11 is another story…). The Dolphins won both games against the Jets; the Dolphins are also a powerful running team. So yeah the Jaguars have that advantage in my opinion.
But what was a major factor besides Maurice Drew’s fantastic performance in the Jaguars win?
Three things that were not frequent enough in 2009. First was (especially in the 1st half and the end of the game) very good offensive play calling. Dirk Koetter did his homework for that game. He often gave good answers to Rex Ryan’s defensive challenges. No matter that he called 5 running plays in a row (that ended up in a TD in the 1st Jaguars drive) he also called wise passing calls against Ryan’s blitz schemes-which also helped for scoring TDs.
But that game had one more thing that proves me that was not a lucky victory. Something the eagle eyed Jaguars fans said and missed over and over again. Both the offense and the defense performed very near in periods of the game to 100% of what they are capable of doing. There were moments when the offense played at its best against a very good defense. The second Indy game had something like that; except in this game the defense could helped out David Garrard and the offense in the second half. They took away the Jets biggest weapon-the ground attack; and they did (compared with other games) quite well against the passing game.
And the third key was in that victory-the Jaguars could finish that game. With the positive moment of the “09 season (Maurice Drew took a knee at the one yard line) the Jaguars can executed the game plan almost perfectly for 60 minutes! We see come from behind wins against the Rams; and the Bills-but they were not good caliber team-opposite of the Jets.
I agree and believe that talent wise that Jets team was way better then the ’09 Jaguars. We need more talent and we will have an opportunity to address that need soon. But I think in the Jets game we saw the future as well. Good game plans; offense and defense playing at the same time near 100%; and finishing in the game at crunch time. I think doing those three elements consistently and talent wise upgrade at the roster can transform this team real fast to become a real contender in 2010, even with the upcoming hard schedule the Jaguars have! The QB is a significant factor but I don’t think Mark Sanchez is a better QB then David Garrard; and yet his team is still standing! If all that happens-we could follow easily the footsteps of the ’09 Jets. And who knows maybe one of the participant team of the AFC Title game will be called the Jacksonville Jaguars one year from today…