Coming off last week's disappointing 31-16 loss to the Giants in their first preseason game, the New York Jets had a disappointing 9-3 win against the Carolina Panthers. How can any victory be disappointing? While the first-team offense looked good last week, this week it seemed like it didn't show up. If not for Nick Folk's three field goals (one a 49 yarder), the team would have suffered an embarrassing shutout.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like he couldn't find his game last night, completing five of 10 passes for a minuscule twelve yards during his truncated playing time. Mark Brunell was no better, with three completions in seven attempts for a measly two yards. In total, the offense got three first downs and a total of forty-five yards in the first half.
Coach Rex Ryan must be wondering about his second-year quarterback and that sluggish offense. Rookie Joe McKnight had four carries and a total of five yards in the first half, and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was beaten by Everette Brown, who promptly sacked Sanchez. The only offensive bright spot was LaDainian Tomlinson, gaining 26 yards on three carries against the Panthers' first team defense in the first half.
The good news last night was that the defense looked very sharp in the first half. Some fans might be asking, "Darrelle Revis who?" after watching the defense shut down the Panthers. Highlights were Jim Leonhard's interception and a sack of Carolina's QB Matt Moore. Rex Ryan should be very pleased with what he saw in the first half, with the Panthers getting just two first downs and 67 total yards. It was a very impressive night for the Jets' D.
Overall, a win is a win. Yet, fans will recall that this team was 9-7 last year, even with the league's best defense, because they had trouble scoring points. And last night's game seems to suggest a similar problem brewing this year. If the first team defense continues as it did last night, they are going to be very stingy with opposing teams, but Sanchez and the offense had better start getting things together and fast.