The New York Jets hope they were playing the part of a bad team on Halloween instead of actually being one.
The Jets (5-2) were shut out at New Meadowlands Stadium, 9-0, on Sunday by the Green Bay Packers. This was the first time New York had been held scoreless since a 10-0 loss to the Chicago Bears on Nov. 19, 2006.
“All of it’s disappointing, from the beginning to the end” center Nick Mangold said.
Packers (5-3) kicker Mason Crosby hit three field goals for his team’s only points. None of the kicks were easy though. The wind inside the stadium was swirling and resulted in one missed opportunity for Crosby in the second quarter, as well as a failed attempt for Jets kicker Nick Folk in the third.
“It was strange,” Crosby said. “It was a place I’d never felt like the wind actually coming from both sides on the field goal attempts. That was a little different.”
That was an interesting comment from a guy who makes his living kicking in one of the coldest and most challenging stadiums in all of football: Lambeau Field.
“I had a feeling I was going to play a pretty big role in this,” Crosby said. “I was happy I was able to execute the way I did when I put those points on the board.”
The Green Bay defense deserves as much of the credit as Crosby for the team’s win. Despite surrendering 237 total yards of offense to the Jets, they only allowed them in the red zone once. That lone drive ended in Folk’s missed 37-yarder.
“We’ve definitely felt like we’ve had a good team all year,” Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said. “As a defense we’ve felt like we just haven’t been clicking on all cylinders for whatever reason as a full team. Today we started to.”
Hawk said last Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings proved to be a valuable experience for the defense, especially in late-game situations. They faced several of those against the Jets, including two fourth-down attempts near the end of regulation.
Their first stop came on 4th-and-8 from the Green Bay 35, when Mark Sanchez missed wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. The second took place three minutes later on 4th-and-11 from the Jets 22. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacked Sanchez on third down and then forced him to throw the ball away one play later.
“We knew it was four-down territory for them,” said Matthews, who leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks. “They needed some points so we made a big play.”
“That was big. Any time you can stop a team on fourth down that says a lot about your defense and the character of the guys out there on the field,” said Packers defensive lineman Howard Green, who was cut by the Jets last week. “This was a great win by the team and we’re looking forward to next week.”
Sanchez (16-for-38, 2 INT) struggled to find consistency all afternoon. Aside from a 49-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery (four catches, 89 yards) in the third, the second-year arm missed his targets often. When he did get the ball to his receivers, however, they failed to hang on to it.
The Jets ground offense couldn’t muster much against the Packers defense, as well. LaDainian Tomlinson (16 carries, 54 yards) received a bulk of the workload, while Shonn Greene had just six touches for 22 yards.
Despite the poor offensive showing, the Jets defense deserves credit for keeping them within one score for much of the game. Linebacker Jason Taylor feels otherwise.
“”We lost; there are no moral victories in this league,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t good enough.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers only racked up 170 yards in the air and the ground game compiled 81.
“They did some good things on defense, took away some of our concepts we were trying to do,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers top target, Greg Jennings (six catches, 81 yards), said the offense didn’t capitalize on as many opportunities as they should have.
“It’s one of those teams where you have to take advantage when they give you that chance, and they gave us a lot of chances and we just were a little off here, a little off there,” Jennings said. “It’s a game of inches and if we can connect on some of those then it’s a totally different ballgame. At the same time, we came through when we needed to.”
In Week Five, the Packers knew their next three games were going to be tough. Rodgers admitted the Jets were the best of the trio.
“We talked a lot about how important these next three games were facing a good Minnesota team at home in a primetime game, facing maybe the best team in the league, playing that way, on the road, and coming back to play a Dallas team that’s going to be hungry,” Rodgers said.
While the Packers head home to face a struggling Cowboys team, the Jets travel to Detroit. In years past this would be an easy victory, but these days the Lions are turning heads.
The Jets turned some heads on Sunday, too – in the other direction