Thanks in large part to Plaxico Burress, the 4-3 Jets are back on track heading into their bye week. Burress caught just four passes for 25 yards but made the most of each opportunity. He looked like the Plaxico of old after bringing in three crucial touchdown passes, tying a career high while propelling the Jets to an impressive and thrilling 27-21 comeback victory against a formidable San Diego opponent.
Fresh off a two-year prison sentence, Plaxico Burress signed a one-year contract with the Jets on July 31 worth approximately $3.017 million. The 6-foot-5 Burress towers over most defensive backs and presents enormous mismatch problems for defenses, especially in the red zone area. The former Super Bowl champion with the Giants was expected to be the second passing option behind Santonio Holmes and a valuable weapon and deep threat for quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Coming into Sunday’s game, however, Burress’ production had been negligible. Through six games, Plaxico had made just 14 receptions for 218 yards and two touchdowns. But the blame was not solely on Burress’ shoulders. The entire Jets offense, both the pass and run game, was painfully stagnant and seemed to only display consistency with their three-and-out frequency.
The whispers and finger-pointing were in full effect. Perhaps Burress was not suited for this offense. Perhaps he was over the hill and his long prison sentence had more of a detrimental impact on his football skills than the Jets had expected. Perhaps Shonn Greene, who had compiled just 314 yards, two touchdowns and a mediocre 3.4 yards-per-carry average, was unsuited to be an every-down back in the NFL. Many fans were also calling for the head of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer due to his questionable play-calling and unwillingness to take shots down the field.
Sunday’s victory over the Chargers was more than a win in the standings. The Jets also managed to silence the unending wave of criticisms and controversy, for the time being at least.
New York’s offense put 27 points on the board against a talented and capable defensive team. Mark Sanchez, although throwing for just 173 yards, completed three touchdown passes, all to Burress. Shonn Greene had one of his most impressive games as an NFL RB, running for 112 yards on 20 carries. His 5.6 yards-per-carry average this afternoon was more than two full yards better than his season average coming into the day.
The swings during an NFL season can be extreme and turbulent. It’s remarkable what a difference two weeks has made in the world of Gang Green fans. It seemed the world was ending for the 2-3 Jets following their three-game losing streak earlier in the season.
Now, after two consecutive impressive home victories, the 4-3 Jets head into their bye week feeling like a new team. New York will be invigorated and revitalized for their divisional matchup against the surprisingly competitive 4-2 Bills on November 6.