Week 2 for the New York Jets was all about redemption.
Whether it was individual players, coaches, or units, everyone came through.
As a team, given the chance to show that they are contenders, they responded.
The spotlight seemed to shine a little brighter on the Jets after CBS switched to the end of the Ravens-Bengals right before the Jets-Patriots game got underway. The Bengals stopped the Ravens on third down, and again on fourth down, to end the game. It made you think the Ravens weren't as good as they looked on Monday night against the Jets...and then made you think perhaps the Jets were no good at all.
And the first quarter of the Jets game didn't do much to help matters.
Just like Monday night, though, after being outplayed for a stretch, the Jets were still in the game - in this case it was scoreless after one quarter.
It was in the first quarter we saw our first indication the ship had been righted. Instead of looking like a disaster, Kyle Wilson made a couple of nice tackles - once stopping Kevin Faulk behind the line of scrimmage. He missed a sack on Tom Brady on what turned out to be a big third down completion, but that drive ended with a missed field goal. Wison had a nice game, later breaking up a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski - Wilson looked more like the guy who had a great preseason.
Redemption number two came in the second quarter, when the Jets fell behind 7-0. The coaches opened up the playbook! I don't know if the credit here goes to Brian Schottenheimer, who let Mark Sanchez play his game, or Sanchez, who looked a lot more comfortable, but the offense responded to that first touchdown with a touchdown pass of their own. Then, after the Patriots scored in the final two minutes of the half (what else is new?), the Jets threw the ball around and got a field goal going into the half. (I hate that whenever the Jets win a coin toss they defer, but it worked out well Sunday. They not only scored to end the half, but got the ball to open the second half (thought they didn't do anything there).
Sanchez looked great, going 21 of 30 for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. He got help from his receivers, who may not have dropped a pass all day. Dustin Keller, who had a couple of bad drops last week, had a monster game - 7 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Braylon Edwards, who made himself look like an idiot with a taunting penalty and another possible non-call after his 2-point conversion, wasn't involved in drops Monday night because he wasn't involved in the game at all. He looked like an All-Pro on Sunday.
And the defense played great. They held the Patriots to 5-for-11 on third down, which isn't great, but way better than the Ravens' success rate last week (11-for-19). They forced three big turnovers from Tom Brady, and did a lot of it without Darrelle Revis (and didn't seem to miss Kris Jenkins all that much). (Incidentally, the go-ahead touchdown drive by the offense came with Nick Mangold in the trainer's room with a reported shoulder injury.)
So the Jets are 1-1, right where I expected them to be (though the road map of how they got there is not what I thought it would be - in other words, they should have beaten the Ravens). They're at a critical point right now - they can't let their foot off the gas pedal. They just started to accelerate with their win over the Patriots - they need to build off of that momentum and not slow down.
Next up - a Sunday night matchup with the 2-0 Dolphins. The same team that beat the Jets twice a year ago. The team standing in the way of the Jets and first place. We no longer have to worry about the Jets having to dig themselves out of a hole in the standings. It's now time for them to take their spot atop the standings.
They've redeemed themselves.