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We asked for a blowout and we got one.
The Jets started fast on Saturday afternoon against the Jaguars, looked lost for a short while in the second quarter, and then overwhelmed their visitors during the second half in a 32-3 romp at the Meadowlands. The key ingredient to the win was a defense that looked nothing like the group that spent three quarters getting humbled by the Cowboys last week.
Things got started early when Muhammed Wilkerson dropped Luke McCown for a safety on the first Jaguars possession. The day wouldn't get much better for McCown, who'd won the Jacksonville starting job over David Garrard in a move widely seen as a way for the Jags to avoid paying Garrard's contract for this season.
McCown completed just four passes and was intercepted four times, including back-to-back throws in the third quarter that signaled the end of his afternoon. The rookie Blaine Gabbert replaced him when the Jags got the ball in the fourth quarter and played well enough to make you think that the McCown era in Jacksonville will be awfully short.
When a defense catches as much praise as the Jets unit, they are supposed to do just what they did to Jacksonville on Sunday. They set the tone early and never let up for one moment -- something that stands in sharp contrast to the performance against the Cowboys when the Jets looked like an overhyped unit incapable of changing the nature of a game.
This week they rushed the passer, swamped the run and created turnovers with the kind of fervor that we expect to see every week. The Jags aren't much in the way of opposition, but that's all the more reason for the team to come up with a performance like this.
The news wasn't totally good. Mark Sanchez continued to alternate between very good (two touchdowns, a very impressive first drive) and atrocious (two awful interceptions), and Nick Mangold left early in the game with an ankle injury.
Mangold never returned and the Jets will need him when they return to the competitive portion of their schedule next week. They have three straight road games against the Raiders, Patriots and Ravens -- three games that will be tough to win even if they have Mangold in the fold.
Thanks to the way the defense played on Sunday, the confidence level for those games should be pretty high. These were the Jets we thought we'd get last week.