Then Indianapolis adjusted to the Jets’ first-down tactics — no team adjusts in-game better than the Colts. In the first half, Mark Sanchez was 6-for-8 passing for 160 yards as Jersey/B jumped to a 17-6 lead. From then on until the final two minutes of garbage time, Sanchez was 8-for-18 for 97 yards and an interception. The Colts, who mainly play straight defense, blitzed Sanchez on every third-and-long in the second half, and it worked, leading to incompletions. Sanchez lacks the polish to realize an opponent was changing defensive tactics in-game. He’ll be able to pick those sorts of things up someday, but he couldn’t this time.
The Jets beat Cincinnati and San Diego in the postseason by sticking to the run, and gradually wearing down opposing defenses. Indianapolis did not wear down. The Colts held the Jets to 86 yards rushing. Indianapolis’ shutdown of the No. 1 NFL rushing attack was led by undrafted linebacker Gary Brackett, who threw his body around against the rush, but did not come off the field on passing downs. That’s the kind of performance one might expect from a finalist for the TMQ Non-Quarterback Non-Running Back NFL MVP. Supposedly the Colts’ front seven is undersized; they played big against the Jets’ power backs and three Pro Bowl offensive linemen.
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