The New York Jets were able to avoid the first four-game losing streak of the Rex Ryan era by picking up a much-needed road win over the St. Louis Rams, ending a week of turmoil on the best note possible.
Their win came on the strength of a "Green Eggs and Ham" of defensive stops against the St. Louis Rams. They stopped the Rams on third downs and with turnovers. They stopped them through the air and on the ground. The Jets got their stops here and there, they got their stops everywhere.
Okay, so I'm not the cunning linguist that Dr. Seuss is, but after that opening touchdown at 3:48 in the first quarter, the Jets didn't allow another until 5:48 left in the fourth quarter.
In between, all they did was get stops, with three turnovers in the form of two fumbles and an interception, holding the Rams to 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) on third downs and allowing them to pick up just 15 total first downs.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford finished 23-of-44 (52.3 percent) for 170 yards (3.9 YPA), two touchdowns and an interception, with a 67.4 passer rating.
The Rams offense is not the greatest barometer for a defensive performance, but the stats themselves only tell part of the story of the effort from the Jets defense.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie laid a vicious hit on Danny Amendola to break up a key pass on 3rd-and-4, which would have otherwise been complete and moved the chains.
Safety Yeremiah Bell came all the way across the field to deflect a pass in the fourth quarter.
On a second-quarter run, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson pushed Rams guard Barry Richardson two yards back, directly into the lap of Rams running back Steven Jackson. Wilkerson also out-hustled Richardson and finished with a sack-fumble of Bradford.
It was that play which sparked a fire underneath the ice cold offense.
Those were just some of the individual efforts that helped the Jets come away with the win, but it was a resounding team performance all-around.
If you're looking for words from the defenders on how it felt, following the long week of media subterfuge, you're out of luck:
Bart Scott is ordering every Jets defensive player to say nothing but "both teams played hard." Threatening any that don't.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) November 18, 2012
The defense got a complementary performance from quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense. The Jets didn't turn the ball over on offense for just the second time this season. Given the stout performance on defense, they did exactly what they had to do, running the ball 41 times and throwing it just 21 times.
With a game against the Patriots on Thanksgiving, the Jets' competition will be tougher this week. But after that, they face the Cardinals, Jaguars, Titans, Chargers and Bills, so the schedule gets considerably easier.
If the Jets are going to turn their season around, it's going to take a long string of performances like what we saw from them on Sunday.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.
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