FOXBORO - The Jets are not, by any standard measure of productivity, a great offense.
They are 26th in yards per game, 25th in pass yards per game and 23rd in points per game. Their No. 11 ranking in rushing is a bright spot, but some of the shine comes off that statistic when you realize their ball-carriers have fumbled four times (tied for second-most in the league) and the folks at Pro Football Focus have the Jets down as the second-worst run-blocking offense in football.
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So, how have they worked their way to 3-2?
Well, they have yet to go up against an offense that is better than 20th in the league in yards per game (Jacksonville), and two of their three wins have come in matchups with Cleveland and Miami -- the two lowest-scoring offenses in the NFL.
They've also gotten competent quarterback play of late. Josh McCown, 38, has a 90.5 rating (11.5 points above his career average) and has put together a 3-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the course of the last three weeks.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick lauded McCown's ability to extend plays and make good decisions.
"Very athletic guy. You can see his ability to run, extend plays, get out of trouble," Belichick said. "He’s got quickness. He’s got some speed. He plays on his feet well, has good feet in the pocket. But look, he’s a tough guy. He’s very smart. I don’t know what happened in all of the situations that he was in. I just know what I see on film and from our interactions with him competitively. He’s a good player."
With the help of a quick-hitting passing game that emphasizes shorter routes and limits risk, McCown is hitting on 71.4 percent of his passes, behind only Alex Smith as the most accurate quarterback in the league. McCown's adjusted completion percentage, which accounts for drops, batted passes and throwaways is 81.4, again, behind only Smith (85.2).
McCown has the fourth-quickest average time to throw in football (2.42 seconds) and he's completing 74 percent of his throws when blitzed, according to PFF.
"He’s accurate," Belichick said. "He gets the ball out quickly. He gets it to the open guy. If you make a mistake he is going to make you pay for it. If you line up in something that he can take advantage of then he can get his team into whatever the game plan play is, those types of things. Guys that are unblocked – he throws the hot or the sight-adjust or whatever is the appropriate part of the play. You don’t see him making a lot of mistakes."
While McCown isn't going to threaten the Patriots down the field in the same way that Cam Newton or Drew Brees did -- he's attempted 13 passes that have traveled 20 yards or more in the air this season, per PFF, 27th in the league -- Belichick knows he can't count on McCown to screw things up either.
"You see him throwing the ball accurately and you see him athletically getting out of some trouble," Belichick said. "He manages the team well. He’s good in close games at the end of the game, critical situations. I mean, there’s a lot to like about the guy."