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First Quarter: Trading a Field Goal for a TD


Looks like the Jets are going to live and die by their rookie quarterback as they have all season.

Mark Sanchez, whose former USC teammate, Falcons left tackle Sam Baker, described as having a great passion for the game and someone with extraordinary confidence, entered the game with 11 touchdowns and 17 touchdowns.

Sanchez continued with his rookie form, throwing an early interception, which was made by Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud and turned into three points by the Falcons. But then Sanchez fell back on that confidence and threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards that victimized Falcons' rookie cornerback Christopher Owens.

So that brings me back to a relative difficulty the Falcons have experienced with Michael Turner "Michael Turner (American football)") out of the lineup (we'll get to that more in a second). Watching the Falcons get to the Jets' 1-yard line and then have to kick a field goal reminded me of the goal-line stand that the Eagles' made in their 34-7 win over the Falcons that made a huge impact on that game.

It also made me think of how they had to settle for field goals three times last week in the first half, which also ultimately spelled defeat in a 26-23 loss to the Saints.

The Jets own the NFL's best defense. The game could be low-scoring, so making the most of their scoring opportunities is of paramount importance for the Falcons.

On to the running backs. Fox sideline reporter Laura Okmin reported that the Falcons' Jerious Norwood banged up his knee and does not appear to be functioning at 100 percent. In addition, she said, Michael Turner, who has been working through an ankle sprain for five weeks now, rolled on his ankle and is trying to get back into the game and "testing it out." Turner was last seen on the broadcast wearing a cape to keep himself warm.

A few other notes:

According to the Web site of the Weather Channel, the temperature on the field is 32 degrees but feels like 21. But according to Falcons director of new media Dan Levak's Tweet, there are 24 mph gusts on the field. That's some frigid, difficult playing conditions. *

The referee is named Ron Winter. As FOX broadcaster Dick Stockton said, how appropriate. *

DeCoud's interception was his team-leading third interception and first since he had two against Chicago on Oct. 18. *

The Falcons broke the Jets' streak of stopping opponents from converting on 25 straight third-down tries. Impressive. *

Looks like Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis is getting the best of the match-up so far with Falcons' Pro-Bowl receiver Roddy White. White was called for an offensive pass interference penalty against Revis and then Revis had a pass defended against White. Earlier this week, Jets head coach Rex Ryan said of Revis that he "dominates" against Pro-Bowl-type talent. *


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