His team is once again shoulder to shoulder with the elite of the AFC after Monday night's 41-14 rout of Miami. So Jets coach Herman Edwards turned his attention Tuesday to something that is just as important as running at the front of the pack: staying there.
"Right now, after seven games in the AFC, you have one of the best records," Edwards said, describing the mind-set of his 6-1 Jets. "You're with one of those teams that has the best record. Now what do you do? Play, you've got to win. You've got to keep winning, because you know something's going to happen. If you keep winning, something good will happen for you."
Edwards hopes to build off the many good things that happened for the Jets in their overpowering victory over the Dolphins. The Jets gained 472 net yards of offense, their highest total of the season, while holding Miami to 259 yards, the second fewest they have surrendered.
The defense forced three turnovers; Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes. And both Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan gained more than 100 yards rushing.
"It was an overall good win for us," Edwards said. "We functioned well as an offense, defense, special teams. That's the first time all three phases really clicked in for us."
Against Miami, the Jets had their most well-rounded outing against a division rival and a defense that, entering the game, was ranked fifth in the NFL. What made the victory all the more satisfying to Edwards was that it came after last week's mistake-filled, 13-7 loss to New England, and it allowed the Jets to keep pace with the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are also 6-1 in the AFC.
The Jets scored on six straight possessions and thoroughly outplayed an opponent after winning five games by a margin of 8 points or fewer. The Jets faced a moribund opponent but seemed to view it as a breakout game because they handled the 1-7 Dolphins exactly as a top-tier team should have.
"I think people that hadn't watched us a whole lot probably think, `These guys are pretty good,"' Edwards said. "But I think for us as a football team, we knew all along, we won some games, but we never really kind of played all together, just going. That came out last night. Now, the whole key is to continue to do that."
The Jets will try to do so on Sunday at Buffalo against a 2-5 Bills team that bears more than a little resemblance to the Dolphins with a mostly punchless offense (ranked sixth worst in the NFL) and a stout defense (ranked second in the league).
To beat the Bills, the Jets might borrow from the formula they used Monday night. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of their showing against the Dolphins was how thoroughly the Jets dominated the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense.
Led by center Kevin Mawae, the offensive line manhandled the Dolphins' defensive front, clearing wide running lanes for Martin and Jordan, who might have typified the concept of a balanced running game. Each gained 115 yards (Martin on 19 carries, Jordan on 14) and scored on 25-yard runs.
The Jets were so dominant on the line that they were able to run the ball more than twice as much as they threw it and rushed for 275 yards, the most by any team in a game this season.
Edwards said that the entire line -- left tackle Jason Fabini, left guard Pete Kendall, Mawae, right guard Jonathan Goodwin and right tackle Kareem McKenzie -- deserved game balls for their efforts.