Initial Reaction – 1-0: New York Jets Pull Out Stunning Win

Initial reaction to the New York Jets stunning opening day win, 18-17, over the Tampa Bay Bucs


Admit it, you were cursing Rex Ryan and his overrated, un-clutch defense after Tampa Bay took a 17-15 lead with 34 seconds left. A terrific all around effort from his unit and an encouraging debut from Geno Smith was about to go to waste because of one ill-timed blitz and one missed tackle. The media would pile on and revel in the Jets 0-1 start. Yet, today wasn’t a day for the “LOLJETS” – Today was a day for Rex and his team to pull a victory out of thin air and let Jets fans have something to smile about. Yes, they got a major hand from a poorly coached, undisciplined and overrated Tampa team but wins are wins and we’ll take them all.

It was a bizarre and thrilling finish at MetLife today. Smith took over at the 20 yard line with the previously mentioned 34 seconds left, hooked up with Kellen Winslow Jr for a 25 yard completion and then took off around the right end for a 10 yard gain, when he was inexplicably hit late by LaVonte David, knocking the Jets within Nick Folk’s field goal range. Like he was two times earlier in the game, Folk was money. Jets win. Unbelievable. It was eerily reminiscent of the type of victory they used to pull out back in the good old Rex Ryan days.

Let’s start with the defense, which was borderline dominant. Tampa scored two touchdowns, one of the drives started at the Jets 44 yard line and one started at the Jets 5 yard line. They held Doug Martin to 65 yards rushing on 2.7 yards per carry. The defensive line was everywhere. Muhammad WIlkerson had a sack, Sheldon Richardson had 7 tackles and .5 sacks, Damon Harrison finished with 6 tackles and a TFL and Antwan Barnes grabbed a sack and a pair of tackles. Tampa’s offense was consistently disrupted by the Jets upfront, which helped cover for a somewhat disappointing game from both Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner. Josh Freeman was flustered for most of the day, finishing with a completion percentage below 50 and a brutal interception to Dawan Landry, which help set up the Jets only touchdown.

On the other side of the football, Smith ended up 24/38, with 256 yards, a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and 47 yards rushing. It was an impressive start to his Jets career as Smith got better in the second half and recovered from a pair of early turnovers to lead the Jets to a win. He showed a good feel on when to run and flexed his arm strength, particularly when working the football to Kellen Winslow Jr (7 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD) who was the Jets best pass catcher on the field today. Smith had no support in the running game, as Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory combined for 44 yards on 22 carries. Powell did chip in 35 receiving yards. Stephen Hill was also impressive in the short and intermediate passing game with 6 receptions for 39 yards.

Overall, the most positive takeaways from today are that the Jets defense has the potential to be very, very good primarily because of their defensive line depth. Freeman isn’t a good quarterback but shutting down Martin and that running game is nothing to sneeze at. Smith had a better than expected debut, showing the physical ability we knew he had but paired with a sense of calm and confidence. The Jets passing offense could be better than expected, especially if Winslow stays healthy and Santonio Holmes (1 reception, 13 yards) continues to work his way back.

It is funny to read the media lavish praise on Greg Schiano and tear down Rex Ryan. Schiano has a more talented team than Ryan but watched his squad rack up three personal fouls, constantly be unprepared in the huddle for the Jets defense and generally be a disorganized mess. Ryan schemed a way to get a week 1 victory for a team who is considered by many to be the worst in football. Geno Smith was the most questioned quarterback heading into today’s game but he outplayed Freeman, who looked like Mark Sanchez in a smaller media market…enjoy him, Darrelle.

People will say the Jets got lucky. People will say Tampa’s isn’t a good team anyway. Whatever. A win is a win. 1-0.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Harold

    Good to see us play hard. Good to see Geno get better as the game went on.

  • ManishsAnonymousSource

    After the David pick, Geno was 17-21 for 168 yards and a TD. 81% completion percentage and a 8.0 ypa. “Shocked” no one in the NYC media is referencing those numbers.

  • JerryB

    Demario Davis gets my vote for play of the game. His never-give-up tackle of VJ saved a touchdown and the game.

  • David

    Thank you Lavonte David!!! Without it, the Jets are 0-1 and for all the good the defense did for the majority of the game would have been wasted due to a poor stop at the end.

  • Dave2220

    Geno had a few drops and threw a few away… Very good signs… Running game needs to get going as TB did not appear to have 8 in the box. There was lots of room for Geno to run in the middle of the field.

    The were more than a few free runners at Geno. He took some hits and had the speed to get away from a few that would have buried Sanchez. Gotta fix that… How about max protect and take a shot downfield

    Strange not to have a couple of tackle reporting eligible plays… LMAO!

    Millner appeared to play better / tighter as the game went on, same with Cro.

    DL rotations were interesting Mo all the time but Richardson played with Harrison and Ellis with 78? Barnes was really fast off the edge… Can’t wait for coples to join them… Thursday surprise??? They are going to give Brady fits or is that hits!!!

  • Yuma

    F%$% Mike Francesa and the espn power rankings !!!! Go Jets

  • matr dontelli iii

    very 2009ish. the team that played the better game won.the injury prone cornerback showed his chumpness after wilson’s fair catch. richardson for that corner? i’ll gladly take it straight up. next year’s pick is simply the cherry on top.

  • Nikolas

    The most important thing is that this team is young and it is going to get much better. Rex Ryan is the best defensive mind in the game! And I do not want to hear again the girl-scouts ( fans and media) that he is not a good HC.
    Go find a better one you smart a.s..s.

  • John C

    The Good: The Jets won; Winslow; Geno hung in there and showed some composure; The D except, as mentioned, the last TB drive (but their Defensive stand before that one was great, and not rewarded by the O); The Jets didn’t make the day’s worst plays; Hill played tough; Demario’s TD saving tackle; not many penalties (at least compared to TB); Nick Folk

    The Bad: The Running Game; Marty M.’s gadget plays in two 3rd and short situations, and his conservative calls with 6:30 left when we had the lead; Cro & the DBs got burned a few times especially on 3rd down; O line was shaky in pass protection early; Clock/TO management (wasted 15 seconds at end of game)

    Glad we got the win. We may not have “deserved” it (everyone of our scoring drives were aided greatly by Buc penalties), but, Tampa didn’t either, so in a twisted Jets fan way, we did deserve it, if for no other reason than we didn’t play as dumb as TB – and that is progress!

  • Mark Phelan

    Amazed we won!!! I kissed my son!

    Yes to all the positive comments above. Please add Stephen Hill to the list! He may have had his Coming Out! Showed great hands and GUTS!

    I have not been a Davis fan – I am now!

    What are we going to do about our safeties and CB’s? I know Cromartie was great last year, but….

    I have never seen the intense hitting which TB brought to the game. They were wild, and it cost them a victory.

    I am REALLY glad they switched from Kerley as a punt receiver. I don’t think he has a feel for it, and he is way to valuable to have him out there.

    How about the punting today?

  • KAsh

    True story: Went to check the stats for our receivers. I’m scanning the page.

    – Hey, our best rusher had 47 yds! They looked bad, but I guess not.
    – Wait, a 7.8 yds/carry?! How’d I miss that!?

    Look over and it says “G. Smith.” Our best rusher is also our quarterback. And now Joe reminded me that our actual rushers combined for 44 yds, as in 3 yds shy of our QB.

    I will say that I liked how Geno ran with the ball. In similar situations in college, he hesitated and tried to pass. But today, he saw grass and went for it and was very successful.

    Our offense, in total, was a let down. Out of thirteen drives total, four were three-and-outs, two more ended in turnovers, and two more got only one first down. Almost 66% of the drives ended very quickly. But out of the remaining five drives, four were scoring ones, so there is a silver lining.

    The defense was impressive. Already three sacks on the season. And that was with us spending the entire game focusing on Martin (his only big run was at the end, when we started trying to get after Freeman). Milliner was beat early, but recovered and played better towards the end. Cromartie underwhelmed; it is going to be a problem all year if he continues to let #1 receivers make plays. If Coples lives up to his promise, this will be a great year for the defense. All they were lacking was a force surging in from the outside.

    I’ll take the win. Yes, we relied on a stupid late hit to get into position for Folk to make the game-winning kick, but a win is a win, though I am going to have a heart attack before the end of the season if we continue in that same vein.

  • John C

    Snacks and Ellis will be a great combo at Nose Tackle. When Coples comes back things should get even better up front.

    I was disappointed that they didn’t run more deep plays to Revis’ side, if for no other reason than to clear him out, and make him winded. They have to stretch the field more, even if they don’t actually intend to throw it deep. Revis will break up the short slant with his eyes closed. I read Joe’s Tweet about Hill being a “possession receiver” – it sounds good, and at least shows he’s playing a little tougher, but we need him to be used downfield more. Winslow, Cumby and Kerley can be possession receivers all day long.

  • matr dontelli iii

    it may have taken an error on their part to put us in position to win but prior to that it took an error on our part to put them in that same position.

  • KAsh

    Almost forgot.

    Can we get a left guard? I do not care how well Vlad blocks on runs. We are not getting far on our runs with him playing anyway. Currently, Mangold dragging around a stop sign would offer better pass protection. Are there really no FAs out there who would not let DTs take free shots at our QB?

  • Circles26

    Yes it’s always dumb to say it took a mistake for us to win. The game wasn’t won on that play alone. We had time for another quick play, and could have kicked a long FG. Besides that, they were head hunting all game, and it serves them right that it finally ended up biting them in the ass.

  • mike

    i agree with john c above, it was very nice to see rex ryan’s jets be the more disciplined team for a change.
    geno was solid but we all know there are more rookie mistakes coming. we’ll lose a few games behind them. i’m not knocking him, i just don’t want us all to freak out at the first backbreaker. he looks like he believes in himself in a way that sanchez never has, so let’s keep the love coming when things go bad.
    rex ryan needs to learn how to call a defensive series late in the 4th with his team up less than 1 score. i can’t count the number of times i’ve seen his defense absolutely dominate a game only to let it slip through their fingers on the last drive. this was another one of those games, it just had a nice twist ending tacked on.
    very happy they pulled this one out for us, but we all know there are tough days ahead.

  • Frank Antonelli

    It’s funny that people have the notion that Rex’s teams are undisciplined. They are always one of the least penalized teams. Myths seem to hang around this team regardless of the reality of the situation.

    Anyway, JETS WIN!!!! Haters can kiss Rex’s a$$ or lick his feet!!!!!!

    P.S. Media circus clowns will actually have to talk about the game. Hope that crow tastes great.

    P.S. Mevis, welcome to a losing season, you deserve it you piece of trash.

  • joeydefiant

    Stars of the Game: Nick Folk, Demario Davis, Damon Harrison. (Geno and Sheldon get honorable mention).

    The D-Line is crazy good. When your defensive line leads the team in tackles you are going to win games. When Coples comes back. WOW! Snacks and Sheldon are scary good. Wilkshake goes without saying..

    Cause for concern:

    Dee Milliner seems to have learned from Kyle Wilson that no matter what DO NOT LOOK AT THE FOOTBALL WHEN ITS IN THE AIR!

    Geno Smith leads the team in rushing. Hopefully Tampa Bay is that good at stopping the run and Thursday the running game can get going. You need to be able to run and burn the clock against the Patriots. I know it’s only one game and he was hurt but Ivory is a disappointment so far.

  • joeydefiant

    The Jets offense finally looks like it has entered the modern era. After suffering thru Schottenheimer and Sparano who game plan like it is 1963 seeing a pass on first down is like a breath of fresh air!

  • Jim G

    Please…NO MORE WILDCAT!!! It interrupts the flow of the drive. Enough already.

  • JetOrange

    I am a defender of the Wildcat. Bucs are the best in the NFL against the run, but you have to keep them honest, Marty had to slow down the Pass Rush. gives Geno a play off to gather himself . Powell & Ivory ran hard, the running game will come around, big plays against New England….

  • Angel

    …honestly… I can’t believe the unbridled joy over this “win.”

    The Jets LOST… until the Bucs decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. AND, that was a BS call anyway — I watched the replays and Geno did not actually step his foot out-of-bounds before he was hit. Earlier in the game, Geno stopped short of running out-of-bounds, the Bucs D let him go and Geno juked to the inside giving the Jets a first down.

    ALSO, Geno played like crap the entire first half! If Sanchez started and played the same kind of game, people would be focusing on the sack/fumble inside the 5 yard line, the interception and the atrocious first half. Everyone would be saying, “Typical Sanchez, some bad and some good.” BUT instead we read Geno’s performance like the second coming of Namath. Give me a break.

    The O-line is as weak as I — and a lot of smart people on this site — have been saying for months.

    There is, HOWEVER, a lot of positive things to take away from this game:

    1. Geno picked his ass up off the floor and played a solid second half of football. He made some good decisions to avoid some additional mistakes.

    2. Nick Folk made a critical and clutch kick that won the game. HELLO?!? He deserves MAJOR credit for that. Much more credit than that BS unnecessary roughness call.

    3. The Defense is BEASTLY! Aside from a couple of blown plays, they looked damn good. Check this out
    A) They played without Coples and still kicked ass.
    B) They sacked and hurried the hell out of Freeman and shut down the running game. The Bucs COACHES had to huddle on the sideline to regroup–that’s how rattled they were.
    C) They gave up one legit TD [the other one was a gimme after the Geno fumble].
    D) The starters haven’t had the time to “Gel” together yet and will only get better.

    Overall, let’s appreciate the win but let’s be fooled. This is not a playoff team we watched in week one, and this is NOT a team that’s going to go out and light up the Patriots this Thursday. This is a team who could easily get shut-out in 3 days.

    Hopefully I’m wrong–again–and the Jets pull off a stunning win against the struggling Pats. They certainly have the weapons on Defense to rattle Brady and keep the game close.

  • Boomer

    Loved watching the d line yesterday physical, fast and did a good job all day. Did everyone get there flags yesterday

  • Danish Jes

    I think that Geno had a very nice debut. He made some bad plays, but did not play nearly as bad as vs. the Giants in pre-season. He moved the ball well and really had a nice, cool and serious demeanor throughout the game. He kept his cool and made some good decisions (like throwing the ball away sometimes) when needed. I also just love how the guy says that he’ll never be complacent about his craft, because I actually believe him when he says it. Not like when Sanchez says “all the right things” at his pressers.

    I’d give play of the game to DeMario Davis. Way to hustle on a broken coverage. I must say I was horrified by the playcalling on 3rd and long, but Rex explained after the game that he himself had made a communication error. Bad timing for one of those, Rexy! But luckily Davis’ speed was just enough to get the job done. (Imagine Bart Scott in that situation – easy TD for VJ!!)
    Nick Folk also needs a mention with his game-winning FG.
    And Ellis Lankster for his german suplex on special teams…!

    Other than that

    – I love the D-line. Finally something that seems to live up to the hype.
    – I loved how the crowd was a positive part of this game. I would love to be a part of it, but sadly I’m sitting 3.842 miles away…
    – I can’t wait till thursday night! Hoping for/dreaming of an upset i Foxborough.

  • joeydefiant

    angel, blah blah blah haters gonna hate. the bucs took the lead on a lucky play with a bullshit missed tackle they deserve to win? but the jets take it back a few seconds later and its a lucky win? give me a beak. you have to play well to even be in position to take advantage of a penalty at the end of the game. playing a team with no discipline who dont tackle they launch themselves head first every play bad comes with the big hits.

    criticizing a rookie qb making his first start against a good defense? ok troll. troll on. better game than a lot of “elite” qbs put up in thei first nfl start. completed over 60 percent of the throws in a game where running was impossible against the best run defense in the nfl. yeah we will be excited and happy. you can go be mad and disappointed when the team you are suppposedly a fan of pulls out a win in the last 30 seconds.

    troll on, troll.

  • joeydefiant

    Oh and the o-line played good. they played better then the opponents o-line. they were also playing against one of the best d-lines in football.

    im happy angel considers himself one of the smartest people on this site. it must feel good being the smartest person who leaves comments on a jets blog. haha what a joke.

  • matr dontelli iii

    angel, i thought you were done with this team? you should read the daily news. i think you’d appreciate their perspective. in case you missed it, the jets led in time of possession, passing yards, rushing yards, yards by penalty, first downs, first downs passing, first downs rushing, first downs by penalty, qb rating, and sacks for, among other things. the team that played the better game won. the clown media thinks the team the jets beat is a team to be reckoned with. jets fans should be happy for the win and hoping the team continues to get better. children should be seen but not heard.

  • Lidman

    When Coples comes back, this front 7 is going to torture QBs. Glad they are catching NE with

    Glad they will catch NE while Brady and Co, are still ironing out wrinkles.

    Everyone needs to take a breath on the run game. McCoy is an animal and David and Foster are great to the ball. Nobody ran on Tampa last year. If they gained 45yds v Oak, I’d be nervous.

    Hill made a couple of tough catches. Hopefully, they’ll start letting him loose on the outside.

  • Angel

    Apparently some people here have A.D.H.D. and can only read half a comment before vomiting their own opinions. I made a plethora of positive points and justified my own OPTIMISM of the future.

    @Joeydefiant – A missed tackle is a major mistake. A BS call that could go one way or another is something entirely different. I didn’t say the Jets “deserved” anything. That’s YOUR judgement or projection — don’t pin that on me. My comment was that up to that point of the ‘late hit out of bounds,’ the Jets were losing this game. Maybe the Jets pull it off anyway, maybe they don’t, but to celebrate like we already beat the Patriots is mind boggling. And if you think I’m a troll, your reading and comprehension skills [as well as your grammar] are sorely lacking. The whole second half of my comment were positive observations to take away from the game.

    Do you want to argue Geno played a solid first half? Really? Do you want to posit that the O-line played well and that Geno wasn’t under pressure? Really? Aren’t you the genius who was telling me how Jets fans hated Sanchez cause they are racist? I guess that’s why so many of them are pulling for Geno now… isn’t that right, genius? You’re a joke. And don’t personally call me out ever again.

    Make a legit point or shut up. DO NOT attack me. Save that crap for the learned philosophers and the other ivy league adjunct teachers at ESPN dot com.

    @matr dontelli iii – No. I was disappointed with the draft but loved the other FA moves shortly there-after. I believe I even claimed that the signing of Kellen Winslow would put the Jets in the playoffs. To clarify – I AM HAPPY WITH THE WIN. I am not happy that this game was lost, but for a freak penalty [mistake] that was a matter of subjective opinion and could easily have went the other way. YES, I agree Geno still had a chance to do something after that play and he may have still won the game. Yes, that was a possibility.

    I’m just shaking my head at the jubilation over this win without a sober or realistic accounting of events. Quite frankly, I find the celebration childish and naive.

  • matr dontelli iii

    i am making this point for the final time. the team that played the better game won. regardless of missed tackles, bad calls, questionable calls or whatever shade of lipstick you’d like to embellish the pig with, the team that played the better game won and deserves to be 1-0. the team that lost was undisciplined, hmmm, where do i usually hear that term applied? the team that lost is reputed to be tough to run on and supposedly fortified their secondary to become a ‘super bowl contender’. the jets outplayed them in virtually every facet of the game. was it pretty? the standings don’t care about pretty. the nine wins in 2009 weren’t very pretty, well maybe the Cincinnati game was. there are sixteen games. we’re 1-0. i’d rather be where we are than where they are. the team needs to win as many games as they can. they’re off on the right foot. i am happy. learn to enjoy the ride.