In what was arguably their best regular season win since the beginning of the 2011 season, the New York Jets knocked off the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, 30-28. Yes, those New York Jets are 3-2. Rex Ryan, the lame duck coach who is just waiting to be fired. Geno Smith, the bum rookie who should be benched for Matt Simms…and the rest of the gang continues to win football games when nobody expects them to. The Football World should have taken notice tonight, the Jets aren’t in the discussion for being the worst team in the league…they may just be in the discussion for a playoff spot come November and December.
Let’s start with Geno Smith. The quarterback that many foolishly wanted benched went 16/20 for 199 yards with 3 touchdowns and ZERO turnovers. More importantly, he had ice water in his veins on the game’s final drive. Smith went 4/4 and had a key scramble, flawlessly executing his third game winning drive in 5 career starts. This is why you don’t throw in the towel on Smith because of rough patches. If you can’t see the natural physical talent and what he can bring to this offense, you aren’t watching closely enough. He was nothing short of spectacular tonight, considering the environment and the type of game he had last week.
Staying on offense, the supporting cast rose to the occasion. Jeff Cumberland had a monster first half, finishing with 3 receptions for 79 yards along with a 20 yard touchdown. Jeremy Kerley chipped in 5 receptions for 68 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Kellen Winslow Jr. made a pretty 1 yard touchdown catch on his only grab of the night and Stephen Hill made two big catches on the game’s final drive, after having a quiet night before then. Mike Goodson had a strong season debut with 41 total offensive yards, including a 26 yard run. Bilal Powell only had 38 yards rushing but had a huge run on the Jets final offensive play that set up Nick Folk’s game winning field goal. Finally, it was an encouraging first start for rookie Guard Brian Winters who locked down the job for the foreseeable future.
Defensively, it was frustrating to see them allow the two late touchdowns to Atlanta (even if one was aided by a very, very questionable defensive holding penalty). However, if the national audience didn’t know who Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were before tonight…they do now. Wilkerson continued his All-Pro season with another strip sack and Richardson continued his Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed and 2 tackles for a loss. David Harris had a vintage performance with 14 tackles and showed a level of explosiveness we haven’t seen from him in years. It was also a nice bounce-back game for new starter Darrin Walls who was much improved in coverage.
And we’d be remiss not to mention Nick Folk who has been nothing short of terrific this season, knocking through his second game winning kick of the year. Folk is now 11/11 on the season.
The Jets now head back home to take on the 0-4 Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a good weekend of football. The Bills lost. The Dolphins lost. The Patriots lost. The Giants lost (0-5 LOL)…and now the Jets sit 1 game out of first place with New England coming to MetLife Stadium in 13 days.