Initial Reaction – Hell Yes! Jets Top Pats In OT, Control Playoff Destiny

Joe Caporoso with initial reaction to the New York Jets 26-20 overtime victory against the New England Patriots, which put them in position to make the AFC Playoffs with a week 17 win

The New York Jets won in thrilling fashion today in overtime against the New England Patriots, 26-20 in an electric, playoff like atmosphere at MetLife Stadium. Despite losing a two touchdown second half lead, the Jets rallied to take advantage of a rare, foolish coaching decision by Bill Belichick, who decided to kick off in overtime after winning the toss. The Jets promptly went 80 yards for the game winning score on six plays, capped by Eric Decker cooking Malcolm Butler on a slot fade route for the win. Thanks to an unexpected Baltimore Ravens win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets now control their playoff destiny heading into week 17.

Offensively, this was an up and down game that showed off the Jets myriad of weapons. They moved the ball consistently throughout but after building a 17-3 third quarter lead, handed New England 7 points on a strip sack and then shut down in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, they heated back up in overtime. It was another productive game for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who continued to play his best ball when it matters the most. He finished 26/41 for 296 yards with 3 touchdowns.

Brandon Marshall played the game of his season, in a season filled with dominant performances. Despite consistently being double teamed, Marshall ate up the Patriots secondary to the tune of 8 catches, 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has now put together the most productive wide receiver season in Jets franchise history. Eric Decker caught the game winning score and finished with 3 catches for 47 yards, along with drawing a fourth quarter pass interference penalty.

It wasn’t just the Jets big two. Quincy Enunwa had 2 catches for 69 yards, including a game changing 48 yard catch and run in overtime. Kenbrell Thompkins added in 4 receptions for 27 yards, Bilal Powell led the way for the Jets running backs with 90 total yards and Stevan Ridley picked up the slack for an ineffective and banged up Chris Ivory, finishing with 36 yards on 7 carries.

Defensively, the Jets played a nearly perfect game outside of the game tying drive they allowed to end the fourth quarter. A big footnote without a doubt but they spent the bulk of the day forcing New England punts and field goal attempts. Darrelle Revis intercepted Tom Brady in the third quarter and both Sheldon Richardson and Lorenzo Mauldin recorded sacks. Brady only threw for 231 yards on 31 attempts, with Rob Gronkowski leading the way with 86 yards. However, the Jets were able to keep Gronk out of the end-zone.

After a few mid season stumbles, the Jets defense has been terrific throughout their current five game winning streak (the team hasn’t lose since November 22nd). They lock down in the red zone and they are increasing their rate of game changing plays. Todd Bowles has them hitting on all cylinders and has now improved the Jets win total 6 games and counting from last season. The Jets finished 6-2 at home on the year and with a win over Buffalo next week would finish with their first winning record in the AFC East since 2010. 11-5 would also match their best record since the turn of the century and it would come in Bowles’ first year.

The Jets aren’t done yet. It is pretty simple for week 17: Beat Buffalo and make the playoffs. Yes, they could still get in if they lose (if Pittsburgh loses to Cleveland) but they shouldn’t count on getting help again. There are no excuses next week against a 7-8 team, despite them being motivated by a man with a long history of coaching meaningless December games when his team is eliminated from playoff contention. Handle your business and get yourself set up for what could be a very winnable Wild-Card game against either Houston, Kansas City or Denver.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com

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