Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: New York Jets
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 30-27 overtime win over the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium:
What it means: The Jets (4-3) snapped a five-game losing streak against the Patriots (5-2), jumping back into the AFC East race. They also snapped the Patriots' 12-game winning streak against AFC East opponents. The Jets are lucky, benefiting from an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chris Jones in overtime. It gave Nick Folk a second crack at the game-winning field goal, and he nailed it from 42 yards. Shades of the Lavonte David penalty in the Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stock watch: Geno Smith shook off a horrible first-quarter interception (returned for a touchdown) and went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady over the final 16 minutes. Smith wasn't too efficient (17-for-33, 233 yards), but he displayed pocket presence with two huge scrambles on the same drive in the third quarter. Somehow, he ran through three defenders on an eight-yard touchdown run. Smith's mobility is one of the reasons why the team preferred him over Mark Sanchez in the preseason. It wasn't a clean game for Smith (now has 11 interceptions), but it was a dramatic improvement from his Week 2 performance in New England, where he imploded in the fourth quarter.
Special K: Receiver Jeremy Kerley was a beast on third down, catching six passes for first downs. After not playing in the Week 2 meeting, he was a matchup nightmare for the Patriots' secondary, which played without star cornerback Aqib Talib. The Jets relied heavily on Kerley and running back Chris Ivory, who ran for a season-high 104 yards against the Patriots' depleted front seven. Ivory questioned his role last week, and sure enough, it was expanded. Curiously, Bilal Powell didn't play much. He had been dealing with a minor neck injury. Tight end Jeff Cumberland hurt the Jets with two costly drops.
All over Brady: What more can you do? The Jets played another terrific game against Brady, recording four sacks, holding the Patriots to 1-of-12 on third down and limiting Brady to 22-of-46 for 228 yards. They held the Patriots to two field goals in the second half. Clearly, the Jets' defense is no fluke; they have a terrific foundation.
Double A: Second-year safety Antonio Allen made the defensive play of the game, returning an interception 23 yards for a touchdown to start the second half. Not only did it slice the Patriots' lead to 21-17, but it also revived the defense and the crowd. It was the Jets' first interception in 226 pass attempts (Week 1) and their first against Brady in 182 attempts (2011). Allen drew the toughest assignment of the day: tight end Rob Gronkowski, who tied a career high with eight catches in his season debut. All things considered, Allen did a solid job, considering Gronkowski was targeted 17 times.
What's next: It doesn't get easier for the Jets, who hit the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2).