- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith's first play as an NFL quarterback was from the shotgun, a deep pass to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley for 26 yards. An auspicious beginning, but the rest of the first half wasn’t nearly as pretty.
By the end of the first half, the Jets trailed Tampa Bay 14-12, Smith had fumbled the ball away, which led to a Doug Martin touchdown, and thrown a few risky passes into traffic. On the other hand, Smith also managed a 13-yard scramble for a first down and connected with Kellen Winslow for a 7-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in the second half.
Tampa Bay struggled to start. After picking up a first down with a 20-yard completion to Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman appeared to have something wrong with his helmet. The team tried to call two straight timeouts, and was called for a delay of game with the second. Before the end of the series, the Bucs amassed four penalties.
On the next series, Tampa Bay started the drive on the 3-yard line and, on third down, Freeman fumbled the ball, and then scrambled to kick it out of the end zone before running into the goal post. Tampa Bay was charged with a safety, and the Jets were up 2-0 6:25 into the game.
Mike Williams scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Freeman before the end of the first quarter and Tampa Bay was up 7-2.
INJURED WIDES: Both Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley sustained what appeared to be helmet-to-helmet hits in the second quarter. In both cases, Tampa Bay defenders were issued unnecessary roughness penalties. Kerley and Cumberland were immediately taken to the locker room, although Kerley returned for the start of the second half.
REVIS vs. HOLMES: Both Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis were injured early last season. Revis tore his ACL and Holmes sustained a Lisfranc injury. Revis (26 first-half snaps) was on the other side of the field in the return for both of them, and was matched up against Holmes (23 snaps) a few times. Revis kept the ball away from Holmes once before Holmes got his first pass of the season, a 13-yarder, from Smith late in the first quarter.
ACHIEVEMENT GAP: Offseason acquisition, running back Chris Ivory, had five carries for 8 yards in the first half. Wide receiver Stephen Hill was targeted once, a 4-yard catch. Winslow, the tight end acquired in the offseason, was targeted four times and recorded four catches for 33 yards.