- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. They ain't dead yet: Sunday could've been a really, really big day for the Jets, but the two teams they're chasing for the second AFC wild-card spot -- the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins -- squeezed out late, come-from-behind victories. That leaves the Jets (6-7) one game behind them, but it's really two games because they lost to both teams, meaning they'd lose a head-to-head tiebreaker. They still have a game with the Dolphins, in the season finale, but the Jets might be eliminated by then. But, hey, it's Week 15 and they're still alive. Hear that, Kellen Winslow?
2. Run, Geno, run: Geno Smith is "definitely known as just trying to be a gunslinger," fellow quarterback David Garrard said, but the rookie has the ability to make plays outside the pocket. He showed it against the Raiders, rushing for 50 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown on a read-option play. What took so long? Smith has been reluctant to embrace the idea of becoming a running quarterback, but he needs to understand he can spark the offense with his athleticism. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg also did a better job of calling designed runs and rollouts, allowing Smith to throw on the run. If you have a weapon, use it. The Jets are 4-0 when Smith scores a rushing touchdown.
3. Disappearing defense: Rex Ryan's defense usually gets stronger late in the season, but this particular unit is backsliding. The Jets allowed a fourth-string running back -- Marcel Reece, who actually plays fullback -- to rush for 123 yards. Are you kidding? In the past two games, their once-feared run defense has allowed 275 yards. Part of the reason is because they're playing fewer eight-man boxes -- they need a second safety to help in pass coverage -- but they're also missing far too many tackles. Frankly, the tackling has been atrocious. They got away with it against the bad team like the Raiders, but they have no shot next week against the Carolina Panthers if they allow short gains to turn into big plays.
4. Special K's: Jeremy Kerley's return to the lineup sparked the slumping offense, which scored more points than it did in the previous three games combined. Another "K" player, Kellen Winslow, also provided a boost. For a change, Winslow played a significant role in the passing game, finishing with three catches for 61 yards. In recent weeks, he had become after afterthought, partly because of his chronic knee. But it also seemed like the coaching staff had phased him out. Well, he was phased in against the Raiders. Winslow knows how to get open, a big help to a rookie quarterback. He could be a key down the stretch.