Just when you thought that the New York Jets were heading in the wrong direction the team pulls out an inspiring victory on the road. Gang Green shocked the Atlanta Falcons 30-28 on Monday night as Nick Folk kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired.
Geno ices the Falcons- You could not ask for a better performance from rookie quarterback Geno Smith (16/20 199 yards, 3 tds). The Jets signal caller made smart decisions with the football and took what the defense gave him (hit 8 different receivers). When the pocket collapsed Geno did not force passes and took off when given open space. With the game on the line the Jets quarterback remain poised and led the offense efficiently down the field. (Dare I say Geno Ice?)
This game is going to go a long way for Geno Smith’s development on and off the field. Smith’s fire and resiliency is translating into a leadership role on offense.
Tremendous playcalling- The offensive playcalling for the Jets was brilliant on Monday night as the unit used a variety of formations to keep the Falcons off-balance. The creative running game slowed down the pass rush and opened up the intermediate passing game. It has been a long time since you have seen a game plan that maximized talent and took advantage of mismatches.
Offensive line solid- The New York Jets offensive line did a tremendous job in terms of blocking and pass protection. Rookie guard Brian Winters made a few mistakes but for the most part the line held up as the Falcons continued to apply pressure.
Mr. Monday night- Tight end Jeff Cumberland once again had a great game under the prime time lights with 79 receiving yards and a touchdown. With Kellen Winslow battling an injury Cumberland could be featured more in the offense if he remains consistent with his route running.
Wide receiver by committee- The much maligned receiving group did an excellent job of making plays when it mattered most. Jeremy Kerley was tremendous after the catch while Clyde Gates and Stephen Hill made significant contributions on the game winning drive.
Goodson returns- Running back Mike Goodson returned from suspension on Monday night and the team immediately felt his impact. Goodson displayed incredible explosiveness catching passes out of the backfield and while carrying the football. The sky is the limit for Mike Goodson in this offense.
All-Pro Mo- Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson had another dominant performance on Monday night which included a strip sack and forced fumble. The Falcons offensive line had no answers for Wilkerson who is quickly becoming one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Richardson rocks it- Rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson continues to impress with his tenacity and quickness. Check out this stat line: 1 sack, 5 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss. Get out your defensive rookie of the year ballots.
Harris motoring along- Heading into the season there were questions about linebacker David Harris and his ability to make plays sideline to sideline. Well Harris is continuing to silence the doubters as he was making impact plays all over the field. Teamed up with Demario Davis the Jets linebacking group is packing a significant punch on the field.
Secondary support- The New York Jets secondary was tested all night and did a decent job under intense pressure. Darrin Walls bounced back off of a rough performance last week while Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster, and Antonio Allen all made plays as well. Antonio Cromartie did a good job on Julio Jones (minus the 46 yard pass reception late in the game) which was impressive considering that he was primarily in single coverage.
He “Folked it”- Nick Folk once again was perfect as he was 3/3 including the game winning 43-yard kick. Every year the Jets try to get rid of the guy and every year it seems like Folk is making game winning kicks.
This is a tremendous victory for the New York Jets, one that many, including yours truly, did not think that the team could pull out. The offensive game plan was brilliant while the defense once again flexed their muscles for a good part of the game.
The Jets did experience their share of road bumps like Rex Ryan’s questionable time management and a wasted challenge in the first half. Also Gang Green’s defense became a little soft in the second half as there were far too many missed tackles and blown assignments. But in the end the New York Jets did enough to win the game and move their record to 3-2.
Next up for Gang Green is the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. EST)