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Jets 19 Cowboys 16: Ugly Wins Are Beautiful

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets are 9-5 and riding a four game winning streak. Gang Green defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-16 on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. The win both helped New York's Playoff hopes and officially eliminated the Cowboys. It was not the prettiest game the Jets have played this season, but there is always beauty in a game where the Jets score more points than the other team. That is especially true in a big December game. What happened? Let's talk about it below.

The Good

Randy Bullock: As Bullock was lining up for the game-winning field goal try, I couldn't help but think of Shaquille O'Neal, the great basketball player. Shaq was a notoriously terrible free throw shooter. About that he always said, "I make them when they count." Late in the fourth quarter of a big Conference Finals or NBA Finals game, Shaq somehow became a good free throw shooter. This was far from a great night for Bullock. He missed an extra point and a field goal. He made the 40 yarder when it counted, though.

Kenbrell Thompkins: Let's see a show of hands. Who thought the Jets were going to Thompkins with the game on the line? I'm guessing there aren't any up. How about people who thought Thompkins would win a one on one and get open deep with the game on the line? Somehow it happened, and Ryan Fitzpatrick found him for the 43 yard completion that put the Jets into field goal range.

Bilal Powell: Powell might be on the hottest streak of his career. He scored another touchdown. He added another 7 catches for 54 yards. Phil Simms said he looks faster now than he did as a rookie. How about than he did at the start of the season. Somehow, Powell has gotten slippery and all of the sudden can make people miss.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: The first three quarters were pretty ugly, but he elevated his game in the fourth quarter. There were a number of plays where the Cowboys either got a free runner or a good matchup (think Jeff Cumberland on Randy Gregory) because the protection was set incorrectly. That was probably Fitzpatrick's fault to a degree. A number of his early throws were not spirals. The interception was also ugly. That said, Fitz rose to the occasion with the game on the line. You can't throw a ball better than he did on that clutch 24 yarder to Quincy Enunwa on third and 14. It was his sixth completion on that key drive. A seventh to Decker was a touchdown. Then he hit Thompkins on the deep ball. Once again Fitzpatrick showed guts on a night where the offensive line struggled. He had a noticeable cut on his face. Somehow he still made the big plays the Jets needed.

Quincy Enunwa: Enunwa has been mainly a run blocker this season, but he was very involved in the passing game with some key catches. A 14 yarder on second and 18 made third down manageable. A 10 yarder on second and 11 on the game-winning drive set up Fitzpatrick's quarterback sneak to extend the drive. A 34 yarder was wiped out by a penalty. Then of course there was the big 24 yarder. As good of a throw as it was by Fitzpatrick, it was just as good of a catch in traffic. I'm not sure anybody saw Fitzpatrick to Enunwa being a dynamic threat in the passing game, but it was if only for one night.

Eric Decker: Of Decker's 6 catches on the night, 4 were for first downs and another was a fourth quarter go ahead touchdown. That play where he threw the ball down was scary. To think he was in enough pain to do that made it seem like the injury was serious. It brought back images of Santonio Holmes against the 49ers in 2012. Thankfully he was able to return and make a big impact.

Brandon Marshall: Marshall was quiet for most of the night, but when he made noise, it was big. He had a 25 yarder to set up Powell's touchdown. He had a pair of big grabs on the go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, and he drew a pass interference penalty to give Bullock a shot before the half.

Marcus Gilchrist: He picked the ball off on Kellen Moore's first interception and tipped the third to Marcus Williams to seal the game.

Calvin Pryor: Nice read and exploitation of an inexperienced quarterback on the red zone interception. It would have been a huge play had Fitzpatrick not given the ball right back.

Darrelle Revis: I'm kind of conflicted on where to put Revis. The Dez Bryant touchdown was ugly. It was more Revis the safety taking a bad angle than Revis the cornerback getting burned. He also played too soft on the first drive near the goal line, but Matt Cassel threw early. He did pick off Cassel on whatever the heck that throw was supposed to be. Bryant was largely neutralized in coverage, though, so I'll put Revis in The Good.

Buster Skrine: He was tested a few times early and held up well.

Calvin Pace: He did his job on the sack. He didn't bite on the handoff and finished off the bootlegging quarterback. The horsecollar flag against him looked like a blown call.

Damon Harrison: He led the Jets with 8 tackles. This was a great battle between a top offensive line and a top defensive line. Both sides won battles here and there, but I thought the Jets held their own in the trenches. Dallas had a big day on the ground, but their big successes were largely on outside runs.

Marcus Williams: He sealed the win with another interception.

The Bad

Sheldon Richardson: Richardson was disruptive as a pass rusher, but he failed to set the edge on Dallas' 2 longest runs of the night. He overpursued on the 33 yard end around to Lucky Whitehead and crashed too far on Darren McFadden's 33 yarder.

Offensive Line: They struggled with the speed of Dallas up front in both run blocking and pass protection. Brian Winters had an ugly night with 3 penalties and at least one blown block that destroyed a pass play. Breno Giacomini had a penalty. D'Brickashaw Ferguson had some ugly losses against his assignments.

Demario Davis: There were a couple of big Dallas runs where he failed to get off a block down the field. He also got sucked too far inside on a big Darren McFadden third down run. He did make a really nice tackle on the jet sweep to Whitehead in the fourth quarter, though.

Chris Ivory: It is weird to say about a runner as physical as Ivory, but I feel like there are a lot of times even 7 yards down the field where he tries to break things outside and hit a homerun rather than lower his shoulder and take a modest gain that can result in a first down.

Stevan Ridley: To be a successful back, you have to be able to do something to beat the defenders. It can be running past them. It can be putting on a move in space. It can be running through arm tackles. I don't see Ridley doing any of these things. Putting him out there feels like a guaranteed defeat.

You cannot expect to play a great game every week. Sometimes the difference between being a good team and a bad team in the NFL is finding a way to win games like the Jets won tonight when they were not at their best. There were plenty of miscues. The team still managed to get the victory and is riding a four game winning streak into next week's showdown with New England.

The Jets are a winning team for the first time since 2010. That is something to feel really good about.