The Jets are now 7-5 after beating the New York Giants 23-20 today in overtime at MetLife Stadium. It was technically a road game for the Jets so the home crowd left unhappy. Gang Green rallied from 10 points down with under 5:00 to play in the fourth quarter to get the win. The drive to start overtime resulted in a Jets field goal. The Giants had a chance to answer. They drove into field goal range, but Josh Brown missed a 48 yard kick that would have extended the game. With that, the Jets had their first win over the crosstown Giants since 1993. Join me below as we go into greater detail.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: For the second straight week, the Jets won because of their quarterback. All year, I have said that the Jets are not built to win if they fall behind by multiple scores, and the quarterback has to throw it 50 times. Today that happened, and the Jets still won. Fitzpatrick was 36 for 50 with 2 touchdowns and 390 yards. This was even more impressive because for most of the game his offensive line was getting dominated, and he had to deal with defenders in his face. He moved in the pocket well to buy himself some time. He was also opportunistic in his scrambling. His 17 yard gain on fourth and 6 in the final minute of regulation kept the Jets alive.
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed some great chemistry developing between Fitzpatrick and his receivers, notably Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. There were two particularly clutch throws Fitzpatrick made that really stuck out to me today. They were the game-tying touchdown pass to Marshall and 17 yarder to Decker on third down in overtime to extend the winning drive. On both, Fitzpatrick threw with anticipation and put fit the ball into the perfect spot in a tight window.
Fitzpatrick's best work was when the Jets needed him most. By my back of the hand estimate, he was 17 for 25 after the point the Jets got the ball with 8:42 left in the fourth quarter and trailed by 10. You can make a strong case that Fitzpatrick won this game for the Jets today.
I think one thing has been settled over the past two weeks. Unless there is an injury, Fitzpatrick is going to be the starting quarterback the Jets win or lose with for the rest of the season.
Brandon Marshall: Marshall had a big statistical day, catching 12 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. These were big catches too. His 25 yard catch and run with the Jets down 10 in the fourth quarter assured them a chip shot field goal. He had a big third down catch on the tying touchdown drive and then went up and won the ball to grab the tying score. He had a couple more receptions on the overtime drive.
The touchdown in particular speaks to me about why Marshall is so important to this team. It goes beyond having a go to guy. It goes beyond opening things up for other guys by drawing so much attention. I think any successful offense has to have a bread and butter, something it can go to in any situation and know it will be successful. It doesn't matter if the entire stadium knows it's coming. It doesn't matter if the defense does its job. This will still work.
This is not bad coverage at all. Marshall is just too big and too good. Much like the rest of Marshall's time with the Jets, it is a beautiful thing.
Eric Decker: Decker also went over 100 yards receiving for the Jets. On the series where the Jets kicked the field goal to cut their deficit to 7, Decker had 3 catches resulting in a first down in a 4 play span. It kept working so the Jets kept going to it. He also had a pair of huge third down receptions to extend the overtime drive. On the first, he caught the ball short of the sticks and fought his way past the marker.
Bilal Powell: I think this was the third best game of Powell's career. The only two I would put above it are the back to back big games against Buffalo and Tennessee in early 2013. Powell was clutch in this one, finishing with 8 catches, 91 yards and a touchdown. He had a 20 yard catch to start the tying touchdown drive and then ripped off a couple of big first down runs in overtime. I never thought I would be hoping Powell would be in the game over Chris Ivory with a game on the line, but today I was. I don't know what got into Powell. He looked like a guy with some wiggle who could make people miss in the open field and explode past them. It was a really nice effort.
Randy Bullock: The kicks might have all been chip shots, but the Jets needed every last one.
Damon Harrison: The Giants could not get any sort of push to help their run game. It was another big week for Harrison at the center with a robust 6 tackle total. Even when he wasn't making plays, he was tying blockers up effectively and clogging running lanes.
Leonard Williams: The rookie has been getting close, and today he picked up a sack. I saw a couple of other hits and general disruptive play.
Antonio Cromartie: The much-maligned starting corner was very good today. The Giants took a couple of shots against him, but Cro was in his man's pocket every time. He also had a big kickoff return.
Calvin Pryor: It is easy to forget, but the play Pryor made dislodging the ball from Odell Beckham, Jr. in the end zone saved the Jets some critical points right before the half.
Rontez Miles: Miles made a big mistake jumping offsides on a punt to extend a drive, but he atoned for it later with a fourth down interception. He read the play correctly and then made a nice play on the ball. He also had a nifty run stop early in the second half.
Mike Catapano: He registered a sack. Catapano is effective in limited snaps.
Lorenzo Mauldin: He drew a holding to wipe out a 35 yard gain that could have helped the Giants put the game away in the fourth quarter. I also saw a hit he put on Eli Manning. I would like to see Mauldin's snaps continue to increase as we near the end of the season.
David Harris: A team-leading 9 tackles.
Offensive Line: I will give them credit because it seems like they pounded on the Giants through the game and eventually wore down Big Blue's defensive front. This was a really ugly performance for long stretches, though. D'Brickashaw Ferguson gave up a sack. James Carpenter took a big penalty. The right side was a mess. Brian Winters was responsible for multiple hits on Fitzpatrick. Breno Giacomini was no match for Jason Pierre-Paul. It makes what Fitzpatrick did all the more impressive, but it would be nice if Fitzpatrick did not have to be so impressive.
Willie Colon: Insert joke about Colon being so penalty-prone that he can get one even when he's on injured reserve. I guess I could include him with the offensive line.
Special Teams/Bobby April: I think the easiest thing to do is blame the coach. It frequently is not that simple. At this point, though, how can April not be responsible for the special teams woes the Jets have had all season? Dan Fouts did nice work pointing out how the Jets were outschemed on Dwayne Harris' punt return as Beckham's use as a decoy got the Jets flowing away from Harris. There were penalties, and a really scary kickoff return in overtime that gave the Giants excellent field position to start their game-tying drive.
The Beckham Touchdown: I'm not really sure what happened on that play. I think we will have to wait for the all 22 film to come out and hear what the coaching staff has to say about the play. Did Buster Skrine read it wrong? Did he take the wrong man? Did they want to leave Beckham alone? It looked like Marcus Gilchrist's angle wasn't very good. In any event, this play was a mess for the Jets.
Marcus Gilchrist: He seemed to have a hand in a lot of the big plays the Giants made.
Jamari Lattimore: He gave up a few plays in coverage. One I thought was just a great throw and that there was nothing he could have done. On the Will Tye 45 yarder that set up a field goal before the half, though, I thought he could have dropped a little deeper.
Darrin Walls: I didn't think he was effective in coverage, and taking an illegal contact on third and 20 with the receiver nowhere near the sticks is tough to excuse.
- I have the utmost respect for Tom Coughlin. He will go down as a great coach. His resume speaks for itself. That said, I feel like coaches get reputations based on persona, and these just get accepted. Coughlin has a reputation for not allowing any nonsense partially because of his personality and also because of how he talks about discipline. I can't count how many times I've seen one of his players do something dumb at a critical point like the penalty Odell Beckham took in overtime.
- Every year I feel like there is a game that shows us what kind of a team the Jets have. We only know for sure when we look back after the season is over. Sometimes it comes early. Last year it came in the second game of the season against Green Bay. The lack of quality corners doomed the team. So did a lack of discipline with Muhammad Wilkerson getting kicked out of the game. So did game management. These were themes for the rest of the year. As I was watching this game, I couldn't help but wonder whether this was the game that showed us what kind of team the Jets are. I was thinking this as the Jets were losing. This was obviously a vastly improved Jets team over the 2014 version but still an average team. Some weeks you get a good effort. Other weeks they give the game away. After this game, I still wonder whether this was the type of game that tells us the kind of team the Jets are. This was a gut check. The Jets were down. They shouldn't have won this game, but they outexecuted their opponent when it matter most. Will this ignite a winning streak as we head into this stretch. Did this show the character of a dangerous team we will see the rest of the way? Only time will tell, but I have seen a lot of teams get hot in December after a win like this.
I was jumping up and down with my 12 year old son when the Giants missed the field goal! He and I finally have a great moment as a jets fan.