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Jets 31, Browns 28: Jets Survive An Ugly Win In Cleveland

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Winning ugly beats the alternative.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets managed to put together their second win in a row on the road against a winless Cleveland Browns team.  After playing an atrocious first half in which the Browns dominated the Jets, the Jets completely flipped the script in the second half and ran off 24 unanswered points before a garbage time touchdown made the final score closer than the game actually was.  The Jets are now 3-5 on the season, seeking to claw their way back to a .500 record and respectability. Let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the criminally pathetic below.

The Good

Ryan Fitzpatrick: I went back and forth on this.  On the one hand, Fitzpatrick was completely inept in the first half, with an ugly stat line of 3 for 14 and 30 yards passing.  He wasn't exactly helped by multiple drops by his best receivers, but Fitzpatrick still was terrible in the first half.  The second half was a different story. Fitzpatrick was 13 for 20 for 198 yards in the second half and led an offense that scored 24 unanswered points.  He led three long, time consuming TD drives.  He did not turn the ball over.  The Fitzpatrick of the second half was more than enough to win most games, even if it wasn't brilliant quarterbacking.  The overall stat line was not particularly pretty in view of the terrible pass defense Fitzpatrick faced.  He completed less than 50% of his passes for less than seven yards per attempt.  He nearly had at least two passes intercepted.  He helped put the Jets in their big first half deficit.  But in the end, going on the theory that the quarterback gets the blame in offensive failure and the credit in offensive success, Fitzpatrick did just enough to land in the good column.  Putting up 31 points is more than good enough, and coming back from a double digit halftime deficit on the road was a good thing, even against the Browns.  I completely understand those who would put Fitzpatrick in the bad column, but for me, he did enough to win, and that's all that matters in the NFL.  Just win baby.  Fitzpatrick led an offense that did exactly that, even if the way it got there was less than pretty.

Bilal Powell: Powell was explosively effective in this game.  He scored on a 35 yard touchdown run. He picked up 76 yards rushing in just six carries.  Powell was the best offensive player on the field for the Jets. Why the Jets do not get him more touches is an enduring mystery.

Marcus Gilchrist: Gilchrist had seven tackles, a pass defended and a big interception.  He has had a rough year, but today he did OK.

Quincy Enunwa: Quincy just keeps getting better.  He dropped a couple of passes today, but he otherwise came up big.  Four receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown, including a huge 57 yard completion on a deep seam route.  Quincy is now on pace for a 1000 yard season. This is a star in the making.

Offensive Line: The first half the line put Fitzpatrick under some pressure, but in the second half it seemed like the quarterback had time to throw nearly every play, all while the line opened holes for the running game to thrive.  It wasn't great, but it will do.

The Bad

Lac Edwards: Lac's statistics look pretty good, but he flubbed a snap for the second week in a row, shanking the punt and narrowly avoiding disaster.  Lac's sudden case of butter fingers is alarming.

Calvin Pryor: Pryor was burned for a big gain in coverage against Gary Barnidge on the opening play of the game, a play that set up an opening touchdown drive.  He was also called for pass interference in the end zone against Barnidge on another Browns scoring drive.  Another bad day in coverage for Calvin Pryor.

Muhammad Wilkerson: Wilkerson got a sack. Sacks are good. What is not good is being invisible for the entire rest of the game, which Wilkerson was.  The year of the great 300 pound man disappearing trick continues.

Brandon Marshall: Marshall did some good things. He made a terrific block to spring Powell for his touchdown run.  He did some second half damage with four catches for 68 yards. It wasn't enough to make up for being shut out in the first half and dropping multiple passes.  Marshall is having a difficult 2016 season, and today was more of the same.

The Criminally Pathetic:

Darrelle Revis: The first half of this game was probably the worst half of football in Revis' long career.  He was completely outclassed by Terrelle Pryor.  The Browns sought out the matchup and continually picked on Revis, and Revis had no answers.  The Browns took whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it against Revis in the first half.  It was horrifying. The second half was a completely different story.  The Jets gave Revis more help, the Browns inexplicably stopped looking Pryor's way, and Pryor himself repeatedly came out of the game in the second half.  As a result Pryor was shut out in the second half other than a two point conversion in the final seconds of the game.   Nonethless, the good second half does not nearly make up for the terrible first half Revis endured.  He was beaten every possible way, repeatedly.  It was a humiliating turn of events for the once near perfect cornerback.

....................................

The Jets did just enough to secure a road win against a bad opponent.  It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.  You take wins however you can get them.  The Jets will need to be considerably better going forward if they hope to continue their modest winning streak.  Can they make it three in a row?