It was a week that featured games between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, and the onging battle for bragging rights continued Sunday afternoon as the New York Jets played the New York Giants for the city’s 2015 football crown.
It wasn’t pretty – in fact, it was hideous – but the Jets came away with a hard fought 23-20 victory in overtime.
The Jets drew first blood in the middle of the first quarter. Relying on running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, the Jets got the red zone but were unable to convert on third and 11. Randy Bullock put one through the uprights from 24 yards out.
Special teams have been a headache for the Jets all season and that continued early in the second quarter as the Jets allowed punt return for a touchdown to Dwayne Harris.
Things got worse for the Jets later in the second. Ivory fumbled the ball deep in Jets territory and the Jets were assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which allowed the Giants to start on the Jets’ ten yard line. A pass to Hakeem Nicks from Eli Manning looked like it might be a touchdown, but the ball never broke the plane, and the Jets defense held to allow a field goal two plays later.
Late in the quarter the Jets managed to tie the game at 10-10 on a drive in which they had to withstand a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty because Willie Colon, on the IR and on the bench, was jawing at one of the Giants players. The pass from Fitzpatrick to Powell was Powell’s first career reception for a touchdown.
With only a few minutes left in the half, it looked as though the score would be tied going into halftime, but the Jets allowed Odell Beckham Jr. to score a long touchdown on busted coverage, and then allowed the Giants to get into field goal range on their final drive. In between safety Calvin Pryor saved another touchdown when he broke up a pass to Beckham in the endzone, knocking Beckham to the ground.
After a few more plays and some scuffling, Giants led at the half 20-10.
Almost nothing happened in the second half until the very end of the game, except the Jets and Giants both proved they weren’t very good football teams. An 11 minute, 21 second Giants drive – which in real time lasted about half hour – was continually extended due to Jets penalties, and ended when Manning was picked off in the red zone on fourth down.
And so Gang Green’s comeback began.
The Jets then came down the field efficiently only to run three brutal plays in the red zone and come away with only three points. With 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, it was 20-13 Giants.
The Jets forced the Giants into a three and out and took the ball back with 2:30 to go. The drive went rather smoothly, all things considered. On fourth and six, Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled for the first down, and with the game on the line, Fitzpatrick connected with Brandon Marshall for the touchdown and the extra point tied the game at 20.
The Jets won the toss to begin overtime. On the backs of Marshall, Decker, and Powell, the Jets came all the way down the field, only to stop using them in the red zone. Bullock kicked a field goal, putting the Jets ahead 23-20.
For those who don’t remember the new overtime rules, unless a team scores a touchdown on their first possession, the other team also gets a possession. After forcing the Giants to fourth and two, it looked like it was going to be easy when Beckham kicked the ball for a delay of game penalty and it became fourth and seven. But Beckham made up for it, making a brilliant grab for a 21 yard gain, and the Giants were in field goal range.
The Jets defense, the most reliable part of the team this afternoon in spite of its penalty ridden second half, forced the Giants to a fourth down situation again. After 29 straight makes, kicker Josh Brown missed the 48 yard field goal, securing the Jets overtime victory.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s final line on the day was 36/50 for 390 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 107.9 rating (which speaks volumes about how bad the Giants defense is).
Chris Ivory led all rushers with 10 carries for 47 yards. Brandon Marshall led the Jets with 12 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. Decker followed with eight receptions for 101 yards. Powell had 91 receiving yards and a touchdown.
David Harris led the Jets defense with nine tackles. Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Mike Catapano all registered a sack.
The Jets look to continue their winning ways next weekend against the Tennessee Titans and their freshly drafted quarterback, Marcus Mariotta. Kickoff is at 1:00 PM.