A Quick Recap of Last Week in JetNation:
Fitzpatrick Leads Another Game Winning, Overtime Drive to Top the Patriots
Fitzmagic is still alive and well. Ryan Fitzpatrick led another game winning drive, and helped the Jets get a victory in a virtual ‘must win’ game. The game began with an 18-yard five play drive that ended in a Jets punt. The Patriots answered with a five play, punting drive of their own. The Jets got their first points on the ensuing possession with a 79-yard 13 play drive. Randy Bullock hit a 30-yard field goal to put the Jets up 3-0. After two more punting drives, one by each team, the Patriots tied the game on a 69-yard 12 play drive with a 35-yard field goal. The Jets turned around and answered with seven. It was a slow, methodical 80-yard 13 play drive with no play gaining over 12 yards. The Jets chewed up around seven minutes with their drive, leaving less than two minutes on the clock. Brandon Marshall grabbed a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to make it 10-3 with one minute and 57 seconds left in the half. The Patriots decided to take a knee on a three play drive, ending the first half. On the Patriots’ first drive of the second half, Darrelle Revis recorded his fifth interception on the season and his third against Tom Brady. The interception came on a play in which Brady was under pressure and threw the ball behind Rob Gronkowski. The Jets capitalized on Revis’ interception with a six play 61-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall making it 17-3. The Patriots answered with a field goal making it 17-6. On the next drive Ryan Fitzpatrick had the ball knocked out of his hand right as he was about to come forward with his pass, causing a fumble. The fumble was recovered by Jamie Collins and returned for a touchdown which made the score 17-13. The Jets were able to answer with a field goal making it 20-13.
After four punting drives, two by each team, the Patriots tied the game up with a 66-yard 11 play drive. The Patriots scored on a 9-yard touchdown pass to James White, with David Harris leaving White uncovered in the middle of the field. Tied at 20-20, the Jets had a chance to get points before the end of the game with a minute and 55 seconds remaining. They had to punt, and the Patriots chose to head into overtime with a knee. The Patriots won the coin toss at the beginning of overtime, and somewhat controversially, elected to kick the ball. The Jets capitalized on their decision and went 80 yards in five plays, sealing the deal with a six-yard touchdown reception by Eric Decker to win the game. For the first three and a half quarters or so, the Jets seemed like the dominant team. They allowed the Patriots to climb back into the game with poor coverage on a touchdown drive late in the game. Other than the final five minutes of the game, the defense was dominant. It was another all around solid game for the Jets. The impact players of the game were: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Bilal Powell, Quincy Enunwa, and Sheldon Richardson. It was a close choice, but for the sake of switching it up the player of the game was Brandon Marshall. Marshall made up for his drop in week seven and then some. He finished the day with eight receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The plays of the game were: both of Marshall’s touchdown receptions particularly the 33-yard touchdown, Quincy Enunwa’s overtime 48-yard reception, Darrelle Revis’ interception, Sheldon Richardson’s sack, Lorenzo Mauldin’s sack, and Eric Decker’s game-winning touchdown catch. It was also a close choice for play of the game, but it has to be Decker’s game winner in overtime.
Jets Now Control Their Own Destiny with a Win-and-In Scenario
After falling to the seventh seed slot last week, the Jets have moved back into the sixth seed with their win over New England and Pittsburgh’s loss to Baltimore. The Jets are now in control of their own destiny and can punch their ticket to the playoffs with a win next week against the Bills. It’s safe to say that Rex Ryan would love nothing more than to keep his former team out of the playoffs. The game against the Bills will be a tough game, and Ryan will have his players fired up. Bills running back Anthony ‘Boobie’ Dixon referred to the match up as their “Superbowl.” If the Jets win, they are in regardless of the circumstances. If the Jets lose it’s still possible they could keep the sixth seed, but they would need the Steelers to lose again next week, or the Broncos to lose twice. Obviously, the ideal scenario is to win the final match up and carry that momentum into the playoffs. The Jets have their former head coach standing in their way.
The Jets have now won five games in a row at a critical time in the season. The last time the Jets won five games in a row was during the 2010 season, the last time they made the playoffs. They’ll likely need to make it six in a row if they want to make the playoffs this season. It would be a disappointment if the Jets didn’t make the playoffs with a 10+ win season. Todd Bowles is the third head coach in Jets history to have 10 or more wins in their rookie season. The other two were Eric Mangini and Herm Edwards, both of whom lost in the wildcard round. It’s not exactly good company, but Bowles has already defied the odds so far this season.
The records continue to break this season for the Jets’ star trio. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker have all either tied or broken records this season. Brandon Marshall broke the Jets single season reception record surpassing Al Toon’s old record of 93. Marshall is sitting at 101 receptions on the season, also breaking the NFL record for most 100 reception seasons with six. With his 29th touchdown this season, Ryan Fitzpatrick has tied Vinny Testaverde’s team record for most passing touchdowns in a season. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have both scored touchdowns in eight games this season, which also set an NFL record. Fitzpatrick, Marshall, and Decker have put themselves in the conversation for the best quarterback – wide receiver trio the Jets have ever had and they’re only in their first season together.
During the fourth quarter Kenbrell Thompkins was injured while trying to set a block for running back Bilal Powell. Powell actually went down on the play as well, but was able to walk off the field afterwards. Unfortunately, Thompkins wasn’t able to do the same. After spending some time on the ground, Thompkins was carted off into the locker room. On the replay Thompkins was shown trying to block a New England defender and pulled up after a non-contact injury. It looked as if Thompkins landed awkwardly while trying to plant his leg and throw a block. Chris Ivory was also injured earlier in the game, but returned in a limited fashion. The extent of Thompkins’ injury hasn’t been determined yet.
It’s a fitting scenario in that the Jets will have to defeat their former head coach to make the playoffs. It will be a chance for players from the previous regime to ‘exercise some demons.’ It will also be a chance for two new Jets to make a playoff appearance for the first time in their careers. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall have yet to reach the postseason in their 11th and 10th seasons respectively. Rex Ryan will have the Bills fired up for what they’re viewing as their own ‘Superbowl.’ It’s a game that the Jets will likely need to win if they want to continue their bid for the Superbowl.