Week 1 is in the books, and so is the New York Jets first win (31-10) of the season!
What’s understood doesn’t need to be stated. It was the Cleveland Browns. I get it. But in a tough AFC East division, where each team is 4-0 after kicking off the season, every win is significant. The Jets must win its winnable games if they want any chance of winning the division or grabbing a wild card spot come playoff time. So far, so good, and I am pleased. Especially pleased as a matter of fact, because not only did the Jets win, but they busted down the Browns; beating them by 21 points. This is life.
Here are three things about the Jets that jumped off the tube at me, yesterday.
NOT THE SAME OL’ OFFENSE
For the first time in years, the Jets offense has depth. We can ground and pound with Chris Ivory, who is absolutely beastly (91 yards, 2 TDs) or put it in the air to Brandon Marshall (62 yards, 1 TD) or Eric Decker (37 yards, 1 TD). Or even Chris Owusu (55 yards). Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (179 yards, 2 TDs) has talent, accuracy, sense, timing, and in general, a feel for the game that Geno Smith never exhibited. Fitz beautifully threaded the needle to Decker for a 15-yard touchdown that had me drooling. Or what about Marshall’s touchdown catch? Fitz perfectly targeted Marshall, who like spiderman, rose above Pro Bowler Joe Haden and snatched the ball out of the air. And even when Fitz did his best Smith impression, throwing an interception in the second quarter, it was no big deal. Marshall swooped in and stripped the ball from Tashaun Gipson, retaining possession for the Jets. It was exactly the type of backwards-ass play you’d expect from the Brown and Jets, but the Jets came out on top, so whatevs. From the second quarter on, it was just that kinda day for the Jets offense. Could this be our new normal? Possibly.
Finally, the Jets have weapons. And Fitz isn’t afraid to use them.
Oh. And just because…
The supposed great Jets defense looked extremely shady at the start of the game. The Browns held onto the ball for 19 plays and 10 minutes during the opening drive. After absolute domination, the drive was halted by a Josh McCown (49 yards, 1 fumble) fumble and recovery by Antonio Cromartie. Thank God. McCown was subsequently concussed, and the Johnny Manziel (182 yards, 1 TD, 1INT) show commenced. Manziel ran around like a chicken with his head cut off, charging down the field at will. But he caused the most damage, converting on 3rd and 19. Going long to Travis Benjamin (89 yards, 1 TD), who decimated Cromartie’s coverage, the Brown’s struck first with a 54-yard touchdown.
At this point, I cursed every player on the Jets defense. But quickly changed my tune once the Jets got on the board and racked up 31 points.
The Brandon Marshall strip was the game changing play of the game, no question. But a Manziel interception recovered by Cromartie’s replacement (knee injury), Marcus Williams, indicated that with or without Cro, the secondary will be alright. Then, factor in two Manziel fumbles recovered by the Jets, and NO Sheldon Richardson on the frontline, I was suddenly feeling a whole lot better about my squad.
Maybe the Jets defense is as good as advertised, after all.
And lastly, there was no greater sight than observing Geno Smith in plain clothes, on the sidelines, holding a clipboard, and taking notes. That’s a visual I could get used to.
Next, the Jets are in Indy taking on the Colts. Rex Ryan and the Bills got in the Colts’ ass on Sunday, which I doubt anyone expected, so the Colts will be especially motivated to bounce back. Meanwhile, the Jets will be high off of Sunday’s win over the Browns and confident. Regardless of what the Colts showed against the Bills, they’re still considered an elite team in the league. Jets fans will gain a better sense of what our team is truly working with Monday night. Hopefully the pass the test.