Week 5 has came and went with the Jets upsetting the Falcons in Atlanta to go to 3-2. How did they do it? Here are the quick hits:
1) Geno Smith was on fire in the 1st half – Smith was 8/9 for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. He was 4/5 on 3rd down and rediscovered Jeff Cumberland who was a monster in the first half with 3 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. He finished 11/15 for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. Smith was poised, in control and did not turn the ball over. The offensive line play was stellar and gave Smith all the time he needed in the first half. Jeremy Kerley was very active with 3 catches for 45 yards. Smith went through his progressions a lot better settling for check downs to the running backs when nothing was there. As Atlanta began to blitz in the second half Smith came back to Earth a bit as he had to make quick decisions but he took what he was given and protected the ball. Smith threw a key touchdown to Kellen Winslow on a 3rd and goal to stretch a six point lead to 13 in the 4th quarter. On that play Sheldon Richardson was the fullback and Ducasse was the jumbo tight end. Yes, you read that correctly. Once again he could not put the Falcons away when he had a chance with the ball up six with eight minutes to go. He took a sack and then an illegal substitution penalty that cost precious field position late in the game.
2) Goal line stand highlights good defensive effort but came up short- The Jets had an excellent defensive effort through 3 quarters highlighted by finishing the first half with a dramatic goal line stand and Coples and Richardson stuffed Snelling as time expired. In the 4th quarter they tired and allowed Ryan and the Falcons to drive the field twice in the last 8 minutes to win the game. The front seven was dominant for the Jets most of the night holding Atlanta to 2.9 yards per rush and having 7 tackles for loss. Ryan made few mistakes and was 36/45 for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns including the game winner to the backup tight end. Muhammad Wilkerson was dominant with 7 tackles including 2 for loss and a strip sack that got momentum back to the Jets at a key juncture in the 3rd quarter. Sheldon Richardson had a sack, Jaiquawn Jarrett played very well as did Demario Davis and David Harris. Quinton Coples is getting push but hasn’t gotten a sack, yet. Antonio Cromartie has done a good job on Julio Jones limiting Jones to 7 catches for 53 yards. Cromartie stopped Jones 3 times on deep routes with no help before allowing a late 4th quarter catch to put the Falcons inside the Jets 30. The Jets are dropping into coverage and forcing Ryan to drive the field in small chunks and it worked in the first half. In the second half Ryan started to open it up. The Jets could not stop Tony Gonzalez they are getting him open any time they need him. He has 7 receptions for 74 yards most on 3rd downs. Atlanta seized momentum back driving the field for a touchdown to start the second half but the Jets fought back.
3) Welcome Mike Goodson – Goodson made an impact immediately running 3 times for 32 yards including a 26 yard run around end. He also had a 3rd down catch for 9 yards. He did not play the second half. The Jets ran full house backfield with Powell, Bohanon and Goodson and also utilized Goodson on Wildcat plays. Chris Ivory exploded on a couple of runs including an 18 yard run at the start of the 4th quarter. Powell had a very quiet night with 28 yards on 10 carries. He also had a catch for 9 yards.
4) Offensive line rebounds – The offensive line let the Jets rush for 5.2 yards per carry in the first half and kept Geno Smith upright, giving him the time he needed to have an excellent first half. Brian Winters more than held his own in the first half and the line as a whole did not have a first half penalty. Winters was beaten badly on a key sack late in the 3rd quarter that forced the Jets to settle for a field goal.
5) Lost opportunities – The Jets, who haven’t forced a turnover since Week 1, had two in their hands in the 1st quarter but couldn’t hold on. Darrin Walls had a sure pick-6 bounce off of his hands and Dawan Landry could not scoop up a Roddy White fumble on the next drive that prolonged an Atlanta drive. Walls also could not catch an interception in the 4th quarter that could have iced the game. These turnovers have to be converted if you want to win on the road against a good team. The Jets also had a slew of missed tackles in the second half that were very costly and sustained Falcon drives.
6) Special teams – A great punt block by Antonio Allen gave the Jets good early field position leading to a field goal. Clyde Gates had a 36 yard kickoff return and Folk was once again perfect on field goals with only one returned kickoff.
7) Penalties – The Jets only had 6 penalties for 24 yards in the game but the last was the costliest as David Harris was called for defensive holding on a 4th and 3 inside the Jets 10 that would have effectively ended the game. Two of those penalties were good penalties that helped prevent an Atlanta touchdown late in the first half. David Harris got called for defensive holding and most of the defense got called for interfering with Gonzalez on a 4th and goal play. The team looked much more crisp and in control in the first half and it showed in the penalty column.
8) Injuries – Mike Goodson returned from suspension to play his first game as a Jet. Chris Ivory returned from a hamstring injury. Kellen Winslow toughed it out despite a knee injury. Santonio Holmes and Dee Milliner both sat because of hamstring injuries. Antwan Barnes left the game with a leg injury in the 4th quarter.