New York Jets: First team explodes in MetLife Bowl
The biggest test for the New York Jets and their first team came down to the MetLife Bowl, the annual battle against the New York Giants. It was the biggest test for the first team because it was the first time they would play longer than just the first quarter. The way preseason is setup the first team is usually playing cautiously. First preseason game usually they are playing for no more than two series in the first quarter, then in the second game the first team tends to play for the first quarter, then the big test comes around where the first team plays a whole half, finally the fourth game the first team doesn’t play at all.
The Jets effectively knocked it out of the park this past weekend against the Giants as they steamrolled them for a final score of 28-18. For the Jets’ first team vs the Giants’ first team, Gang Green walked away winners having “won” 21-7 at the half. No one could have guessed how crisp the Jets’ offense looked. They were truly firing on all cylinders.
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Newly appointed starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick shined in his performance that night. Fitzpatrick ended his night 9-of-14 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick looked in control as he made throws to his top two wide receivers even connecting with Decker in the end-zone. He also connected with running back Zac Stacy on a screen pass that effectively had every Giants’ defensive member on the opposite side of the field.
Both Decker and Marshall had plays throughout the first half as well. Marshall showed off his pure athletic ability in different areas, for example he cut across the field and made the catch but instead of going down when he was grabbed he ran around the defender to gain enough for a first down. Stacy seemingly won a roster spot, especially after the game he played on Saturday. He played most of the game during both Fitzpatrick’s and Petty’s series. He also had an amazing screen pass for a touchdown towards the end of the first half.
The Jets offense’ was not the only part that showed up against the Giants. The defense finally looked like it was coming together compared to their performances in their first two preseason games. They effectively shut down Eli Manning even coming away with a pick six. The pick six was easily the best part of the first teams’ defense because it showed that veteran Antonio Cromartie still has what it takes as he jumped the receiver’s route and took it 59 yards down the field for the touchdown.
Aug 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie (31) runs to the end zone after intercepting a pass from New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets’ defensive line worked very well against the Giants’ run game holding them to just 37 yards by their running backs in the first half. This was truly the first time the defense seemed to come together and were able to keep the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. from doing anything truly spectacular. The only touchdown the Giants’ offense were able to get came from two penalties in the red-zone that if they were not called would have netted the Giants just a measly field goal.
This game truly looked like a good step forward for the Jets, although the team will not let you know that. Each of the star players from Fitzpatrick to Revis all stated that they thought it was just a good game but there were still a lot of things they needed to fix. This is definitely a change of attitude from the previous coach who would boast about how great they did and looked in practice just to have the team lose by 40 points that Sunday.
If the Jets continue this steady play of football consistently getting better over time, we can truly be excited to possibly see a season where the Jets can potentially make the NFL Playoffs. If everything falls into place, the Jets can truly become contenders again.
What was your favorite moment in the MetLife Bowl? Lets us know in the comments below!
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