Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rex: Today, the offense picked up the defense


Usually, it's the other way around. Sunday, it wasn't.

Despite giving up 27 points, the New York Jets won rather comfortably Sunday over the Oakland Raiders, gaining 209 yards through the air and another 143 on the ground -- and a season-high 37 points -- en route to a season-saving victory.

"Today was one of those days where the offense had to pick up the defense," Jets coach Rex Ryan said after the game, via The Star-Ledger.

That was mostly true.

Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith finally bounced back from his near two-month slump, throwing for a touchdown and rushing for another. After throwing a first-quarter interception, Smith went on to a 16-for-25 day through the air while gaining 50 yards on five carries to boot.

Smith's newly-healthy receiving corps of Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Kellen Winslow provided a much-needed boost, as did the tough running of Chris Ivory.

"Anytime you have guys healthy and available for a performance, you have a pretty good outcome," Holmes said. "Confidence is built and coaches feel confident in play-calling. And the team plays as planned."

The defense got burned for 265 yards through the air and another 150 on the ground (mostly thanks to a 63-yard touchdown scamper by Marcel Reese), but the Jets' special teams unit played a major role in the win.

Antonio Allen blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown, and Nick Folk was 3-for-3 on field goals -- including a 51-yarder. Ryan Quigley also was good for a couple punts that pinned Oakland deep.

Safety Ed Reed did snag his first interception as a Jet, but he also added a blooper-reel play that resulted in a long Raiders touchdown pass. Gang Green's defense tallied three sacks and held the Raiders to a 5-for-15 tally on third down.

Ivory scored on the ground, and Kerley hauled in Smith's lone touchdown strike.

The Jets are still just a game out of the final Wildcard playoff spot, though their tiebreaker situation is unfavorable at the moment.

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