They nearly gave it away, the Jets sometimes looking like they might bumble their way to a third straight loss, but instead they did just enough in a 28-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jets staked themselves to a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter and seemed to be in cruise-control but then let the game nearly fall through their fingers. The Jaguars clawed their way back into the game but never were able to wrest control, despite the Jets' best efforts to give away the game.
A Jason Myers 45-yard field goal put the Jags on the scoreboard first. A six-play, 51-yard drive midway through the first quarter put the Jets up 7-3 when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found wide receiver Eric Decker for a six-yard touchdown catch. The Jets would never trail again.
Then on the Jaguars' next drive, Marcus Williams intercepted a Blake Bortles pass, snagging a ball that was popped up by a deflection made by Darrelle Revis. The Jets took over on their own 32-yard line and seven plays later, running back Chris Ivory punched it in from one yard out for a 14-3 lead.
Fitzpatrick, who was knocked out of last week's game when he tore a ligament in his left hand, started and performed well. It wasn't a perfect performance but he finished 21-for-34 for 272 yards and two touchdown passes.
Williams, who had an important interception in the second quarter, got his second interception of the game with 24 seconds left to ice the game.
Three things we learned:
1. Ivory is Far From Back
Hamstring and quad injuries have greatly affected the play of Chris Ivory over the past two weeks, limiting the Jets running back and his hard-charging style of play. In the Jets losses at the Patriots and at the Raiders, Ivory was limited to a combined 58 yards rushing. Against the Jaguars, it was no different. At halftime, he had 12 carries for 14 yards and finished with just 27 yards on 20 carries. Against the hapless Jaguars, the Jets can get by with precious little output from the ground game, but this team had better hope that Ivory gets stronger with some good defenses coming up on the schedule. And the less said about his fumble late in the fourth quarter, the better.
2. He Didn't Folk It Up
With kicker Nick Folk out with a quad injury, the kicking duties fell to punter Ryan Quigley to pull double-duty. Quigley, who does practice place kicking during camp and throughout the season, hit all four point-after attempts and then nailed a precise punt inside the 10-yard line late in the game. Did someone say AFC Special Teams Players of the Week?
3.The Defense Does It Right
After struggles the past two games, especially in the pass defense, the Jets seemed to settle down as a unit. They gave up some plays here and there to Bortles, but as a whole, the group stepped up after being slapped around last weekend. The only black mark was cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who got beaten like a drum throughout the second and third quarter by wide receiver Allen Hurns. But a good day by Revis and two interceptions from Williams keyed a bounce-back effort.