The Jets came off their bye week rested and re-charged – and needed every bit of that energy early on -- as they toppled the Washington Redskins, 34-20, in a hard-fought matchup.
Led by a strong rushing attack and an opportunistic defense that forced Washington to wilt in the second half, the Jets (4-1) have proven themselves to be a legitimate player in the AFC playoff race.
Washington (2-4) just couldn’t get anything going offensively, especially on the ground, as it was smashed, 221-34, in rushing yards. That ineffectiveness forced quarterback Kirk Cousins (25-of-43 for 196 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions) to make plays through the air, and that proved to be the downturn for a Washington offense that is built on the run.
Metro takes a look at the key storylines that unfolded in the victory.
What we saw:
1. Mr. Everything
The Jets may be under a new regime, but they evoked the old ground and pound philosophy when they centered their game-plan around the versatile Chris Ivory. The multifaceted running back led all runners with 146 rushing yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, and chipped in three catches for 50 yards on three targets. Ivory was a tone-setter for the Jets, as he helped the offense out-gain Washington, 474-225. New York also held a time-of-possession advantage by holding the ball for 33, and Ivory was the main reason, as it was the first time he notched consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.
2. Second-half team
They might’ve played sleepily in the first half, but the Jets came out of the halftime locker room roaring, out-scoring Washington, 17-0, in the third quarter. New York forced two turnovers in the stanza to take command of the game, as it got touchdowns by wideout Brandon Marshall and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick – the highlight featuring the former who bullied Washington’s secondary. Fitzpatrick hooked up with Marshall on a beautiful 35-yard touchdown when he beat cornerback Bashaud Breeland. It was a display of physical superiority for Marshall, who bested the jam at the line of scrimmage, made a shoe-string catch at the 19-yard line, and out-muscled two Washington defensive backs to race the final yardage into the end zone. Fitzpatrick also showed his wares as a runner when he scampered for 18 yards for the score, immediately following a Darrelle Revis interception. The sequence was a microcosm for Washington which played their customary part of third-quarter patsies, as the continued their trend of being outscored in that quarter. They’ve now been outpaced, 34-0, in that quarter.
3. No ‘mo Geno.
It’s already been established that this is Fitzpatrick’s team going forward, but if there was any hope the veteran would relinquish the starting gig, it was doused on Sunday. Fitzpatrick has been a calming influence on offense, and is on pace to statistically have one of the franchise’s top-five seasons ever. He finished 19-of-26 for 253 yards, two touchdowns, including spreading the ball to six different targets, and was so tuned in that he would’ve also been the leading rusher on Washington, as he added 31 yards on the ground. He threw a pick – an impressive individual play by Breeland – but even when Washington kept things close and challenged, Fitzpatrick coolly kept the offense composed and led four scoring drives (three touchdowns) in the second half.