Two bad teams produced, not surprisingly, a bad game. Nonetheless, the Jets pulled out a 16-11 win over the Titans Sunday in Tennessee.
It was the first road win of the year for the Jets, with their last road win coming in Week 17 of last year in Miami. And while it was a feel-good victory for the team, it does come with a caveat: the win likely takes the Jets out of the running for the first overall pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.
Late in the fourth quarter, Chris Johnson’s 37-yard run out of the Wildcat was followed up later in that drive with a Chris Ivory 1-yard touchdown run to give the Jets a 16-11 lead with 3:09 left in the game. For Johnson, a former Titan unceremoniously cut this past offseason, it was his sixth touchdown of the season.
In a game marred by sloppy play (the Jets had four missed tackles in the first quarter alone), the Titans took a 5-3 lead at halftime via a field goal and a safety. Dropped passes, penalties and the aforementioned missed tackles doomed the Jets in the first half.
But the Jets overcame all that in Johnson’s homecoming to Tennessee and the defense stood tall as the Titans’ attempt to win the game fell short. Johnson finished the game with 55 yards on 10 carries.
Three Things That Went Right in the Jets Win:
Marty Ball – Twice in the second half, once in the third quarter when he called a pass play on fourth-and-short in the red zone that resulted in a touchdown and then a Wildcat play on their final drive of the game, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg took chances. And both times, they worked. Late in the game, a direct snap to former Titan Chris Johnson resulted in a 37-yard run and the Jets would take the lead on a Chris Ivory one-yard touchdown run six plays later. The Jets needed some of this play calling earlier in the year when Mornhinweg was stale and predictable and handcuffed the offense with his lack of vision.
Bend, Don’t Break Defense – Coming into the game, the Titans allowed 41 sacks, a number that was bottom five in the league. It would seem to be an advantage for a Jets defensive line and pass rush that, despite Muhammad Wilkerson missing with a toe injury, was still dangerous. But the Jets didn’t register a sack until late in the game – and yet it didn’t matter. The defense did plenty of bending but didn’t break, doing just enough to give the offense a chance to win this game. Of course they were helped by the fact that starter Jake Locker was knocked out of the game in the second quarter, putting Charlie Whitehurst in the game. And yet things finally broke the way of the Jets in this one and they did enough to get the win.
Rex Still Has This Team – It was an ugly win, but for a team that just won its third game of the season, the Jets will certainly take it. More important, the Jets showed that they haven’t quit on this season or on head coach Rex Ryan. His sixth year as head coach of the Jets, it has certainly been a disappointing season for Ryan and while rumors circle that this will be his final season in New York, it is clear that the team still responds to him. The Jets played a bad game, they were sloppy and ugly – but they didn’t quit. And a lot of credit goes to Ryan for getting his players to put in a tough effort for all four quarters.