The Jets opened 2014 with a sloppy 19-14 win over the Raiders behind solid play from quarterback Geno Smith and two Nick Folk field goals.
The Jets didn't exactly look like world-beaters against one of the league's worst teams last year. But they scratched and clawed through the penalty whistles and their own mistakes to churn out an important win.
Nick Folk opened the game with a 45-yard field goal, but the Raiders scored later in the first quarter. Charles Woodson made a diving interception and six plays later rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw his first career touchdown for a 7-3 lead.
To his credit, Smith responded well, putting the Jets up 10-7 with 30 seconds left in the first half. A 12-play, 80-yard drive ended with points when Smith's shovel pass to Chris Johnson for a 5-yard dive into the end zone and a 10-7 lead. It was Johnson's first touchdown as a Jet.
It was beyond a solid performance from the Jets defense, which did a tremendous job containing the Raiders' offense. In his first NFL start, Carr struggled with the multiple looks thrown at him by the Jets defense and he was hurt by a rushing offense that generated just 25 yards.
A Jets secondary that had multiple question marks heading into this game responded well and had no major breakdowns. They kept the Raiders receivers in front of them and cornerback Darrin Walls and rookie safety Calvin Pryor both produced solid hits that led to pass breakups.
The Jets pulled away in the fourth quarter when Ivory bounced off a would-be tackler and broke another tackle en route to a 71-yard touchdown run. It had been a quiet afternoon from Ivory up until that point with Johnson getting the majority of carries.
The win gives head coach Rex Ryan a 5-1 mark in season openers with the Jets.
What we learned in the win ...
1. Penalties, penalties and sloppiness
Preseason is supposed to be the time to work out the kinks but the Jets looked plenty sloppy to start the game. On their first drive, three flags on the offensive line helped stall things and they had to settle for a game-opening field goal. Then on their second drive, the first two plays were a holding call and a Smith interception where he was locked in on Eric Decker, leading to a diving interception by Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson. Smith fumbled with the Jets on the goal line early in the second quarter on a play where he left the ball unsecure in his right arm. All told, the Jets struggled with penalties, accruing 11 for 105 yards.
2. Year No. 2 of Geno
It started off so promising for Smith, who completed five of his first six passes in leading the Jets to a field goal on the game's opening drive. Then the wheels came off with an interception and a fumble until the Jets' final possession of the first half when Smith calmly led the offense 80 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown. The score came off a well-executed shovel pass to Chris Johnson where he put it in a perfect spot for his playmaker to turn and score. While Smith made some poor decisions, including an interception in the first quarter when he locked in on Eric Decker, he did calm down.
Smith finished with a solid stat line, even with the turnovers. He completed 23-of-28 passes for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception and a fumble.
In his first NFL start last year, Smith threw for 256 yards with a touchdown and an interception as he completed 63.2 percent of his passes. He also added 47 yards rushing in a win over the Buccaneers.
3. Quigley does his job
After a rough preseason, it was a very good opening day for Ryan Quigley. He twice pinned the Raiders inside their own 20-yard line, once early in the fourth quarter when his 56-yard punt put the Raiders on their own 6-yard line. Known primarily as a directional kicker, it was a very solid boot from Quigley, who is in his second year with the Jets. Those subtle field changes helped the Jets defense put together a solid afternoon.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.