On Sunday the New York Jets faced off against former teammate Darrelle Revis and the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, and while it wasn't the prettiest debut for rookie Geno Smith at quarterback, it was an 18-17 victory. The Jets now have a short week to recover and go up against the AFC East division rival Patriots in New England Thursday night.
The New York Jets won the coin toss but deferred to receive until the second half. On the Buccaneers opening drive they moved the ball well early, then communication issues with quarterback Josh Freeman through the helmet microphone caused them to take a timeout early and two delay of game penalties moving them backwards. Antwan Barnes registered his first sack as a Jet, ending the opening drive. The Jets first play from scrimmage was beautiful pass from Geno Smith to Jeremy Kerley for 26 yards, but the drive stalled on consecutive wildcat plays. Robert Malone pinned the Bucs inside their five yard line and Freeman was forced to kick the ball out of the end zone on a bad snap that put the Jets up 2-0 on the safety. Muhammad Wilkerson sacked Freeman to end the next Bucs drive, but they would score on their next possession as Freeman found Mike Williams for a touchdown. Smith connected with Santonio Holmes on a third down and 11 play for 13 yards, as the only catch Holmes made all game.
Geno Smith found fullback Tommy Bohanon wide open for 21 yards to keep the drive going. Nick Folk made a 43-yard field goal to make it Tampa Bay seven and Jets five. Smith had the ball knocked out of his hand at their own five yard line on the next Jets drive that ended in a touchdown run by Doug Martin, putting the Bucs up 14-5. Smith was intercepted on the following Jets drive as he overthrew Chris Ivory. Jeff Cumberland left the game just prior on a wicked hit by Goldson. The Jets returned the favor on Josh Freeman several plays into the next Bucs drive as Isaiah Trufant hit Freeman while throwing and the pass sailed to Dawan Landry who ran it back deep into Bucs territory. A sack of Smith backed up the Jets to midfield, but Smith connected with Kerley, who got sandwiched and drew another 15 yard penalty for the Jets. Smith found Kellen Winslow for a first down inside the 10 yard line for the touchdown a few plays later. Jets cut the lead to 14-12 at the half.
After the Jets received the second half kickoff, Geno Smith finally started to target Stephen Hill for consecutive first downs. Nick Mangold was hurt a few plays later as Tommy Bohanon accidentally hit him in the right elbow/arm. Caleb Schlauderaff spelled him and on the next Jets series both Mangold and Cumberland returned. Robert Malone boomed an 84-yard punt after that drive stalled, but it netted 64 yards as Trufant just missed downing it inside the five yard line. Stephen Hill made a tough catch for six yards and also left the game briefly. No scoring occurred in the quarter.
On a third down and one yard play the Jets inexplicably called a gadget run play to Kerley that lost yards and forced a punt. Cramps started to hit the players during the final period as Muhammad Wilkerson went down holding the back of his left leg. Stephen Hill made a nice grab that was ruled incomplete at first by referees, but was challenged by Jets and overturned as Hill definitely got his hands under the ball near the ground. That catch kept a drive going that saw Bilal Powell run for a first down and catch a screen pass to get the Jets in field goal range. Nick Folk made a 30-yard field goal to put the Jets up 15-14. Calvin Pace and Sheldon Richardson each recorded half a sack as they sandwiched Freeman on the Bucs next series, but they were able to drive for a go-ahead field goal by Rian Lindell of 37 yards. Smith found Winslow to move the Jets to the 45 yard line quickly. Then Lavonte David was flagged for a late hit on Smith as he ran out of bounds giving them 15 more yards and within range for a field goal attempt within 50 yards. Nick Folk connected from 48 yards with two seconds left to give the Jets the win 18-17.
The biggest concern after the game may have been the tough hits that passes from Smith gave to Cumberland, Kerley and Hill. The Jets don't have a lot of depth overall at receiver and Holmes is still working back into full game playing shape. Hopefully the coaches and staff can make it all work in the game plan for facing the Patriots this week.
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