The expectation level for the New York Jets this season has been tepid at best. A team with a new head coach and a new front office has been tasked with the challenge of getting the franchise back on the right track, after years of mediocrity and embarrassment under Rex Ryan.
On Sunday, Gang Green took a first step, granted against the Cleveland Browns. Yet it was the positive first step the franchise has been looking for.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, after an early interception settled down, delivering a solid ball game for Gang Green. He completed 15-of-24 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Even the Jets running attack of Chris Ivory got into the mix, as the unsung tailback gashed Cleveland for 91 yards and a score.
And speaking of making headlines with the fans, Brandon Marshall did exactly that on Sunday. After Fitzpatrick was picked off by Tashaun Gibson, Marshall stripped the corner of the football and recovered it for the Jets. The interception meant nothing. The Jets had the football back. Two plays later, Ivory dashed into the end zone for the score, tying the game at seven.
Later Marshall caught a back shoulder touchdown pass by Fitzpatrick in the corner of the end zone that would push the Jets lead to 21-10.
As for Decker he caught Fitzpatrick's first touchdown of the day on a 15-yard slant route inside that gave New York a 14-10 lead in the second quarter before halftime.
The Jets defense did an outstanding job adjusting to the ways of Johnny Manziel, after the former Texas A&M star hit a 54-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. The Jets harassed Manziel, forcing an interceptions and strip sacking him a couple of times.
The only real bad news to come out of the win were a couple of injuries, most notably to cornerback Antonino Cromartie, who left the game with a knee injury. He is to be examined on Monday, according to multiple reports. The Jets could ill afford to lose Cromartie, especially with Darrelle Revis back with him in New York.
And, speaking of Revis, the corner had four tackles in his first day back in green and white.
The game also marked the return of Fireman Ed, who gave up his duties as the leader of Jets Nation during the embarrassment of the Ryan-Sanchez debacle in 2012 (AKA the Butt fumble).