The Jets left little doubt on Sunday that this would be their's for the taking. The Jets not only blew the Tennessee Titans out of the building, they thoroughly dominated them in each phase of the football game. From ball control to a persistent ariel assault the Jets took an early lead and never looked back against a Tennessee Titans team that clearly threw in the towel early.
Right for the get go the game plan was simple, put the ball in the hands of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and ask him to orchestrate a masterpiece. While he wasn't perfect with a little too much zip on his fastball at times, Fitzpatrick still got the job done, leading the Jets to scores on five of their first six possessions of the football game.
Fitz was 21-of-36 for 263 yards and three scores, this coming a week after throwing for nearly 400 yards against the Giants. One the opening drive of the day, he connected with Eric Decker on a huge third and eight to move the ball to the Jets 43. Then, in what has become a weekly habit for Fitzpatrick, he tucked the ball and dashed away from defenders for a 19-yard gain to get the ball to the Titans 28. Four plays later, Fitzpatrick found Decker in the heart of the end zone for six points.
The opening drive took 5:48 off the clock. The Titans response? A three and out with three dreary incompletions by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. If you only watched the opening possessions by both teams that was all one needed to see.
The Jets spent the entire afternoon in Mariota's grill. They mixed and matched with different blitz packages, confusing the young quarterback who was sacked five times, including three by Muhammad Wilkerson. Mariota also threw an interception and bobbled a snap that led to a huge loss of yardage in the second half with Tennessee driving. Mariota's only highlight of the day was the 41-yard touchdown catch he had on a tick play by the Titans that was the result of busted coverage by the Jets.
Other than that it was all Jets all the time. After Fitzpatrick guided the Jets to a pair of field goals to make it 13-0, the Jets offense going again on their fifth possession of the day thanks to the nifty running of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Ivory gashed the Titans for 32 yards to the Titans 40, before Powell got the Jets to the shadow of the red zone on an 11-yard scamper. The drive culminated in a 16-yard screen pass to Powell, who cut through four defenders into the end zone for the score to make it 20-0.
The Jets have really found something by using Powell as a receiver. Underutilized early in the year, Powell had five receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. He also had 36 yards rushing on three carries. As for Ivory, he bulled his way to 101 yards on the year, and is rapidly approaching the 1000 yard mark for the first time in his career.
The Jets caped off their first half onslaught on their final possession of the half when they caught the Titans completely off guard when Brandon Marshall was left uncovered on the far side. Fitzpatrick read the Titans confusion and lateraled the ball over to Marshall who took off down the sideline with stunned Titans trailing his dust. The play turned out to be the longest TD pass of the year for the Jets.
At 8-5, the Jets control their own destiny. Win out, and the playoffs await. Lose a game, and the Jets would need some pieces to fall their way in order to get in. But as of right now, the Jets are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, right up there with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks. The three game winning streak is the longest winning streak for Gang Green since the middle of the 2011 season. More importantly this team is truly gelling at the right time. Players are smiling and joking around with one another, they appear to be enjoying one another's company on this hopeful ride. Whatever ailed the Jets in the middle of the year when the lost 4-of-5, it appears over. This team is focused. This team is determined to get the job done.
The Jets visit the Dallas Cowboys (4-9) on Saturday night. While the Cowboys are bad, they can't be taken too lightly. This is a huge game for the Jets; a win would make their road to the playoffs all the more clearer. Let's hope Gang Green cane make the magic happen.