As the old refrain goes, only the Jets could put cold water on their own victory.
The Jets defeated the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 24-16 in a game that featured a nice return to the running game and a defense that finally found its groove. Yet, nobody was talking about that a few hours after the game had concluded. The talk was all about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.
The Jets quarterback quandary got worse, not better on Sunday afternoon. It all started when Smith was injured on a tackle by Ravens defensive lineman Matthew Judon when the quarterback was trying to scramble out of the pocket. Insert Fitzpatrick, the man whom Smith replaced four days earlier. And it was Fitzpatrick who led the Jets to a come-from-behind victory. Oh, the irony.
While Fitzpatrick played well, he was 9-for-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown, it is what he said after the game that shook Jetland to its core once again.
"The biggest thing in the this game in order to last is to have belief in yourself..." Ok, good start Ryan. He's going to say how he learned a lot from his demotion and is ready to let bygones be bygones, right?
"...because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself." D'oh (facepalm)!
Fitzpatrick then went on to say that his teammates are the ones who have his back, while insinuating that the Jets front office does not. Fitzpatrick must have taken a hint when Bowles benched him on Wednesday, two days after the Monday night debacle in Arizona that owner Woody Johnson and/or GM Mike Maccagnan may have had a say.
What make matters worse is Geno Smith left Sunday's game with an apparent knee injury and never returned. On his performance, Smith was decent in his return under center. Nothing spectacular. His final stat line was 4-of-8, 95 yards and a touchdown, but keep in mind 69 of those yards came on one play to Quincy Enunwa. Take away the touchdown, Smith was 3-of-7 for 26 yards.
Now Todd Bowles has a decision to make go with Geno Smith, if healthy, or stick with Fitzpatrick who just threw him under the bus?
To make matters more interesting, one has to wonder if Smith even has support in the locker room. After the game, Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential tweeted out that Sheldon Richardson told Geno to get rid of the ball faster before taking big hits.
"I keep telling him to get rid of the ball. I play defensive line." - Sheldon Richardson on Geno Smith. #NYJvsBAL
While Fitzpatrick said he "feels for" Geno Smith, his declaration about the front office, and his statement that he should be "the starter every week" is a slight slap back at Smith as well.
Looks like New York has a quarterback controversy on their hands as they get ready for Cleveland.
This ugly situation mares what was a great day for the Jets. The defense was tremendous on Sunday. They held the Ravens to six yards rushing and picked off Joe Flacco twice on the afternoon. The first interception by Buster Skrine set up the Jets field goal to take a 17-16 lead.
Later, Flacco was picked off again when he air-mailed a ball into the clutches of Marcus Gilchrist. The Jets quickly converted that into six points when Matt Forte plunged in from the one yard line to make it 24-16. Brandon Marshall is deserving of a save on this scoring drive as he recovered a Forte fumble three plays prior to the touchdown.
Fitzpatrick started out hot when he came in relief of Smith, completing his first seven passes, and leading the Jets on a seven play 85-yard scoring drive to cut the Ravens lead to 14-13 just before halftime.