The New York Jets pulled off a big upset win tonight over the Atlanta Falcons, winning 30-28 on a last second 44-yard field goal from Nick Folk. Heading into the game, the major storyline for the Jets was their turnover issues, including quarterback Geno Smith’s NFL high 11 giveaways.
However, the Jets showed tonight how good they can be offensively when they don’t turn the ball over. Smith had the first turnover free game of his young career, completing 16/20 passes for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also engineered a fantastic two minute drive to get the Jets into field goal range at the end of the game.
Smith has had at least one game that was a little more impressive statistically, but this was still clearly the best performance of his career. He was smart, efficient and accurate, and he looked like he has learned a lot from the mistakes he made in the first four weeks. Smith didn’t force the ball into coverage and he made good decisions on when to tuck it and run.
Smith was supported by a strong running game, and as a team the Jets had 22 carries for 118 yards. There was also concern about the absence of No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes, but Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland and the rest of the Jets’ receivers came through in a big way.
Topping it off was a solid performance from the offensive line and creative and effective play calling from Marty Mornhinweg. The Jets may have put up bigger yardage totals against the Buffalo Bills, but this was undoubtedly their cleanest and most impressive offense game this season.
This is the type of performance the Jets were hoping for when they brought in Mornhinweg and drafted Smith. The team was handcuffed by its turnover problems in the first four games, and the offense had yet to put together four quarters of effective football. That changed tonight, and the result was an offense that is more than capable of winning games.
This performance is hugely encouraging to the Jets and their fans, because it offers a glimpse at what could be a very bright future. This was only one game against an average defense, but winning in Atlanta is no small feat. This could be the catalyst that gets this young team headed down a positive path.
The Jets have been fighting to rid themselves of their penalty and turnover issues all season, and tonight they finally succeeded. This game showed how good the Jets can be, and they hope that this level of play will continue.