For the now 6-7 New York Jets, the roller coaster ride known as Geno Smith continued rolling down the tracks in Sunday’s 37-27 win over the Oakland Raiders. The rookie quarterback put up one of the best performances of his young career this afternoon and kept hopes of a playoff berth alive for at least one more week.
The Jets came into Week 14 on a three-game losing streak. Faith in Smith as the starter had been understably waning, as his recent play had been nothing short of wretched. After completing just 38 percent of his pass attempts for 259 yards while throwing for zero touchdowns and a half-dozen interceptions over that span, many were calling for virtually anybody else to be given the reigns. Head coach Rex Ryan chose not to entertain those sentiments.
With ideas of a postseason run dissipating, Ryan deserves credit for sticking by his inexperienced signal caller. Smith answered the critics as the Raiders did little to stop the athletic QB on his way to successfully connecting on 16-of-25 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. In addition, he took to the ground for 50 yards and a score. Heading up Smith’s supporting cast in the victory was running back Chris Ivory.
Ivory led the rushing attack for the Jets by grinding out 76 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The fourth-year pro out of Tiffin University is putting together a decent first season in New York averaging 4.4 per attempt on his way to 639 rushing yards through a dozen games.
Smith, Ivory and the rest of the Jets will head south for a battle with the Carolina Panthers next weekend. A flawless effort will likely be needed to knock off Cam Newton and company.