By Tyson Rauch
The New York Jets (3-2) entered Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons (1-4) as huge underdogs. Many believed that Matt Ryan and his Falcons would save their season by lumping up an inexperienced rookie quarterback that has been struggling with turnover issues. Well, as we all know by now, the games are not played on paper and the Jets reiterated that fact with their inspiring 30-28 victory at the Georgia Dome.
The New York Jets entered the Monday night match-up with a tremendous offensive game plan, one that kept the Falcon defense off balance for the majority of the game. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg used a variety of formations to run the ball out of while using a platoon of Bilal Powell (38 yards), Chris Ivory (27 yards), and Mike Goodson (32 Yards).
The running game slowed down the pass rush and opened up the short and intermediate passing game for Geno Smith. The rookie quarterback did an excellent job of spreading the ball around while being supported by an offensive line that consistently won the battles in the trenches.
Gang Green’s defense set the tone of the game early as the front seven was completely dominating the line of scrimmage. The Jets defensive line led by Muhammad Wilkerson (one sacks, forced fumble) shut down the running game and generated consistent pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan. The linebackers did an excellent job in terms of tackling and prevented huge plays after initial contact.
In the second half of the game, the defense struggled with missed tackles and blown assignments which let the Falcons back into the game. The unit failed to shut down Tony Gonzalez, which gave Atlanta the ability to establish their running game. Antonio Cromartie held his own against Julio Jones (until a late 46-yard reception) while several young defensive backs including Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Allen remained consistent in coverage.
Geno Smith was tremendous for the New York Jets on Monday night (16/20 199 yards, three TDs). Smith made smart decisions with the football, which included escaping the pocket when nothing was available in the passing game. Geno exhibited tremendous poise under fire and remained fearless with the game on the line.
The rookie quarterback effectively used all of his weapons (eight different receivers had at least one catch) and showed great touch on his touchdown passes. At the end of the night you truly could not ask for a better performance out of a rookie quarterback on the road, in a hostile environment, on Monday night football.
Special Teams: A
Nick Folk was once again perfect as he made all three of his kicks including the game winner (43 yards). Folk is quietly having a Pro-Bowl caliber year for the Jets as he is 8/8 with two game winning kicks.
Punter Ryan Quigley average 39.3 yards on his kicks, which included one inside the 20.
Inspiring win for the Jets
You have to give a ton of credit to Rex Ryan and his staff for having their team ready to play. The game plans were solid and the team was prepared for the challenge of taking on a desperate Atlanta Falcon team in front of a raucous crowd. The Jets continue to face adversity and are starting to rise to the occasion led by their resilient rookie quarterback.
Next up for the Jets is the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
For more Jets news and updates, visit Jets Central.
Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.