By Abraham Gutierrez
Todd Bowles has found a formula for success in his first year as an NFL head coach. For the remaining teams on the New York Jets’ 2015 NFL season schedule, ice baths will come in handy. With another dominant defensive effort and a blistering rushing attack, Gang Green improved to 4-1 on the year, avoiding the Washington Redskins “trap” and coming away with a 34-20 victory in Week 6.
With the unbeaten (4-0) New England Patriots slated to take on Indianapolis on Sunday night, the Jets will stay put in second place in the AFC East (pending the outcome of the SNF game). However, these bitter rivals will be in each other’s minds all week, as New England and New York will battle for first-place supremacy next Sunday in Foxborough.
When it comes to the New York Jets, this category should be changed to “Chris Ivory’s Grade,” because what the six-year pro out of Tiffin University is doing is nothing short of remarkable. For a second consecutive game, Ivory eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark, torching the Skins defense for 146 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, including a 54-yard explosion.
Providing the Jets offense with contrast, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was also instrumental on the win. In his 11th NFL season out of Harvard, the Jets signal-caller connected on 73 percent of his passes, going 19-for-26 for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception for a quarterback rating of 113.1.
Other notable offensive contributors include: Brandon Marshall (7 receptions, 111 yards, TD), Eric Decker (4 receptions, 59 yards, TD) and making a second appearance in this category (this time in the rushing department) is Fitzpatrick who rushed for 31 yards on 4 carries and a score.
As a team, Chan Gailey’s bunch registered 22 first downs and 474 yards of total offense. Out of which, 221 were collected on the ground and 253 through the air. The Jets controlled the ball for 32 minutes and 39 seconds, and converted on 7-for-14 on third-down opportunities.
In contrast to the offense’s accolades this afternoon, the Jets defense was in its usual shutdown mode. Living up to their well-deserved elite NFL rankings, Kacy Rodgers’ group limited the Redskins to 14 first downs and a stingy 225 total yards – 34 rushing yards and 191 passing. They also made things tough on third down, as Washington struggled by connecting on 5-for-15 in crucial spots.
David Harris led the team with 11 tackles, followed by Demario Davis and Calvin Pryor who finished with seven tackles apiece. The Jets recorded just one sack all afternoon long, split between Muhammad Wilkerson (0.5) and Sheldon Richardson, who wasted no time getting on the board in 2015 after returning from injury. The Jets defense picked off Kirk Cousins twice in this game, thanks to the efforts of Marcus Gilchrist and, of course, Darrelle Revis.
With another week in the books, Bowles continues to throw his name in the hat in the discussions for NFL Head Coach of the Year. This time, last season’s NFL Assistant Coach of the Year should be commended for managing his squad beautifully during the bye week, and preparing them to not overlook an inferior Redskins team.
“Any win is a good win, believe me,” said the 51-year-old head coach during his victory speech in the team’s locker room. “We just keep stacking chips, that’s what we’re going to do.”
“That’s a hell of a job coming out in the second half,” Bowles added. “Everything ain’t going to be pretty guys, we’re going to face some adversity. How you respond to it is what’s going to make us a good team, which is what the hell we did today.”
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.