By Abraham Gutierrez
Desperately trying to stop a two-game skid, the New York Jets were lucky to escape with a narrow 28-23 victory over a self-destructive Jacksonville Jaguars team in Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season. Outplayed by the Jags in seemingly every facet of the game, except in the turnover department, Gang Green improved to 5-3 on the year, but it was anything but pretty.
The Jets offense registered 14 first downs, 290 yards of offense, went 5-for-15 on third downs and still came away victorious. New York ran 64 plays in total, for an average of 4.5 yards per play, mustering a dismal 29 rushing yards and 261 passing yards.
Despite playing with torn ligaments in his thumb (non-throwing hand), quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a gutsy performance, and was instrumental on the win. The Harvard product went 21-for-34 (62 percent), for 272 yards, a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions for a well-deserved quarterback rating of 106.5.
Earning top honors in the receiving category for the Jets were wide receivers Eric Decker (6 catches, 79 yards, TD), Kenbrell Thompkins (4 catches, 45 yards) and, of course, Brandon Marshall (4 catches, 44 yards, TD).
On the ground, Chris Ivory’s struggles continued, as the Tiffin University product failed to reach the 50-yard rushing mark for a third straight game. Nevertheless, in true veteran form, the sixth-year pro made the most of his touches, rushing for 26 yards on 23 carries for two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the football, the Jets “D” allowed the opposition to score at least 20 points for a fourth straight week. Once ranked first in the league in points, New York’s recent woes has dropped this team to 10th in the National Football League, yielding 20.2 points per game.
Offensively the Jaguars were able to move the chains at a surprisingly good pace, finishing with 19 first downs and 436 yards of offense, out of which, 98 were collected on the ground and 338 through the air.
Luckily, the Jets were able to avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss at home, as the Jaguars committed four turnovers, including a pair of picks by quarterback Blake Bortles and as a team, lost two of their three fumbles. Running back T.J. Yeldon and Bortles combined for 96 rushing yards, punishing the Jets’ defense by averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
In the National Football League, one of the things that separate playoff teams from those whose season ends following Week 17 is that those who qualify for the tournament are those who find a way to win even on their worst day.
This win could easily be categorized as anything but pretty, but Todd Bowles and the Jets are sure to take them no matter how they come. Having that said, the health status of Chris Ivory and the decline in defensive play has to be a concern heading into the second half of the 2015 NFL season.
Next up for the New York Jets is an AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills in a short Week 10. This pivotal game will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and is slated for Thursday night at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network.
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.