By Abraham Gutierrez
With a dominant all-around performance, the New York Jets improved their record to 8-5 on the season, as they continue to make a strong case as a legitimate AFC Wild Card threat in the upcoming NFL playoffs.
Anchored by yet another stoic defensive effort, Gang Green took a 27-0 lead into halftime and never looked back. Extending New York’s win streak to a season-best three games, Todd Bowles and Jets took care of business against Tennessee, coming away with a 30-8 victory in front of a sold-out SunLife Stadium crowd.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet,” Bowles said. “I think we’re playing better football than we’ve played and we’ve got a lot more and we’re learning how to win different ballgames and I think that takes time.”
For weeks, Coach Bowles has been stressing the importance of getting off to a strong start. This week against the Titans, the Jets offense finally responded, putting up 10 points in the opening frame and 17 in the second stanza to take a commanding lead heading into the break.
Gang Green’s offensive outburst is a testament to a full-team effort, dominating the proceedings on the ground as well as through the air. When it was all said and done, the Jets did a number on the Titans defense, tallying 24 first downs, 439 yards of offense and converting on 7-for-15 on third downs.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was sensational yet again, completing 58 percent of his passes by going 21-for-36 on his attempts for 263 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 108.9. On the receiving end, Brandon Marshall continued to state his case as one of the premier wideouts, finishing with 6 receptions for 125 yards, including a 69-yard score on a broken play.
With the Jets ahead comfortably, bruising running back Chris Ivory went to work, registering his third 100-yard game of the season. Nearing the millennium-rushing mark on the year, the Tiffin University product finished with 101 yards on 21 carries, helping the Jets win the time of possession battle 35:56 to 24:04.
Anytime a defense is able to pitch a shutout for almost three full quarters, and ends up surrendering just eight points all game, they’ve achieved something special. That’s exactly what the Jets defense accomplished Sunday afternoon against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense, by limiting them to 15 first downs, 292 yards of total offense, while holding down the fort by going 3-for-14 on third downs.
With Darrelle Revis back from a concussion, Gang Green’s resistance played an inspired game, putting the clamps on the Titans jugular and never eased up. When it was all said and done, the Jets resistance allowed just 268 passing yards, and shut things down on the ground, giving up a stingy 24 rushing yards. Cornerback Buster Skrine made his presence felt in this one, coming away with 8 tackles, a pass defended and an interception. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson also had a game to remember, finishing with three sacks, five tackles, and a pass defended.
Special Teams: A-
Jets kicker Randy Bullock was almost perfect on the afternoon, tallying 12 points on three extra points, while going three for four on field goals, including a long of 47 yards. With Gang Green’s offense only being able to muster just three points in the second half, punter Ryan Quigley was instrumental in the field-position battle, averaging 46 yards on three boots, including a long of 51 yards and two punts that landed inside the Titans 20-yard line.
One of the main objectives Bowles and his staff have set for themselves this season is to get this team to play up to their potential for 60 minutes. Against an inferior Titans team, the Jets got off to a perfect start. However, with what seemed like a surmountable lead, this team sort of took its foot off the gas pedal.
And while the running game was dictating the pace of the game after the break, the fact that they were only able to produce a kick in two quarters takes away from a first half that gets as close to perfect as it gets in the National Football League.
Next up, the New York Jets will travel to Arlington, Texas, to take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15 of the 2015 NFL season. This interconference clash is scheduled for Saturday night (Dec. 19) at 8:25 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast live 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.