(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The Jets’ offense had a strong day on Sunday, as they put together a strong second half to roll past the Washington Redskins 34-20.
In this game, as in other games, they are as strong as running back Chris Ivory and wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are.
These three are among the best at their positions in the NFL, and could be the best trio of receivers (Ivory counts because he is thrown to enough) since Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Plaxico Burress in 2010 when the Jets made the AFC Championship Game.
Edwards, Holmes, and Burress made an amazing quarterback out of Mark Sanchez.
Marshall, Decker, and Ivory have the experienced Ryan Fitzpatrick finding them in the Jets’ creative offense, and are arguably the reason they are 4-1. Fitzpatrick, Marshall, and Ivory are all new, and it may as well be Decker’s first year, too, as he battled injuries throughout 2014 and had to adjust from working with Peyton Manning in Denver to Geno Smith with the Jets.
Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles said of the team’s reliance on Marshall, Decker, and Ivory, “They’re good players. We rely on our good players a lot. We have to get contributions from other players as well if you want to be any good in this league. As long as these guys can go – and they can go pretty good – we’re going to rely on them, but we have to get other guys going.”
On Sunday against Washington, they played exceedingly well, as they all scored touchdowns. Marshall and Decker played very well in the second half to make up for first-half fumbles.
Marshall said of the game, “We have a special team. The scary part is we have a long way to go. Today wasn’t our best performance. We’re coming off a bye and we started off slow. But we picked it up. The second half is where we want to be.”
Marshall made seven catches for 111 yards on Sunday. In the third quarter, He made what might be the catch of the 2015 season when he hauled in a pass at his ankles at the 15-yard line from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and ran it in to give the Jets a 27-13 lead.
Fitzpatrick said of his reaction when Marshall made the 35-yard touchdown catch, “I’ve thrown so many of those where’s I’m getting hit as I release it and they get picked in my career. I was thinking, “Oh boy, here we go.” How he caught it, I don’t know. How he turned it in to a touchdown, I really don’t know. That’s one of those where you’re very thankful that Brandon is my teammate and very thankful for the opportunity to get to throw to him.”
Marshall said of his touchdown, “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] converted my route. I think he had heat in his face and just threw it up and gave me a chance. I made the play and was able to put our team in good position.”
Ivory had a huge game, with 20 carries for 154 yards, and three catches for 50 yards, giving him a grand total of 204 yards on the day. Ivory scored the Jets’ first touchdown, a 1-yard score in the first quarter. Ivory had a 54-yard run early in the second quarter on a Jets’ drive that resulted in a field goal, and then a 32-yard run on the Jets’ scoring drive late in the third quarter.
Ivory said of what he likes about the scheme they have been running, “It’s a great scheme and they’re doing a hell of a job up front. I’m being very patient, probably the most patient I’ve been throughout my career. I’ve had a lot of patience and it has allowed things to develop. They’re just doing a great job up front.”
On if he feels the team has improved each week, Ivory said, “Definitely. I think for any team you get better every week. The further you go down the line the better you have to get. You start playing teams that are constantly getting better and better and (you are facing) better opponents. I think we’re definitely getting better every week.”
Marshall said of their premier running back, “Ivory—everyone laughed at me. There were a couple guys that laughed at me when I said Ivory’s the best. He is and he proved it again today. Eight-man box, nine-man box, they came out and said, ‘We don’t care about the wide-receivers, we’re going to stop the run.’ Ivory, again, came out and put up over 140 yards. He’s amazing and he’s the best in the league.”
Ivory said of Marshall calling him the best running back in the NFL, “It’s a great compliment from him, being the type of player he is, the type of caliber player he is. Brandon Marshall is elite. It means a lot.”
Ivory also played a big part in Fitzpatrick’s 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that gave them a 20-13 lead.
When Fitzpatrick was asked about what he saw on his run, he said the following, “Chris Ivory, we always talk about the way that he runs and all that stuff, but they brought a nickel blitz on that one and if you go back and look at the play, Chris is pointing it out before it happens. Chris runs over there and picks up the blitz. Everybody else was locked on our guys so I was able to get free and go. I had some space. I didn’t know where it was going to take me. Usually if I get to about five yards, somebody starts catching me, but I was able to take it to the end zone. That was a play that probably not a whole lot of people noticed what Chris did on that play, but it was phenomenal.”
Decker had a big game, and he caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick that put the game away at 34-13 early in the fourth quarter.
On his performance and how the offense if clicking, Decker said, “It was kind of a sloppy game from me personally, but it was a good win overall. I mean, a lot of games aren’t going to be pretty. I thought (in) the first half, we were a little sloppy with turnovers. (Our) defense kept us in it. We started clicking once the second half rolled around, scored on three-straight possessions I believe, and Chris Ivory and the front got us going. I thought we did a good job of executing and a win is a win.”
Decker said of the balance between the passing game and the running game for the Jets, “Yeah, I mean if you want to win in this league, if you want to be able to go the distance, you have to be able to do both. You have to be able to compliment the passing game with the running game and vice versa. It’s huge for us to get the run established, get guys in the box, get more one-on-one matchups and then execute when you get opportunities. Again, we didn’t do it so much in the first half, but when the second half rolled around, I thought we executed it a lot better.”
Marshall said of Decker, “Deck prides himself on the red zone since he’s been in the NFL. He’s always come up big in the red zone. We need him to do that. If they’re going to take away Ivory and other people, then Deck’s going to eat them up. I’m just so glad that we have a guy like that on the other side.”
Marshall said of the Jets’ comeback from 13-10 down at the half and their resilience, “We’re a new bunch, new guys, both players and coaches. We’re all trying to figure each other out and see what we have. We need reps like this. If we want to be a great team we have to be able to punch through adversity. You can’t put your head down. That’s something we want to get better at. We talk about it all the time and today we had another opportunity and we punched through adversity. So if we can do that, we’re setting ourselves up for success. We’re not perfect yet, we still have a long way to go. If we can do that, we’ll be alright.”