Fitzpatrick, Ivory lead Jets to 34-20 victory over Redskins
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets made a strong statement to themselves – and maybe the rest of the NFL – with a big bounce-back second half.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and the resilient Jets overcame a sluggish start to beat the banged-up Washington Redskins 34-20 on Sunday.
”Every win’s not going to be pretty,” coach Todd Bowles said. ”We’re going to make some mistakes, but how we come back from it and how we grow as a team moving forward is what’s going to make us a decent team.”
The even-keeled Bowles’ way is to downplay success, but the Jets looked every bit like a playoff contender for the final two quarters. They’ll get their biggest test yet next Sunday at AFC East-rival New England.
”If you want to be a great team,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said, ”you’ve got to be able to punch through adversity.”
Chris Ivory ran for 146 yards and a TD on 20 carries for the Jets, who improved to 4-1 for the first time since the 2010 team opened 5-1. Marshall had seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, and Eric Decker also caught a TD pass.
The Jets, coming off a bye-week break, trailed 13-10 at halftime, with the Redskins (2-4) scoring their points off three turnovers by Bashaud Breeland, including an interception and two fumble recoveries.
But New York opened the second half with 24 straight points to take control against a Washington team without several injured starters, including wide receiver DeSean Jackson, left tackle Trent Williams and cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver.
”We’re not perfect yet and we’ve got a long way to go,” Marshall said.
They’re still a lot closer than the Redskins, who were outgained 474-225 by the Jets.
”We had an opportunity to win this game,” coach Jay Gruden said. ”And, in the second half, we just laid an egg.”
Kirk Cousins was 25 of 43 for 196 yards with a touchdown to Pierre Garcon, but also threw two interceptions. He has two INTs each in four games this season – all losses, but no INTs in Washington’s two wins.
”If I start to doubt, I’m not going to ever get to the level I want to go,” Cousins said. ”I’ve got to keep going, learn from mistakes.”
Gruden dispelled any murmurs of a quarterback controversy, saying the Redskins are sticking with Cousins.
”You hate to pin this game on Kirk,” Gruden said. ”I know he could have played better. We had no running game whatsoever. Kirk is not in a stage in his career right now, nor is anybody on our roster, to carry our team throwing the ball as much as we would have had to today.”
The Redskins downgraded Jackson to out Saturday; he hasn’t played since the season opener because of a left hamstring injury. Tight end Jordan Reed, center Kory Lichtensteiger and backup running back Matt Jones were also out.
With so many injuries, even Robert Griffin III was active – as the Redskins’ third-string quarterback – for the first time this season.
Nick Folk tied it at 13 with a 39-yard field goal early in the second half. Two plays later, the Jets got the ball back when Darrelle Revis made an easy interception of Cousins’ pass for Ryan Grant.
With the ball at the Redskins 18, the Jets wasted no time as Fitzpatrick took off up the middle, got a big block from tight end Kellen Davis near the goal line and got into the end zone for a 20-13 lead.
”He’s deceivingly fast,” a smiling Decker said of Fitzpatrick. ”He’s an athlete.”
Marshall made it 26-13 with a terrific fingertips catch just off his shoe tops, getting inside of Breeland on a low throw. He then scooted down the sideline for a 35-yard TD – as Breeland sat on the field with his head in his hands in disbelief.
New York got the ball back when Marcus Gilchrist picked off Cousins’ deep pass for Jamison Crowder. Decker caught a 2-yard pass to put the Jets comfortably in front, 34-13 early in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins crept closer when Jeron Johnson blocked Ryan Quigley’s punt and Rashad Ross recovered in the end zone with just under four minutes left. But Davis recovered the onside kick.
NOTES: New York has outscored opponents 34-0 in the third quarter this season. Meanwhile, Washington has been outscored 46-3. … Jets RB Bilal Powell sprained an ankle, and CB Buster Skrine suffered a concussion. … Redskins S Trenton Robinson sprained an ankle and a thumb.
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