Jets' Marshall returns after left knee checks out fine
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) makes a catch over Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby (28) during the first half an NFL football game on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Brandon Marshall feared the worst when a New York Jets trainer escorted him off the sideline to have his left knee examined.
''I thought it was over. I thought I was going to be fishing in my backyard in Florida,'' the Jets' star receiver said. ''Usually, when things like that happen, everything goes numb.''
Little did anyone – and Marshall, especially – believe he'd be back in the huddle some 10 minutes later.
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''The doctors didn't say anything to me,'' Marshall said , regarding the injury which coach Todd Bowles referred to as a sprain. ''The only thing I cared about was is my ACL all right and am I going to get the feeling back in my leg? Once I got that, I said, `I'm going to go out there and run.'''
In improving to 1-1, The Jets avoided a tremendous early season scare during the second quarter of a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills (0-2) on Thursday night.
Marshall caught a slant pass and appeared to sustain a serious injury when his left knee twisted beneath him while cornerback Stephon Gilmore brought him down by the facemask. Marshall immediately grabbed his knee and lay on the field for a few minutes before getting up on his own and slowly making his way to the sideline.
What no one expected was seeing Marshall return to the huddle three plays into the Jets' next possession.
''I thought he was down for the count for sure,'' said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who tapped Marshall on the shoulder in condolence on the sideline before the receiver left to have his knee tested. ''I knew something was wrong. But when he stepped back in the huddle later on it was such a surprise, but it was a relief as well.''
It didn't take long for Fitzpatrick to look for his favorite receiver. A play later, he completed an 18-yard pass to Marshall up the left sideline to help set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker, which put the Jets up 20-7.
''Brandon is one of the tougher guys you'll ever see,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''He's not just a special player, he's a very special person. And we love having him with us.''
Marshall said he felt good once he returned, but acknowledge he'll have his knee re-evaluated once the Jets return home.
He finished with six catches for 101 yards, while Decker led the team with six catches for 126 yards.
And just like that, the two began re-establishing themselves as one of the NFL's most potent tandems a year after combining for 189 catches, 2,529 yards and 26 touchdowns.
The Jets showed resilience, too, in snapping a five-game skid against their AFC East rival and beating Rex Ryan, their former coach, for the first time since he was fired in New York following the 2014 season.
The Bills rallied to score 17 consecutive points in a run capped by safety Nickell Robey-Coleman returning Jalin Marshall's fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.
New York responded by scoring the next 17 points. Running back Matt Forte scored three times, and sealed the victory with a 12-yard run.
Fitzpatrick was impressed by how the Jets didn't let down once they fell behind.
''There wasn't any hanging heads, there was confidence in the huddle,'' said Fitzpatrick, who went 24 of 34 for 374 yards. ''That's a good feeling as a quarterback, having guys looking at you with confidence in their eyes.''
It felt much better knowing one of them was Marshall.
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