Jets 19 - Raiders 14

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - An electric atmosphere filled Metlife Stadium for "WHITEOUT!" Rally Towel Day as the New York Jets hosted the Oakland Raiders to open their 2014 campaign.

It was a first half of growth and of first half setbacks for the New York Jets as Nick Folk got things going scoring wise for the Jets with a 45-yard field goal but in between there were many moments where playcalling and jitters took away any momentum the team offense got.

Which Rex Ryan wasn't too pleased with despite the good start to the new year.

"The 11 penalties is definitely bothersome. We have to take care of the football better. We fumbled twice and never had any takeaways. We dropped some balls (interceptions). That's still a work in progress and it has to get better for us to do what we want to do," Ryan said.

"Red-zone penalties absolutely kill you. This should have been a 'rat-kill' and it wasn't," said Ryan.

Regarding Geno's performance, Ryan praised Smith for the day but said he made two costly mistakes.

"Know the down and distance. We're in field goal range, just take a sack or throw it away. He tried to make something happen and we took a big loss," Ryan said. "That's avoidable, but I'm proud of Geno. He bounced back. The kid can throw it. We have to protect for him. When the protection holds up, this kid can make all the throws."

There were several themes like maximizing possessions and cutting down on turnovers which developed throughout the Jets 19-14 victory on Sunday Afternoon --

Good Geno, Bad Geno and then Good Geno:

The perfect start - Saalim Hakim taking the opening kickoff near midfield at the 40. Then even getting a chance to employ the newly minted 'Vick-Cat', running their first wildcat of the season on the 5th play with Geno Smith lined out right as a receiver.

The first blunder ensued shortly after as Geno aired a beauty over the defending corner to wideout Greg Salas but the Salas was unable to haul it in and was noticeably frustrated with himself after.

Then after settling for a field goal Smith threw his only interception of the day to wily veteran corner Charles Woodson, not checking off and staring him down on a pass intended for Eric Decker leaving the Raiders in Jets territory.

At the 2:43 mark in the first quarter, Derek Carr lead the Raiders to strike back by throwing his first career TD pass for 12-yards to Rod Streater.

"The three plays definitely. We are going to evaluate every single play and get better from every single one, even the good ones," said Smith. "I have to negate that at the quarterback spot. And it is something I am working extremely hard at, and it's the game of football. You can't be perfect at football, you have to move on from those mistakes and keep leading and keep working and I think I did a good job of that today."

The key turn in the eventual outcome of the game was how Geno bounced back from his mistakes in the game. Taking off with the ball 10 times for 38 yards on the ground added a dynamic element to the rushing attack.

"I think that was the biggest factor in the first half of the football game, because he was able to keep some plays alive and create some things and get out of the pocket, convert some first downs," said Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen. "It allowed them to maintain possession of the ball a little bit longer in the first half than we would have liked." (The Jets won the time of possession battle 34:50-23:50)

Sio Moore laid a big hit on Geno after moving the chains for 17 yards running and failing to get down in time but Smith's shuffle to Johnson got the Jets in raiders territory at the end of the first quarter.

Although if he had cut back inside at the end of the run it would have prevented the play, with each play it seemed as if Geno learned from it and turned the page, an improvement from his inaugural season as the Jets Quarterback.

With Geno's stat-line a razor-sharp efficiency resulting in 23/28 completions to attempts, one touchdown, one interception and a 96.6 passer rating its easy to see the progression in mindset for the second-year quarterback.

"Any time you can get points and come away with a victory you are happy with it, but we want to set the bar high for ourselves, and we want to be at our best and we want to score touchdowns," said Smith.

"But in those situations we have penalties that back you up, you have situations that take you out of field goal range like the sack I took, you are hard on yourself and you get disappointed. But, you have to move on from those things and continue to play the game and keep focusing."

Important to note on Smith's first drive - he went 5-6, 44 yds, 0 tds but 1 touchdown drop by Salas, which would have made for a perfect drive if he converted on the catch in the endzone. Geno's pocket presence has improved immensely as he showed great footwork all afternoon escaping from many rushers at a time.

The final stats of the game, do not tell the full story as the Jets primarily in the first half allowed the Raiders with a rookie Quarterback making his first career start in Derek Carr to hang around.

Oakland hung around for the majority of the game due to the Jets mishaps (a second attempt at the wildcat by the Jets resulting in a loss of 1 and fumble at the goal-line changing possession to the Raiders even after the play was reviewed) but with careful offensive game-plan fit for a rookie in his first career NFL game with mostly dink and dives by the Raiders offense.

Self-inflicting wounds with penalties and turnover's in addition to giving a rookie confidence with each possession did not equal a good sign by the half only leading 10-7.

The Emergence of Calvin: The 2014 1st round pick out of Louisville lived up to the billing in his NFL debut - 4 tackles and 2 pass deflections. But what Pryor did from play to play that doesn't show up in the stat sheet mattered more today -- like when he stuffed Marcel Reece on a screen pass or completed a near pick six if he held onto ball prior to running off. Overall, Pryor displayed a keen eye for the pigskin.

"Ah man I don't even wanna (laughing) I had seen the endzone before I caught the ball, I guess you can say I popped my cherry on that one, it won't happen no more, I'll make sure I get the next one," Pryor (panned).

As for receiving high praise thus far Pryor feels there's one thing to remember in order to maintain success.

"I just try to watch film as much as I can, things I see I try to take away from it and just put it out all into action," Pryor said.

Ultimately it was a tale of two halves:

The lowlight of the first half was when some boo birds came out at Metlife Stadium at the 6:15 mark in 2nd after the Jets were just conservative running on three consecutive plays and then a short dump to Eric Decker, who was sighted for the first time in the contest.

It was the end of a very bizarre first half on both ends, which felt like the Jets should be up a lot more then what they were.

Rising to the occasion:

And then it all turned around -- If you look at the irony of the Jets offseason, Chris Johnson was brought into New York to be the old 'CJ2k' homerun hitter but it the guy who spells Johnson (13 carries for 68 yards) on a split carry basis in Ivory (10 carries for 102 yards) who broke open the game's biggest play scampering for 71 yards and a touchdown that put the game out of reach.

Ivory made Jets history with the score, as his run tied for the second longest in team history and longest for the team since 2009 when Thomas Jones accomplished the feat on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

For Ivory making history was not the initial thing on his mind in the moment.

"Just a great run. I was able to break one or two (tackles), I saw a cutback lane and took it, and after that, just try to see who's the fastest to the end zone. I got caught but hey, a touchdown's a touchdown."

"What were were the stats? Like 200 or something like (that). 212 (as a team), yeah. That tells the story right there," said Johnson. "The offensive line did a great job pushing those guys back, giving us an opportunity to be one-on-one with (a) safety and make plays."

A new chapter of history was also written in the career of the Jets' biggest offseason acquisition Eric Decker, who made his regular season debut after spending 4 years in Denver.

When asked if he felt any nerves playing in his first game as Jet, Decker responded how any new player in a new city would.

"(I have) to say I did. Yeah, I did, I was nervous, if you don't get nervous before a game you probably shouldn't be in the locker room because that's just human nature," Decker said.

"I think what added to it was (a) new team, (a) new experience. It was good though. That first drive got them (nerves) out of me, I've got to tell you, I love playing with these guys. This is a fun group and I look forward to doing big things with these guys."

Even with Antonio Allen, Safety turned Corner in his first career start admitted to having trouble with the deep ball but getting deflections and three and outs helped to boost the secondary's morale and confidence.

Credit the Jets defense overall for overcoming a sluggish start and bearing down on Derek Carr. They (Dawan Landry, Jason Babin & Co.) set the tone for the final outcome of the game early in the second half as Quinton Coples almost took off Maurice Jones Drew's head, forcing a loss of 11 and a fumble as well as constantly swarming the rookie all day long with pressure.

It was not the prettiest of victories, but the Jets aren't looking for style points heading into a showdown at Lambeau Field with a Green Bay Packers team with plenty of motivation to hand Gang Green their first loss of the young 2014 NFL season.

Notes

  • Geno Smith was the latest player to be introduced by the Jets through the tunnel and represented the Roc Nation Brand that he's signed to as Jay-Z's client, coming out to Jay-Z's song Public Service Announcement
  • His 23/28 completion to attempt ratio ranks as the 3rd best single game percentage in Jets history
  • He also had 11 straight completions during today's game
  • The Raiders deferred to the Jets after winning the opening coin toss
  • Officially 7 players were named on the Jets inactive list today -- 1. CB Josh Bush 2. OG Dakota Dozier 3. LB IK Enemkpali 4. T Ben Ijalana 5. CB Leon McFadden 6. CB Dee Milliner (Darren Walls started in place of Milliner) 7. WR Walt Powell
  • Former Giant Justin Tuck was down on the field for what he said was landing on his ribs and he did return in today's game
  • Former Jet Austin Howard made his debut and says the nature of the NFL business makes games like these easier to get used to
  • Eric Decker were almost exclusively featured on some drives in the third quarter with a mix of Chris Ivory but no sign of Bilal Powell (who had 1 carry for 4 yards on the day)
  • Near trickery by the Jets almost resulted in a Decker touchdown in the far left end of the endzone as CJ2k lined up in the wildcat formation, passed it off to Vick who threw in the endzone but was slightly off
  • The first touchdown of the 2014 NFL Season was completed off a Geno Smith fake off hand shuffle pass to Chris Johnson for a long overdue score
  • At one point, the Jets had 302 net yards to the Raiders 60 and the game was just a 6 point deficit
  • Nick Folk made good on both of his field goal attempts (the first from 42 yards out and the second 45)
  • Jets held the Raiders to 3/12 on third-down attempts
  • While also outrushing them a whopping 212 to 25
  • Jets need to clean up on penalties drawn (problematic in the preseason) - they accrued 11 in total for 105 yards while the Raiders only racked up 4 for 20 yards

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