FLORHAM PARK, NJ - The Jets bounced back from a slow start to coast to an easy victory over the Browns yesterday afternoon and you could certainly look at it like, 'the Browns are a bad team, the Jets are supposed to beat the Browns.' Or you could look at it like, 'exactly but they did what they were supoosed to do.'
Far too often during Rex Ryan's reign in Florham Park the Jets didn't do what they were supposed to do. Or maybe they would beat teams they were supposed to, but the were barely able to squeak them out, rare were the easy victories. It's just one game so we're not annointing Todd Bowles as some sort of coaching deity or anything but after the team settled down they were able to get into a rhythm and dominate a clearly inferior opponent and that shouldn't be dismissed.
Bowles said he handed out game balls to Nick Folk, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcus Williams, Chris Ivory and Brandon Marshall. Three of those guys will get game balls from us, but the other two are deserving as well, along with Calvin Pryor and the entire offensive line.
IVORY - Ivory ran 91 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, plus a catch for nine yards, but it wasn't so much of how many yards he got them but how and when he got them. Ivory showed off his power as well as his shiftiness and when it was needed the most he found ways to break off big gains and steamroll his way into the end zone.
"He just goes about his business. He, at times, he's seeking contact. He'll break through the line, he'll show speed," Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "But sometimes those safeties come up to tackle him and he's not trying to go left or right, he's going to go right at them. I think as the game went on he wore those guys down a bit and they were a little less enthused to tackle him as he burst through the line."
MARSHALL - Marshall only made seven plays that show up in the stat sheet but they were seven big-time plays. The strip of Tashaun Gipson was just a phenominal effort and display of strength as Marshall simply decided he wasn't okay with letting the Browns get the ball back. The touchdown on the fade route, beating one of the top cornerbacks in football in Joe Haden, was executed to perfection.
Marshall proved to be too much for Haden and if anyone had any doubts that Marshall can still play at an elite level those doubts should be more than alleviated. Seven plays, he only made seven plays that showed up in the stat sheet and yet at one point it felt like he had completely taken over the game.
Breno Giacomini summed it up perfectly when he was asked what it's like to have Marshall on his team saying, "I mean, it's pretty awesome,"
WILLIAMS - When Antonio Cromartie went down with, what at the time looked like an ACL, injury Williams took over the outside corner spot opposite of Darrelle Revis in all nickel packages, with Buster Skrine playing the nickelback and also handling the number two cornerback spot in all base packages. This is how it will continue to go until Cromartie returns but for this one game Williams filled in more than admirably.
Williams came away with a huge interception and three passes defended. The undrafted free agent, now in his second-year, has impressed this coaching staff and his teammates over and over again and it all starts with how he practices.
"He competes everyday," Skrine said of Williams. "We had a board in our room, of like passes defended and interceptions during camp, and he was one of the guys at the top. So, he's been doing it so we expected him to do it."
PRYOR - That hit on Josh McCown to knock the ball loose was obviously the big highlight for Pryor, DeMario Davis's hit gave McCown the concussion but Pryor was the one who knocked the ball out of his hands, but he made several other plays throughout the game. Pryor seemed far more comfortable and confident than he did for most of last season and you could see it show up all game long. He constantly found himself around the ball and had a total of 10 tackles, eight solo and two assists, including a few that prevented big plays from the Browns.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE - Fitzpatrick got hit once. Yeah it was a bad hit, but he only got hit once. The offensive line did a good job opening up holes in the run game but that much we all expected. The pass protection from the line was excellent and it gave Fitzpatrick enough time to make the right reads and make enough plays to keep putting numbers on the board. The Jets will face much tougher pass-rushing groups than the Browns this year but the fact that they held up so well yesterday has to be encouraging.
"Yeah, the one hit we gave up was pretty bad but we got to keep getting better," Giacomini said. "He (Fitzpatrick) played well, he gets the ball out fast, he understands where the blitzes are coming from and all that. So, it felt good. It's a good start."