Not everything went exactly according to plan for the Jets tonight but when your defense gets five turnovers, in back-to-back (like the cover of Lethal Weapon) games, it's real easy to see how they are sitting at 2-0 to start the season.
Five turnovers against Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel is one thing but five turnovers against Andrew Luck, in primetime in Indianapolis, let's you know just how terrifyingly good this Jets defense is. The Jets were able to pressure and rattle Luck all night long, causing three interceptions and two fumbles (one from Luck, one gift wrapped by Frank Gore), as the third-year quarterback was never able to get comfortable and the Jets were able to overcome a mostly stagnant offense and get a 20-7 victory. And they did all of this without Sheldon Richardson.
"They're flying around. You know, they're starting to buy into the system (and) they're getting to know what each other can do and as a result they're playing faster," Todd Bowles said. "So, you know, we're trying to make plays and get turnovers and that's the easiest way to win a game. So, we got some tonight and we're very fortunate."
Darrelle Revis was the star of the game, with an interception and two fumble recoveries, but he was hardly the only Jet to make big plays that enabled the Jets to leave Lucas Oil Stadium victorious. Revis did give up three receptions in coverage, one each to T.Y. Hilton Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, but played so well for every other snap he can be forgiven for those relatively minor indiscretions. Both of the Jets starting safeties got in one the interception party thrown by Luck as well with Calvin Pryor getting the first one to set up the Jets first touchdown and Marcus Gilchrist getting one to seal the game for the Jets.
Pryor's interception and return to the nine-yard line setup a six yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker, and after the Jets offense stalled for far too long after that drive and struggled to put more points on the board to put this game away early, Gilchrist's pick ensured there would be no late game magic from Luck.
On offense the Jets struggled to move the ball with consistency, as the offensive line had trouble opening up holes in the running game and Ryan Fitzpatrick played far worse than his stat line of 22-34 for 244 yards two touchdowns and one pick would indicate. Fitzpatrick made a bunch of bad throws but more than that he made some bad decisions to make those deep throws. The Colts secondary was in shambles, especially after Vontae Davis left the game with a concussion injury, and the short routes were there for the taking all night but for some reason Fitzpatrick was determined to force the ball downfield. But thanks to the play of Decker (eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown) and Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown) Fitzpatrick was able to do enough to give the Jets a big road win.
The rushing attack was underwhelming early but as the game wore on they Jets were able to finally start opening up some rushing lanes and break some tackles to eat up clock and give the defense a much needed breather. The Jets ran for a total of 101 yards on 27 carries for only a paltry 3.74 yards per carry (Chris Ivory ran for 57 yards on 14 carries, Bilal Powell 12 carries for 38 yards and Fitzpatrick added on six yards on one carry) but considering the way they struggled to run the ball in the first-half those numbers actually look pretty good.
The Jets lead 10-0 at halftime but with the way the defense played and the turnovers they created they should have been able to put up a lot more points. A missed field goal by Nick Folk (canceled out a missed field goal by Adam Vinatieri) and Fitzpatrick's aforementioned ill-advised deep passes kept the Colts in the game and for a while it seemed that would end up biting the Jets as their defense started to look gassed as Luck led the Colts on their only touchdown drive but the defense was able to stay strong and continue pressuring Luck and Marshall made a huge play to put the Jets up 20-7 and put the game out of reach.
The Jets now start the season 2-0, and get the struggling Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium next week before traveling to London to play the Miami Dolphins, as they look to continue to build on this record.
Decker left the game, and did not return, with a knee injury. He will have an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury. After the game Decker told reporters he think he injuried his PCL but that he and the doctors don't think it will require surgery.
Pryor was in-and-out of the game all night after injuring his right leg but he was able to return so it doesn't appear to be serious.