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Handing out game balls from the New York Jets win over the Cleveland Browns

The Jets strong second half performance made up for their embarrassing first half performance

After a truly embarrassing first half performance that saw Josh McCown and Terrelle Pryor toying with Darrelle Revis while Ryan Fitzpatrick went 3-for-14 the Jets found themselves in a 20-7 hole to the winless Browns. Those seven points came from a great third-down 35 yard run from Bilal Powell and gave the Jets a chance to win the game in the second half. Of course at the time it sure didn't feel like that, the 20-7 halftime lead felt insurmountable with the way Fitzpatrick was playing and Revis was repeatedly getting torched by Terrelle Pryor. 

Admission time, I was one of many clamoring for Todd Bowles to just make the move to Bryce Petty. That wasn't because I thought Petty could lead the Jets to a win, it was simply because it felt like no one ever needed to watch Fitzpatrick throw another pass ever again. Bowles stuck with Fitzpatrick and he was rewarded for his stubbornness as it turned out to be the right decision. Fitzpatrick had a solid second half completing 13 of his 20 passes for 198 and a touchdown, however he won't be receiving a game ball because he completed just three of 14 passes in the first half and had a final stat line of 16-34 (so yes, less than 50 percent completion percentage) for 228 yards, one touchdown and was sacked twice. He did avoid turning the ball over but only because he got some help on that, more on that below.

For the second straight week the Jets rebounded from an awful first half to play a great second half and get the win, however it should be noted that for the second straight week they did it against another really bad team. The Jets only have two games left on their schedule against a team with a current winning record (both games against the Patriots) so they still have a chance to salvage a respectable season but they're going to have to start playing better in the first half because this second half redemption game plan is not something they can continue to get away with.

But for today all that matters is that they got the win and it's time to hand out some game balls.

Quincy Enunwa - Enunwa was once again the player of the game and really the player of the year for the Jets. He's been by far the best thing about this Jets season. Leonard WilliamsSheldon Richardson, Brian Winters and Steve McLendon have all been great as well but aside from myself and some guy from Jersey named Drew no one saw this coming from Enunwa. All training camp long I kept touting Enunwa's play-making ability, I talked about how he could own the middle of the field and be a constant threat, but admittedly he has exceeded even my expectations, I'll let that Drew guy say he expected exactly this from Enunwa though.

With the Jets still trailing 20-7 in the second half Fitzpatrick hit Enunwa on a short pass that the receiver immediately took and turned upfield, slipping and sliding and breaking one tackle after another as he took it into the end zone for a 24 yard touchdown to cut the Browns lead to 20-14. On the next drive, with the Jets at their own 30-yard-line, Fitzpatrick hit Enunwa on a deep post route for a 57 yard gain and four plays later Matt Forte ran in a four yard touchdown to give the Jets the lead. They Jets played better across the board in the second half but it was Enunwa's four catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, combined with his breakup of a sure interception and a beautiful block to seal the edge to allow Powell to break off a big run that made Enunwa the undisputed star of the game.

Bilal Powell - Forte rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns and had some very good and very crucial runs but he once again averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Great job getting in the end zone but Powell is the running back deserving of the game ball. It was Powell who managed to get the Jets only first-half points, as he bounced a run outside on third-down for a 35 yard touchdown. Powell added another big run in the second half and finished the game with 76 rushing yards, only six less yards than Forte but on only six carries to Forte's 25. Powell finished the game with a 12.7 yards per carry average and once again he showed he is the best, most explosive and quickest running back on the roster. Powell needs more touches, it's been a far more productive runner, use Forte more in the passing game then let him get going on the ground late once things start to open up but Powell needs more touches throughout the game.

Brian Winters - Winters continues to be the Jets best offensive lineman this season. James Carpenter and Nick Mangold, when healthy, have also been great on the interior (the Jets offensive line issues have been at tackle and even tight end) but much like Jon Snow and Sansa Stark joked, Winter(s) isn't coming anymore, Winter(s) is here. Ned Stark was right and yes once again so was that Drew guy.

Calvin Pryor - Pryor had such a great season last year his regression this season was baffling, last week he had a strong second half making numerous big tackles to stop the Ravens and that continued against the Browns. The thing that seemed clear against the Ravens was Calvin Pryor can be really good as long as the play is in front of him, just don't ask or expect him to be much help in deep coverage. That is still true, the Jets need to keep him as an in-the-box safety where he can be great against the run and disrupt short-to-intermediate passes like they did yesterday. 

With the Jets up 28-20 with 5:29 left in the fourth, the Browns backed up with a third-and-five on their own six-yard-line, came a play Jets fans have been waiting all season for, Muhammad Wilkerson applied pressure on McCown then Calvin Pryor came flying in to hit the receiver and breakup the pass as Lorenzo Mauldin came flying in to make a diving interception. Calvin Pryor is still a liability in any type of deep coverage but if he stays in the box he can be a play-making weapon for this defense.

Marcus Gilchrist - Second straight week with a pick for Gilchrist. McCown and Terrelle Pryor abused Revis the entire first half and if not for a couple of drops and a bad pass or two it would've been much worse. But during that embarrassing of a future hall-of-fame cornerback, Bowles had left Revis matched up on Terrelle one-on-one. Then with just nine minutes to go in the fourth McCown tried to hit Terrelle deep again, this time Revis had help (and because the ball was slightly overthrown he didn't actually need it as Revis looked poised to make the pick) and Gilchrist came flying in to steal in the interception away from Revis. Gilchrist struggled badly at the start of the season as well and he certainly hasn't been perfect, but he's played much better these past few weeks and the Jets are going to need more of that.

Honorable mention

Darryl Roberts - McCown threw at Roberts four times, completing just one 10 yard catch and Roberts deflected one of those four passes. We're only talking about four passes here so no need to get carried away but if Jets cornerbacks were defending at this type of rate this season would look a whole lot different.

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Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (cnimbley@gmail.com)


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