Jets’ Game Comes Down to the Wire in Atlanta
After being thoroughly trounced by the Titans last Sunday, the Jets were looking to pull back above .500 when they travelled to Atlanta last night. The team’s defense got off on the right foot, stopping the Falcons’ opening drive at midfield and giving New York’s offence prime field position as Antonio Allen blocked Atlanta’s punt. Geno Smith brought the Jets close to the end zone and, though he could not get them all the way there, Nick Folk kicked a chip shot to put them up 3-0.
Allen was on top of the ball again early in the second, blocking a second Atlanta punt to start the quarter, but this one was recovered by the Falcons and set Matt Ryan up for the first touchdown pass of the game. That lead was short lived as Geno Smith quickly answered Ryan’s TD with one of his own on a 20 yard throw to Jeff Cumberland.
Gang Green forced a three-and-out on Atlanta’s ensuing possession, and though Antonio Allen did not block a punt this time around Smith made short work of the field, connecting with Cumberland again for 47 yards. A short pass to Jeremy Kerley turned into a 16 yard touchdown and the Jets went up 17-7. The Falcons ate up what remained of the first half’s clock, advancing to the New York 1-yard line with only seconds remaining. They chose to go for it, rather than kicking a near-certain field goal, and came up short.
Atlanta began making up for the missed opportunity with a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, but Nick Folk increased the Jets’ lead back to 6 with a field goal before the third quarter ended, giving NY a 20-14 advantage.
The Falcons had to punt the ball away again early in the fourth quarter, and a 24 yard return coupled with a 15 yard penalty enforced on a horse collar put the Jets just outside of the red zone. Chris Ivory ran 19 yards to bring his team to the Atlanta 4-yard line, and Smith connected with Kellen Winslow to finish the job in the end zone, putting New York up 27-14.
Not ready to lie down and accept defeat, Matt Ryan brought the Falcons down the field in a successful TD drive that took just under four minutes. Atlanta forced the Jets to go three-and-out. Ryan got the ball back, and again marched down the field for a touchdown in fewer than four minutes, putting the Falcons ahead 28-27 with under two minutes left to play.
Now trailing with the game on the line and no time to spare, Smith took command and brought his team well within Folk’s range on a series of short passes which brought them from their own 20-yard line down to the Atlanta 25. Folk kicked a 43-yarder as time ran out, giving the Jets a 30-28 victory.
Geno Smith went 16/20 for 199 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions, though he was sacked four times (twice by former Giant Osi Umenyiora). Cumberland led the team in receptions with 79 yards and a touchdown on 3 catches, and Kerley followed with 68 yards and a TD through 5 receptions. Bilal Powell ran for 38 yards on 12 carries, and Mike Goodson picked up 32 on 3 runs.
The win puts the Jets in a tie with the Dolphins for second place in the AFC East at 3-2. They will face the Steelers next, at 1:00 PM on Sunday.
Rangers Improve to 1-1
The Rangers began the season with a rather embarrassing loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona, but they looked much sharper as they travelled even further west last night. In a largely scoreless first period, Brad Richards gave them the first goal against the Los Angeles Kings on a wrist shot 13:32 into the frame.
Richards made the lead a little more comfortable halfway into second period with a backhanded shot that looked to be intended as a pass, but instead bounced off a defenseman’s stick and into the back of the net, giving New York a 2-0 lead. That happy accident proved quite vital as the Kings’ Mike Richards scored LA’s first goal a minute-and-a-half later to make it 2-1.
Ryan McDonagh put some extra distance between the Rangers and their opponents with a short-handed goal 4:39 into the third period. That goal proved the last of the night, and New York took the game 3-1 to improve to 1-1 on the season. Henrik Lundqvist blocked 28 of 29 shots in the victory.
The Rangers will continue their early tour of the West with a game against the Sharks at 10:30 PM tonight.