The Jets needed a boost following their blowout loss against the Tennessee Titans and they got from their rookie QB Geno Smith who played a mistake free game, leading the Gang Green to a 30-28 win against the Atlanta Falcons. For the first time in his five-game NFL career Smith did not turn the ball over, which was the key against Atlanta's high-powered air attack. Smith's confidence spread around the team. The defense, which is ranked #1 in the league after this game, finally came up with a turnover. Special teams that had hardly provided any help before this game finally did a good job on the returns. And then PK Nick Folk just continued being the team's folk hero, kicking the winning field goal as time expired.
Then, there's Rex Ryan, who's making the team that lacks talent across the roster look like a legitimate playoff contender. He's been humbled and ridiculed by the media, but came back up and is now doing his best job since becoming head coach of the Jets. His team that was expected to win 3 or so games in the entire season has won 3 of 5 with more to come.
Here's a look at how different Jets' units performed against the Falcons:
Quarterback: QB Geno Smith played a mistake free game, finishing 16 of 20, 199 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. If he keeps it up, then the Jets will finally have their franchise quarterback. Grade: A
Running backs: 118 rushing yards did not seem like much, but they helped take pressure off Smith and keep Atlanta's defense off balance. RB Michael Goodson seemed like a welcome addition - 32 yards on 3 carries. Grade: B+
Receivers: TE Jeff Cumberland continued his impressive campaign - 3 catches for 79 yards, 1 TD. WR Jeremy Kerley came up with a few clutch catches and scored a touchdown - 5 receptions for 68 yards, 1 TD. WR Stephen Hill went invisible until the last drive where he caught two passes for 21 yards. Grade: B
Offensive line: They did a tremendous job protecting Smith, giving him enough time to spread the ball around. Grade: A
Defensive line: This is arguably the best unit on this team and their ability to stop the run once again was the key in this game. DE Muhammad Wilkerson, as always, was the driving force - 7 tackles (5 solo), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 tackles for loss. Something, however, has to be done with the pass-rush. Matt Ryan completed 88.2% (30-of-34) of his passes when facing 4 or fewer pass rushers last night, including 2 touchdowns. Grade: A-
Linebackers: MLB David Harris had a great game, leading the team with 14 tackles (9 solo). LB DeMario Davis impressed as well - 8 tackles (5 solo). Grade: A-
Secondary: The Falcons accumulated a lot of yards through the air but had to work for it, as the secondary gave up only one really long play. Grade: B-
Special teams: PK Nick Folk was flawless again - 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, including the game winner. WR/KR Clyde Gates finally had a decent return of 36 yards, while WR/PR Jeremy Kerley's punt return was stopped only by a personal foul penalty. Grade: A
Coaching: Rex did a good job last night, with the exception of a questionable challenge that cost the Gang Green a timeout. Marty Mornhinweg's play calling was top notch for the most part, although the Jets could have done a bit more running against the soft Falcons defense. Grade: B+
The Jets (3-2) are favored by 2.5 points against the winless Steelers (0-4). This could be a typical Jets' trap game though, a game that they should win but end up losing for whatever reason. The Steelers will be coming off their bye week, rested and eager to finally win a game this season. The Jets, on the other hand, will have just five days of rest and might be overconfident after last night's big win in Atlanta.