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Geno Smith Improves, Comes Through in Clutch

Posted Oct 8, 2013

Last Sunday in Tennessee, Geno Smith contributed to our 38-13 loss when he added turnover number 8, then 9, then 10, and finally 11 to his season totals.

After a turnover-free, come-from-behind, Monday night primetime road victory, it’s looking like the 22-year-old may have been on to something.

“I made it my duty to come out here and not put the ball on the ground, not put my team in jeopardy,” Smith said on ESPN after Monday night's 30-28 victory, “and it came down to a last-second drive against a tough Atlanta team on the road, but we stood up tonight and that just speaks volumes about this team’s character.”

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“The biggest thing I’m proud of is we did not turn the football over,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “We were not reckless. We were just the opposite — we were fearless — and that’s how we have to play.”

The Green & White extended their 10-point halftime lead to 13 points early in the fourth quarter, but Matt Ryan and the Falcons turned things around quickly and fought back for what they hoped was the game-winning touchdown drive, putting them up one, 28-27, with 1:54 remaining.

But as Smith told Jets play-by-play announcer Bob Wischusen after the game, “two minutes is plenty of time.”

And Rex said, “As soon as our offense got the ball, there wasn’t one guy on that sideline who didn’t think we were going to win the game.”

Eight plays, 55 yards, and one Nick Folk field goal later, Smith became just the second rookie QB in NFL history to win a road game on Monday night.

“This was just regular Geno,” WR Stephen Hill said of the game-winning drive. “The first game you saw it, he brought us back into field goal range [vs. Tampa Bay]. Geno's just doing his job."

"He does a great job not only at the end of games, but in the two-minute drills in the first halves,” Folk said of the rookie QB. “Two weeks ago [vs. Buffalo] he did a great job of getting us down there, getting us in the red zone. He excels in that situation."

Now sitting one game over .500 at 3-2, the Jets are tied for second in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins, trailing the 4-1 New England Patriots, thanks in part to what LB Calvin Pace said was “some of the best offense I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

“We believe in Rex and we believe in each other," Pace said. "And the message the day before the game was 'Let's just show everybody what the Jets are all about.' And I think with these guys being so young, it was a statement win. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, but you've got to make the plays at the end.”

Smith made those plays and the Jets won.

He’s now one of two rookie quarterbacks to throw for three touchdowns on Monday Night Football (the other was Miami's Dan Marino in 1983), and he’s the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to complete 80 percent of his passes (16-for-20) with three touchdowns and no interceptions on any night of the week.

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