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Greenberg: Geno Smith Back on His Feet

Posted Dec 9, 2013

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on newyorkjets.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New York Jets organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Jets officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

All this fretting over Geno Smith’s head, and we are reminded that what really can make him go is his feet:

Best Run: Chris Ivory broke four tackles and carried Tracy Porter into the end zone on his 15-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run that completed a 7-play, 71-yard drive on which the Jets carried five times. Ancient football formula: Get ahead and run it down their throats.

Next Best Run: Bilal Powell successfully spun twice on a quick hitter for a third-quarter first down, gaining 11 yards the hard way. Despite two good running backs, the Jets ground game has not been as consistent as it should be.

Best Catch: Having started with a bad miss of an open Kellen Winslow, a near-interception, and an actual interception one play later, Smith underthrew one into practically triple coverage and Jeremy Kerley came down with the Jets’ first touchdown in three games. Santonio Holmes was too close to Kerley to inspire faith this went down the way it was drawn up, but sometimes, somebody just has to make a play. Smith settled down on his way to a 16-for-25, 219-yard passing day with only that one interception.

Best Throw: On a third-and-goal, Smith dropped in a beauty over the coverage of Holmes and Holmes dropped it. Jets settled for a Nick Folk field goal.

Best Sign: Twice in the second half the defense got burned for big plays, and twice Smith and the offense immediately responded, first with a 10-play, 72-yard drive for a touchdown, next for three first downs toward another Folk field goal.

Next Best Sign: Dee Milliner missed a tackle early but then had three strong end zone pass defenses.

Best Defensive Play: Ed Reed lay in the weeds while the Jets pass rush did the heavy lifting and jumped in front of Andre Holmes to pick off a hurried Matt McGloin pass.

Best Jet: Geno. Threw for one touchdown, ran for another, protected the ball from the Jets’ third possession on, and had a 32-yard run. Much improved decision-making.

Next Best Jet: Ivory. Half man, half bull.

Best Call: An option read for Smith on his 8-yard touchdown, unless it was the actual option read by Smith, after carrying out a good fake to Powell. From there, Geno had to beat one defender and did it easily.

Second Best Call: Second-and-9 screen to Powell for 24 yards to set up Folk's 51-yarder in the third quarter. Smith’s eyes did not betray this classic sucker set-up.

Worst Call: Jets had three cracks from the 4 after the Reed interception and neither of the first two was taken with Ivory. After the Holmes drop on third down, they settled for a Folk field goal.

Best Special Teams Play: Antonio Allen made himself invisible, conjured himself in front of punter Marquette King, then fell on his own block in the end zone.

Next Best Special Teams Play: Nick Bellore somehow got back a Raiders onside kick that Kaelin Burnett appeared to have grabbed out of the air, saving the Jets some late anxiety.

Next Best Special Teams Play After That One: Ryan Quigley nailed a punt out of bounds at the 2, setting up McGloin to fail with the Reed interception

Worst Play: Misreads by David Harris and Reed on Marcel Reece’s touchdown right up the gut. Both apparently thought the Raiders were running left. Dawan Landry was blocked and the middle parted like Rex Ryan’s uppers and lowers at the sight of his vaunted run defense giving up an untouched 63-yarder on a play designed to make 5 or 6.

Next Worse Play: Antonio Cromartie blatantly faceguarded Holmes, drawing a fourth-quarter, fourth-down interference call that kept alive the Raiders' last drive.

Biggest Difference from the Last Three Weeks: The offensive line played much better.

Next Biggest Difference from the Last Three Weeks: Kerley was back to make something good happen early in the game, when a team coming off three consecutive desultory losses really needed it.

Biggest Disappointment: The rush that led to the Reed interception was about the best the Jets had all day. The Raiders scored every time they had the ball in the second half until their last possession.

Best Sign the Jets Aren’t Letting Go of the Rope: They won, never mind that it was over the now 4-9 Raiders, who, in fact, once had a boss who famously said, “Just win, baby.”

Next Best Sign the Jets Aren’t Letting Go of the Rope: They passed on Rex Ryan’s offer of a victory Monday and are reporting to Florham Park today. Now that’s dedication, this late in a 6-7 season.

Reason to Not Give Up Playoff Hope: The 7-6 Ravens have to go to Detroit and Cincinnati plus play the Patriots. The 7-6 Dolphins have three division games remaining, giving the Jets a tiebreaker chance if they win their finale in Miami.

Reason to Take the Above Seriously: Beating the 9-4 Panthers next week. Not worth talking about any of this until that happens.

Reason to Fire Rex Ryan Should This Prove to be the Last Win of a 6-10 Season: None. Jets need more good players, not a new coach.

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