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Greenberg: Third Straight Good Game

Posted Dec 23, 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.

On a day when Geno Smith and Dee Milliner play like that, John Idzik's plan looks grand.

Best Jet: Smith. Moved the chains with third-down completions of 23, 22, 17, 15, 7 and 5 yards, while throwing for two touchdowns and not an interception. He practically was flawless.

Best Defensive Jet: David Harris with eight unassisted tackles.

Drive of the Year: Fifty-five yards in eight plays in 1:54 enabled Nick Folk to bring the Jets from behind on the final play of the game in Atlanta for their only road win. Still, that that was only for a field goal. The Jets, their lead just cut to 17-13 in Sunday’s fourth quarter, converted on third down four times to move 80 yards in 14 plays consuming 6:21, finishing off the Browns on Smith’s 17-yard touchdown scramble with 3:14 left. Thing of beauty.

Best Run: Bilal Powell ran out of two leg tackles for 39 yards on the first play after the Jets got the ball back with 34 seconds left in the first half, jump-starting them to a 10-10 tie before intermission. One would swear Powell was trying to one-up the tackle-busting Chris Ivory, who had a 28-yard run, but did his best work slithering for just 3 when he was hit by two Browns behind the line in the third quarter. Competition is a good thing.

Smartest Play: On that pre-intermission drive, Smith embellished Tashaun Gipson’s love tap in the back after running out of bounds. An official with an inferior view to the one on which Rex Ryan went apoplectic threw the flag for unnecessary roughness, getting the Jets to the Cleveland 14 with 11 seconds remaining.

Best Defensive Play: Milliner, inconsistent for so much of this season, read Jason Campbell like an old pro and stepped inside Greg Little for his first NFL interception. Milliner, getting the bulk of the coverage on Gordon, got ditched by one of the league’s best on only two breaks towards the sideline and defending the Browns’ star successfully on third and fourth down during the Jets’ second-quarter goal line stand. Milliner also missed only one tackle in a coming-out game for the No. 1 pick.

Next Best Defensive Play: With Cleveland 7 yards away from making it 17-17, Kyle Wilson forced Chris Ogbonnaya toward David Harris after catching a swing pass and the Browns settled for a field goal. It came one play after Wilson stood his ground on at attempted fade to Gordon in the end zone. The nickelback plays were worth a million.

Biggest Break: Just before the above, a false start by tight end Gary Barnidge nullified an apparent Browns touchdown by Edwin Baker.

Next Biggest Break: Greg Little’s drop in the end zone forced the Browns to settle for a Billy Cundiff chip shot and a 3-0 lead.

Best Hit: Earlier on that same drive, Harris exploded on Baker over the middle, causing an incompletion.

Best Reason to Believe Rex Ryan That This Team Is On The Rise: Sheldon Richardson. He had six tackles Sunday and was out of the game with an apparent stinger when the Browns, stymied three times inside the 10 by a Jets defense that has allowed only three touchdowns in the last 18 opponent trips to the red zone, scored their only touchdown.

Next Best Reason to Believe Ryan That This Team Is On the Rise: Jeremy Kerley. We don’t think it is any coincidence that the Jets did not win any of the four games he missed this season. Kerley gets open. Can’t blame all the 47 sacks Smith has endured this year on spotty offensive line play or failure of the rookie quarterback to make the hot read or to get out of the pocket and get rid of the ball. Geno has suffered too many coverage sacks.

Worst Special Teams Play: Josh Bush underthrew an open Isaiah Trufant on a fake punt on the Jets' first possession, but what the hell, when you're 6-8, you take a shot. But a 50-yard return by Fozzy Whittaker immediately after the Jets had just taken their first lead at 17-10 threatened to undo a lot of good work until they forced the Browns to settle for a field goal.

Second Worst Special Teams Play: Ryan Quigley outkicked the coverage on a 51-yarder in the second quarter that Jordan Poyer returned 29 yards to set up Cleveland's lone touchdown.

Worst Call: By ref Peter Morelli's crew against Sheldon Richardson for roughing Jason Campbell, turning a third-down stop at the 4 into first-and-goal at the 2. Richardson hit the quarterback on his followthrough and cleanly, even though Sheldon lost his helmet, suggesting a more violent hit.

Most Shocking Sight: Nick Folk’s second miss of the season, from 49 yards, hit the right upright. Considering the year Folk has had (31-for-33), if you tried to tell us he was aiming for the upright because kicking between them by now has gotten too easy for him, we would believe it.

Best Reason to Watch Through Next Sunday’s Season End: The Jets have played three consecutive good games.

Next Best Reason to Watch Through Next Sunday’s Season End: The Jets can make certain the Dolphins don’t make the playoffs.

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