Updated, 6:15 p.m. ET
Games like this come around infrequently and for different reasons.
A main reason the Jets and their fans are savoring their 30-8 trouncing of Tennessee at MetLife Stadium today is that the Green & White took head coach Todd Bowles' words to heart and played fast-fast-fast from the opening kickoff.
"Anytime you get a win, it's a good win," said Bowles after the Jets improved to 8-5 with their first three-game in-season winning streak since 2011. "But we started fast. We've rarely started fast this year. Starting fast was big for us today."
And by beating an under-.500 visitor — Marcus Mariota and the Titans fell to 3-10 — the Jets showed that perhaps they are peaking at the right time of year, as the playoffs beckon.
"Especially offensively, we've got some good chemistry going on right now," said Fitzpatrick, who's thrown nine TDs and no INTs in the three-game run. "I think our health is pretty good. ... It's going to be exciting to see what happens the next few weeks with our group."
The next few weeks bring a game at Dallas on Saturday night followed by AFC East contests vs. New England and at Buffalo to end the regular season. But the glow from this victory — off of one of the most dominating first halves in franchise history featuring Fitzpatrick TD tosses to Eric Decker, Bilal Powell and Brandon Marshall, plus one of the most forceful games of DE Muhammad Wilkerson's career — will be basked in for the next few days.
Photos from Sunday's Matchup Against Tennessee
Here are nine observations about the Jets' largest margin of victory since 35-9 over the Colts at MetLife Stadium in 2012:
1. Off on the Right Foot
Everything was working on the opening drive of the game for the Green & White. Fitzpatrick led the offense on a methodical 14-play, 80-yard drive to his in-cut 16-yard pass to Decker for the TD. It was the Jets' first opening-drive TD at home in 19 games, or since 2013 vs. New England. It was Decker's eighth red zone TD catch of the year for the NFL's No. 1 red zone offense.
"We wanted to start fast," repeated Fitzpatrick, who's now at a career-high 25 TD passes and five away from setting the Jets' franchise mark. "To be able to put up points like that and get one at the end of the half, that was important. That was kind of a theme going into the game."
2. Skrine Play
Mariota was doing a lot right in the Titans' first 12 games. One was playing very efficiently away from home — he'd thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions on the road. That streak ended on Series No. 3, when Mariota, under blitz pressure, tried to find RB Dexter McCluster and instead found CB Buster Skrine for his first interception as a Jet and what turned out to be the game's only turnover.
"I was actually supposed to be blitzing," Skrine said, "but I saw they were trying to run this route that they always run on film, so I said why should I keep going because I know what they're about to run? So I ran the route with him."
3. Gamblin' Todd
The Jets took the Skrine interception to the Titans 13, where they faced fourth-and-a-foot. At first Randy Bullock came on for the FG. Then after the measurement, Bowles sent the offense back on the field. Fitzpatrick kept for his third 4th-down conversion this year to go along with nine 3rd-down pickups. It only got the Jets a little closer, with Fitz firing high for Decker in the end zone on third down, then Bullock coming in for his second field goal, from 27 yards, and a 13-0 lead with 9:22 left in the half.
4. Powell the Pass Threat
Another defensive stop — the unit's third 3-and-out in the first four drives — started the offense back into the red zone again. This time Bilal Powell stepped up in the passing game again, taking Fitzpatrick's toss over the middle through traffic for the 16-yard score. After no receiving TDs in his first 54 games as a Jet, he now had two receiving scores the past two weeks. And the Jets had a 20-0 lead, their largest in the first half since 21-0 vs. Buffalo on opening day 2012.
5. Mo Mo Mo
Wilkerson was firing on all cylinders in this one. He swatted down a Mariota pass in the backfield early, then busted through for his first sack of the elusive rook — his 10th of the season, just a half-sack off his career mark — then grabbed Antonio Andrews' leg for a run of no gain. Then Mo got another sack and, early in the fourth frame, a third sack when he stripped Mariota, giving him the first 3.0-sack for the Jets at home since John Abraham vs. Buffalo in 2004.
"He had a great game," said Bowles. "He came out with a lot of energy and set the tone."
6. Brandon Breaks the Tape
Everything really was going the Jets' way when a play like this happens. Marshall went wide right at the Jets 31 on the first play after a punt — and no Titan covered him. Fitzpatrick got the quick snap and fired it to Marshall, who outraced two defenders down the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown, giving him 100 yards for the season (his eighth 100-yard game, one off the franchise mark) and the Jets a 27-0 lead (their largest at halftime since the 27-0 lead over the Bengals in the "Win And We're In" Game in 2009.
7. Mariota Mixes It Up
You couldn't keep Mariota down all game, could you? The Jets couldn't although it took some razzle-dazzle to get the visitors on the board. With MM lined up as the seeming out-of-the-play QB as WR, Andrews took the Wildcat direct snap and drifted to his right, looking for ... Mariota downfield. With Calvin Pryor slipping in coverage, the 41-yard catch-and-run plus two-point conversion cut the Jets led to 27-8 with 4:09 left in the third quarter.
8. Ivory on a Roll
Almost lost in another Marshall-Decker double TD game, the tandem's seventh this season, was Chris Ivory softening up the Titans with more pounding runs. His 32-yard burst around right end was the first play of the drive to Powell's touchdown reception. Earlier in the first half, he cleared the 21 yards he needed to set a new personal best (his old mark was 833 yards with the '13 Jets). No. 33 finished the day with 101 yards for a total of 914 yards on the season.
9. Final Points
After the massive first-half output, the Jets' offense went into safe mode in the second half, punting three times before getting its only points on Bullock's third field goal, from 42 yards, with 2:42 to play. The only painful sidebars for the Jets were an ankle injury to Devin Smith (MRI Monday) and a calf pull to Jeremy Kerley. It's another short week for the Green & White to keep feeling healthy before leaving for Dallas on Friday, but a win like this can't be beat.
"This is when you want to be headed that way," said Marshall on if the Jets are playing at their peak. "I think if we continue to work, we could be fairly close."