On Monday night, the New York Jets played perhaps their best game of the season, and on the road, to-date. Led by the inspired play of rookie quarterback Geno Smith, “Gang Green” marched into Atlanta and sealed a thrilling 30-28 win after Nick Folk booted a 43-yard field goal at the final horn.
Smith tossed for three touchdowns while not committing a single turnover. He also completed 16-for-20 for 199 yards and led the Jets on an eight-play, 55-yard drive while completing four straight passes during the stretch.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game, absolutely we knew it was going to be a tough game," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "I’m glad we won this way because you know, it took every one of us. And it wasn’t that you leaned on one side or the other side, whatever, it took every one of us and we played fearless."
An early sign that the Jets would prevail in front of a national “Monday Night Football” audience came during the opening minutes of the first quarter. After the Falcons moved the ball with efficiency into New York territory, the Jets’ defense held tall and the special teams made a key play when Antonio Allen burst through the Atlanta offensive line and blocked a punt attempt. The play led to a Folk 22-yard three-pointer and an early 3-0 lead for the road team.
Not to be outdone, the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan used a 10-play, 80-yard drive to take the lead on a 4-yard shovel pass to Jason Snelling and a 7-3 Atlanta lead in the second quarter.
But the Jets (3-2) continued their stunning first half performance, mixing their defense with a offensive push that culminated with a Smith 16-yard scoring pass to Jeremy Kerley, giving New York a 17-7 lead at the break.
Atlanta battled back in the second half and took the lead for the final time in the last two minutes of the contest on a pair of scoring plays from Jacquizz Rodgers and Levine Toilolo, to take a 28-27 lead before Smith’s game-winning drive.
“The offensive line, they play great week in and week out. They’re really the unsung heroes of this game,” said Smith. “We didn’t let the crowd or anything affect us."
The Jets look to keep pace in the AFC Eastern Division standings when they return home for a 1pm clash with the winless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Catch game highlights here.