Geno Smith, getting the start over Mark Sanchez due to a shoulder injury, helps lead the New York Jets to victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 18-17. Both teams couldn’t get much going on offense, but defensively both teams were solid and it was a very physical match up. Even though the Buccaneers were solid defensively, costly penalties lead to their loss and Smith, who performed poorly in preseason, played a good enough game to earn his first win in his first start in the NFL for the Jets.
The game started out very poorly for the Buccaneers as Josh Freeman had to burn two early timeouts due to equipment problems in his helmet and had to give up a safety to the Jets due to miscommunication on the snap. Freeman eventually redeemed himself by taking advantage of good field position and leading the Buccaneers on a 5 play, 44 yd drive capped off by a 17 yd TD pass to Mike Williams. Both the Jets and Buccaneers defense played solidly and the Buccaneers went into the 2nd quarter with a 7-2 lead.
On their first drive of the 2nd quarter, Smith kept the drive alive with a big conversion on 3rd and long to Tommy Bohanon for 21 yards. The Jets were able to gain a few more yards and a 43 yd FG by Nick Folk cut the lead to 2, 7-5. Later in the quarter, backed up in their own territory, Smith fumbles the ball. Mason Foster sacks Smith and knocks the ball out of his hand. Akeem Spence recovers the ball for the Buccaneers at the NYJ 5 yd line. On the next play, Doug Martin runs 5 yards for the TD and with the extra point increase their lead to 9, 14-5.
Smith turns the ball over again on the next drive by throwing an interception to Lavonte David. The Buccaneers were unable to take advantage of the turnover as Freeman returned the favor by throwing an interception to Dawan Landry. That interception gave the Jets good field position at the TB 31 yd line, and on the first play, Smith gets sacked by Foster for a loss of 18 yards. The Jets couldn’t regain the yardage needed for the 1st down, but the drive was kept alive by a Unnecessary Roughness penalty on Mark Barron. Smith took advantage of the penalty and completed two straight passes to Kellen Winslow, one for 18 yards and the other being a 7 yd TD pass. Jets went into the half down by 2, 14-12.
Going into the 3rd quarter it was clear that both teams’ defenses came to play, especially the Buccaneers defense who were delivering vicious hits throughout the 1st half.
In the 3rd quarter, both defenses were very stingy and didn’t allow any points in the quarter. The Buccaneers went into the 4th quarter still up by 2, 14-12.
The story of the game for the Buccaneers have been penalties and that story reared it’s ugly head in the 4th quarter. On the Jets second drive of the quarter, the Buccaneers made a stop on 3rd and 6, holding Smith to a one yard scramble. Leonard Johnson gets called for a defensive holding penalty which kept the drive alive for the Jets. Later on that same drive, Smith had a 8 yard pass to Stephen Hill ruled incomplete, but replays showed that the ball never hit the ground. Coach Rex Ryan challenged the play and won the challenge, declaring the pass complete and giving the Jets 2nd and short. Nick Folk eventually kicks a 30 yd FG to cap off the drive and to give the Jets a 15-14 lead.
On the Buccaneers only scoring drive of the quarter, Freeman converts on a 3rd and long to Vincent Jackson, who had a huge game, for 37 yards to put the Buccaneers in FG range under the two minute mark. Rian Lindell puts the Buccaneers up by 2 with a 37 yd FG, 17-15.
The Jets started the final drive on their own 20 with under a minute left to make anything happen. On 2nd and 10, Smith completes a huge pass to Winslow for 25 yards. The Jets rush to the line of scrimmage and Smith spikes the ball to stop the clock. On the next play, Smith scrambles for 10 yards and steps out of bounds, then L. David delivers a late push and gets called for a personal foul. That penalty put the Jets into FG range and Folk kicks a game winning 48 yd FG to give the Jets the victory.
Key Stats: Smith had a solid game going 24 for 38, 256 yds, 1 TD and 1 INT. The Jets couldn’t get anything going on the ground due to the Buccaneers tough rush defense which was ranked number one in the NFL last season. Smith, picking his spots to run wisely, led the team in rushing with 6 carries for 47 yds. Winslow led the Jets in receiving with 7 rec. for 79 yds., 1 TD. On the defensive side of the ball, DeMario Davis led the Jets with 8 tackles and Sheldon Williams had 7 tackles and a sack. Dawan Landry also contributed with 4 tackles and a INT.
Freeman had an average game for the Buccaneers going 15 for 31, 210 yds., 1 TD and 1 INT. The Jets defense were also very stingy against the run and Martin could only manage 65 yds off of 24 carries. Jackson had a huge game leading the Buccaneers receivers with 7 rec. for 154 yds. On the defensive side of the ball, Foster had 8 tackles, 2 sacks, and one forced fumble. L. David also contributed with 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 INT.
Check out game highlights here.