An irritated Todd Bowles stood before his players and demanded more. There was no yelling, no throwing of objects. Just a coach speaking the truth to his underperforming team.
"Yeah, he lit a fire up under us, saying that we can't give this game away like we did to Philly,'' Jets defensive lineman Leger Douzable said. "I think that fired up everybody.''
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After a sluggish first half in which the Jets committed three turnovers, they emerged from the locker room intent on dismantling the depleted Redskins. And that's exactly what they did.
Chris Ivory rushed for 146 yards, including a 54-yarder; Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled for an 18-yard score and threw two touchdown passes, and Darrelle Revis made a key interception to propel the Jets to a 34-20 win Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 111 yards, joining George Sauer (1966) and Don Maynard (1968) as the only Jets with four consecutive 100-yard receiving games.
The Jets (4-1) already have tied their win total from 2014, when they finished 4-12 under Rex Ryan. And they're feeling mighty confident just in time for Patriots week.
Questions immediately centered on the Jets' next challenge: facing Tom Brady and the Pats (5-0). In a roomful of Jets who provided the same rehearsed "it's just another game'' sound bite, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson -- fresh off his four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy -- delivered one of the more honest takes.
"He's run this division for a while now, so I'm kind of happy we get next,'' Richardson said of facing Brady and the Pats. "We're getting after it . . . I mean, they are the Super Bowl champions, too. Just leave it at that. You know. Licking our chops.''
The Patriots have won the AFC East title 11 of the past 12 years, including the past six. But for the first time since 2011, the Jets appear to be real contenders to knock them off. But they almost squandered an opportunity against the wayward Redskins (2-4), who entered the game down six healthy starters, including speedy wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
The Jets did everything they could in the first half to gift Washington a "W.'' The Redskins' first 13 points resulted from three turnovers, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland had a hand in each of them. Eric Decker fumbled on the Jets' first play from scrimmage and Breeland recovered. Then Breeland stripped the ball out of Marshall's hands and recovered it. In the final minute of the second quarter, Breeland picked off a pass intended for Marshall, setting up a field goal that put the Redskins ahead 13-10 at the half.
But the turning point came in the third quarter, courtesy of Revis, who intercepted a pass from Kirk Cousins for his third pick of the season. "He baited him,'' Bowles said of the INT, which set up Fitzpatrick's score on the next play. "[Revis] takes advantage of every opportunity that comes to him.''
The Jets outscored Washington 17-0 in the third quarter.
"We have a special team,'' said Marshall, who made up for his fumble with a shoestring catch-and-run for a 35-yard TD. "The scary part is, we have a long way to go.''
Once again, a healthy dose of Ivory proved to be the key for their offense. Afterward, Marshall didn't back down from his assertion that the Jets have the best back in the NFL.
"There were a couple guys that laughed at me when I said Ivory's the best,'' Marshall said. "He is, and he proved it again today. Eight-man box, nine-man box, they came out and said, 'We don't care about the wide receivers. We're going to stop the run.' Ivory, again, came out and put up over 140 yards. He's amazing. And he's the best in the league.''
Next Sunday, the Jets will get to see if they're the best in the AFC East. Defeating the Patriots won't be easy, but it's certainly not impossible.
"It's going to be a battle next week,'' said Revis, who won the Super Bowl last season with New England. "Any team can be beat any way on any given Sunday. We're familiar with them and they're familiar with us. It's going to be a great game.''