FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brandon Marshall remembers a specific play — a back-shoulder throw that Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered to him during the Jets’ Nov. 29 win over Miami in the first game of the current five-game winning streak — in which the relationship between the receiver and his quarterback just clicked.
“We’d been missing it the weeks before, and when we hit that, I was like, ‘Wow,’ ’’ Marshall said this past week.
Later in the game, Marshall said, there was another back-shoulder throw that was practically telepathic.
“He basically looked at me — didn’t give me a hand signal or anything — and I knew he was coming,’’ Marshall said. “I knew exactly what he wanted me to do. And it was like, ‘Man, we’re on the same page. It feels good.’ ’’
Fitzpatrick remembered yet another back-shoulder throw — one against New England on Oct. 25 that wasn’t even completed — as the point at which he and Marshall figured one another out. But Eric Decker, the Jets’ other top receiver, can’t pinpoint the one particular moment when he made that special connection with Fitzpatrick.
“I can’t really put like a specific date or week on it, but every route is drawn up a certain way, and what’s on paper doesn’t really happen in a game,’’ Decker said Thursday. “You’ve got to be creative in getting open; you’ve got to put your own twist to it. So I think, getting to that point where we’re seeing the field, seeing coverages the same way and running routes where he knows where the ball’s going to be, that’s where it definitely separated.’’
Decker’s best guess is that occurred sometime after the loss to Houston that dropped the Jets to 5-5, prompting coach Todd Bowles to challenge the team to pick up its intensity and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to begin to simplify things.
Regardless of when it happened, there’s no doubt that the trio of Fitzpatrick, Marshall and Decker have something exciting going on.
Marshall already has broken the team record for receptions in a season with 101 and set a career high with 13 touchdown receptions. With 1,376 receiving yards, he is within 59 yards of breaking Don Maynard’s franchise record of 1,434.
Decker, who has 75 catches and 11 touchdowns, is within 23 yards of recording his third 1,000-yard receiving season.
With 29 touchdown passes this season, Fitzpatrick is tied with Vinny Testaverde for the team record.
Their success prompted a reporter to ask Decker whether he sees any similarities between himself, Fitzpatrick and Marshall and the trio he was part of in Denver with quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Demaryius Thomas. Decker said he does indeed see similarities. “One hundred percent,’’ he said.
Decker explained that while the on-field relationship has clicked between him, Fitzpatrick and Marshall, the three have developed a relationship off the field that also has helped.
“The respect we have for one another; the conversations, that we can trust one another — those things go so far, and I guess isn’t really measured in football, like statistics,’’ he said. “So to be with those guys that have played so much football — I’m always learning from a Brandon Marshall, always learning from a Fitzpatrick, with their experience. So definitely the relationship that we’ve built over the year has given us the chance to have success.’’