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Jets grades: Geno Smith returns to form with healthy receivers as targets

Geno Smith passes the ball during a game

Geno Smith passes the ball during a game against the Oakland Raiders. (Dec. 8, 2013) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.


Healthy receivers made all the difference for Geno Smith. The rookie quarterback threw for 219 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 50 yards and a score. His 50 rushing yards are the most by a Jets QB since Brooks Bollinger (56 against Oakland on Dec. 11, 2005). Though Smith allowed his 20th interception, he led the Jets on multiple scoring drives after Oakland's offense came alive and he broke a 32-yard run. It mattered little that Stephen Hill was inactive, with Jeremy Kerley, Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow suiting up together for the first time since Week 4. In his first game since dislocating his left elbow, Kerley jump-started the offense by hauling in a 25-yard touchdown and Chris Ivory (76 yards) powered the running game, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The unit was 7-for-13 on third downs.


Up 20-3 at halftime, the Jets' defense surrendered 24 second-half points to the hapless Raiders. Oakland scored a minute into the third quarter when Marcel Reece ran 63 yards up the middle for a TD. Reece (123 yards) is the first back to rush for 100 yards this season against Rex Ryan's top-ranked run defense, which entered allowing just 77 rushing yards per game. In all, the Raiders rushed for 150 yards. The Jets also surrendered pass plays of 48, 40 and 26 yards, plus a 20-yard QB scramble by Matt McGloin. Bright spots: Ed Reed recorded his first regular-season interception since Week 12 of last season and Quinton Coples made his second sack in as many weeks.


As he exited the locker room before the game, Antonio Allen wondered: "Who's going to give us that spark?" It was the second-year safety who did that and more, including a recovery in the end zone of his own blocked punt for a touchdown with four minutes left in the second quarter. Nick Folk remains the team's MVP this season, nailing field-goal attempts of 41, 23 and 51 yards. The kicker has two field goals of 50 or more yards in 2013 and 10 as a Jet since 2010. Said left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson: "Special teams was huge for us."


Give Ryan credit. His players were ready to play. And with healthy bodies at his disposal, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was able to air it out and get several weapons involved. Though Ryan's defense held the Raiders to just three first-half points, the unit allowed Oakland to get back in it in the third.

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