Ryan Fitzpatrick made plays when it counted. The quarterback finished 15-for-24 passing for 179 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. But Brandon Marshall made the pick more palatable after he stripped the ball out of the defender's hands and recovered it, helping to set up Chris Ivory's first touchdown. Ivory was dominant (91 yards on 20 carries with two TDs), plus Bilal Powell averaged 5.2 yards after 12 carries for 62 yards. Marshall (six catches, 62 yards) and Eric Decker (one TD) came up big in the passing game, as well as Chris Owusu, the breakout star in training camp. He had a 43-yard reception before Ivory's 10-yard TD in the second quarter.
Despite a slow start, the unit rebounded after losing defensive leader Antonio Cromartie and rookie outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin. After giving up 10 second-quarter points, the Jets' defense kept the Browns off the board. Calvin Pryor and Demario Davis combined on one devastating hit to knock starter Josh McCown (concussion) out of the game. And despite giving up a 54-yard touchdown pass by backup Johnny Manziel (which badly beat Cromartie), the Jets' defense rendered "Johnny Football" ineffective and sacked the second-year QB three times.
Nick Folk made all four of his extra points and connected on a 34-yard field goal that put the Jets up 24-10 in the third. But Jeremy Kerley provided little boost in the punt return game (6.5-yard average) and the Jets had just one kickoff return for 13 yards.
Few would have blamed the Jets had they fallen apart following the emotional injuries to Cromartie and Mauldin. But just as Todd Bowles did in training camp, he kept his players focused. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's play-calling allowed for a strong dose of ground and pound, but he also spread the field and allowed Fitzpatrick to let it rip.