Did Chris Ivory celebrate his touchdown run too soon?
The Jets running back was able to smile about it in the locker room, but Ivory knew he had messed up.
In the blink of an eye, he had slid through an opening and taken off, hustling his way downfield. His 71-yard touchdown, which ultimately sealed the Jets' 19-14 win over the Raiders on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, was the longest run of his career. But the play almost ended short of the goal line when Ivory -- who raised his hand skyward in celebration just after crossing the Raiders' 40 -- got caught by cornerback T.J. Carrie.
"After you put your hand up, you better get in there," said Ivory, who was hit from behind just before the end zone but managed to cross the goal line before being taken down. "So that's what I was thinking. As soon as I did it, I knew I messed up, but I was able to get in the end zone."
Ivory is known for his punishing running style, but he also flashed his speed in the open field. It was the Jets' longest rushing TD since Oct. 19, 2009, when Thomas Jones ran for a 71-yard score.
"It was just a great run," said Ivory, who finished with 102 yards on 10 carries. "I was able to break one or two tackles. I saw a cutback lane and I took it. And after that, I just tried to see who was fastest to the end zone. I got caught. But hey, a touchdown is a touchdown."
Speaking of running backs named Chris . . . how did Johnson do in his debut?
Ivory may have broken the game open with his score, but Chris Johnson scored the first Jets touchdown of the afternoon. Johnson caught a 5-yard shovel pass from Geno Smith and lunged into the end zone to put the Jets up 10-7 with 30 seconds to go until halftime. He finished with 13 carries for 68 yards and had five catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. In the process, Johnson eclipsed 10,000 yards from scrimmage (10,059) and 8,000 yards rushing (8,033) for his career.
Rex Ryan said Ivory is "the man. So is Chris Johnson . . . These two guys are good. John [Idzik, the Jets' general manager] and I need to find some more Chrises."
Speaking of Johnson's touchdown on a shovel pass, Smith said, "Chris came off the field saying, 'Man, that window was tight,' and he was right."
Smith took a lot of unnecessary hits, no?
Ryan complimented Smith's play but noted that his quarterback has to be more careful when running with the football. "We have to protect ourselves a little bit," Ryan said. "That scares me a little bit. He needs to protect himself a little better. He needs to slide. Go down and slide a little bit.
"Maybe we can get [Derek] Jeter to come after he retires. Hopefully, that is in late October. Maybe he can teach him how to slide."
What about Calvin Pace's roughing-the-passer penalty?
Ryan wasn't at all pleased with the Jets' 11 penalties for 105 yards, and one of those infractions was Pace's helmet hit on rookie quarterback Derek Carr. "Hopefully, Mr. Roger Goodell doesn't tax me," Pace said. "I should have got off him."
Was Saalim Hakim on defense?
It's true: The return man/ wide receiver was in on a few defensive plays. Ryan had Hakim drop into coverage on third down and even had the speedster blitzing. With Leon McFadden inactive, the Jets dressed only four cornerbacks and three safeties. That meant Ryan, who playfully is referred to as a "mad scientist" by defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, had to get creative. He even lined up outside linebacker/defensive end Quinton Coples at cornerback and had him jam wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.