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Q&A: Despite early pick-6, Geno Smith plays better

Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets

Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets throws a pass for a gain against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter on Dec. 7, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Adam Bettcher

Did Geno Smith feel more comfortable running the offense after throwing only 13 times in Monday's loss to the Dolphins?

Mostly yes. Smith looked more comfortable in the passing game, and actually was given the chance to make a considerable number of throws, completing 18-for-29 for 254 yards, with one touchdown and a pick-6 on his first attempt. The big drawback: red-zone efficiency. The Jets had to settle for four Nick Folk field goals on five trips inside the Vikings' 20.

"I think I did a decent job,'' Smith said. "Obviously, rebounding from the first play was huge and definitely helped my confidence. There are still some plays I wish I could have back.

"You look at the first play of the game, throw a pick-6, I'm pretty sure in everyone's mind [it's] 'Oh, here we go again.' But in my mind, I erase it and you move on from there. Every single play is different. Whether you're running the ball 50 times or passing the ball 50 times, it's about execution, and it takes 11 men to do so, not just one.''

 

Did Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater change the final play of the game at the line of scrimmage?

Yes. After making a hard snap count, Bridgewater noticed that the Jets were in a formation that called for an all-out blitz. So he changed the play to a short pass to his right to Jarius Wright. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett had a shot at Wright but failed to make the tackle, and Wright raced 87 yards for the touchdown.

"We didn't hold our water [and showed blitz]," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. "If you show your hand too early, you just have to make the [tackle]."

Rex Ryan took full responsibility for the call. "Kid made a nice check to a screen pass, which we knew was coming,'' he said. "We've got to make a tackle.''

Did Richardson, who had three sacks, including one for a safety, feel a need to make more plays because defensive end Mo Wilkerson was sidelined?

Yes. Wilkerson has missed the last two games with turf toe, and he's hoping to be back for Sunday's game against the Titans in Tennessee. Richardson had the first multisack game of his career.

"You could say that,'' Richardson said about needing to step up in Wilkerson's absence. "There's plays I left out there for me to make. I wish him a speedy recovery.''

 

Is Percy Harvin's ankle injury related to the one that required surgery in 2012?

No. Harvin suffered what appeared to be a sprained left ankle late in the fourth quarter. He needed surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right ankle two years ago.

 

At 2-11, does Rex Ryan feel as if he's run out of ideas to help his team?

No way.

"You go right back to work and put a plan together that we feel good about,'' he said. "That's what we owe our players, owe our fans, and that's exactly what we do. Our team's tough. We'll keep fighting. We'll keep competing to the end. We've got three games left and every game's precious.''

 

Did Jets receiver Eric Decker, who starred at the University of Minnesota, enjoy his return to the stadium?

Sure did, although there's one thing he hasn't missed.

"Always fun to get back,'' he said. "Very cold. I'd forgotten how cold it is here. But good to be back on campus and see a lot of family and friends.''

 

Did the Vikings know Geno Smith was going to attempt the pass that was intercepted by linebacker Gerald Hodges?

They did. Hodges, who returned the interception 27 yards for a touchdown, said coach Mike Zimmer showed him the play during the week. Smith was attempting to complete a slant route to Harvin.

"We worked really hard on formations this week,'' Hodges said. "You get the chance to see the formations so many times, that when it comes up in game time, you see the formation and you already know the play is coming. You put yourself in position before the ball is even snapped.''

 

Has Ryan ever lost an overtime game in such miserable fashion?

Yes. When he was defensive coordinator for the Ravens in 2007, the Dolphins got their only win of the season when Cleo Lemon hit Greg Camarillo on a short pass that turned into a 64-yard touchdown in overtime.

"Got split in two-man [coverage] one time, and I had an extra [defensive back] in there,'' Ryan said. "Dolphins in Baltimore. I remember that one, too. Those have a tendency to stick with you for a lifetime, just like this one.''

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