By Matt Barbato
The New York Jets control their playoff destiny.
The Jets defeated the New England Patriots 26-20 in overtime thanks to a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker in the corner of the end zone.
In what could only be called a back-and-forth tussle, Fitzpatrick out-dueled New England’s Tom Brady on Sunday. Fitzpatrick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns while tying Vinny Testaverde’s single-season touchdown record.
Overtime got started in wacky fashion, as the Patriots elected to kickoff in the sudden death extra period. The Jets caught a major break, but they still had to drive down the field. New York’s drive nearly ended, but a pass interference call on Malcolm Butler on 3rd-and-8 kept the drive alive. The biggest play of the drive was a 48-yard catch and run from Quincy Enunwa that put the Jets in scoring range.
New York controlled the game the entire way and led by as many as 14 points, but the Patriots found a way back into the game. The momentum swung after a Fitzpatrick fumble led to a scoop and score for Jamie Collins to cut the game to 17-13 in the third quarter. The Pats tied the game at 20 thanks to an 11-play, 66-yard drive that featured two fourth-down conversions and was capped by a touchdown pass to James White.
The Jets persevered through it all and secured and are now 10-5. It’s New York’s sixth 10-win season since 1987. Now, the Jets could play their way into the playoffs thanks to the Baltimore Ravens, who knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. If the Jets can beat the Buffalo Bills, they will make the postseason.
Here are some other notes from Sunday’s victory:
Marshall shatters one record, nearing another
Brandon Marshall had a tremendous day against the Patriots, catching eight passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He broke Al Toon’s single-season record for receptions and can tie Don Maynard and Art Powell’s single-season touchdown record with one more score next weekend. He can also break the franchise’s single-season receiving yardage record with 59 more yards against the Bills.
Marshall has only been in New York for one season, but he could go down as one of the best receivers in franchise history after just one year.
Powell paces the way
Once again, Bilal Powell was New York’s leading rusher. Powell rushed seven times for 56 yards on Sunday while Chris Ivory ran 11 times for 38 yards. Ivory also left the game briefly with a knee injury. As the season wraps up, Powell has emerged as the more important player in New York’s backfield.
Demario Davis’ big day
An unsung hero on Sunday could be linebacker Demario Davis, who put up one of his best performances of the season. Davis recorded nine tackles including a couple of important run stuffs on short-distance situations. Davis hasn’t had a great season, but he was vital for New York’s front seven.
Beware of Rex the Spoiler
If there’s one thing Rex Ryan is good at, it’s playing spoiler. The Jets will have their hands full with the Bills, who beat the Jets in a sloppy Thursday night game in November. The Jets control their destiny, but they have to take care of business against the Bills, who should be more than inspired by Ryan.