With Brandon Marshall less than 100% and not putting up his regular big numbers, Ryan Fitzpatrick had to spread the ball around a bit more this week.
Eric Decker led the way with six catches for 79 yards but five of those came in the first half. The Jets two longest plays of the game, accounting for just over half of Fitzpatrick's second half yardage, came from two unlikely sources: tight end Jeff Cumberland and recent addition Kenbrell Thompkins.
The defense essentially ignored Cumberland on his 44-yard catch and run - and why wouldn't they? After all, he had been averaging less than five yards per game to that point. Maybe this whole time it's just been a long con and they spent half a season setting up that play by never looking for him. As for Thompkins, he got a step down the middle against a middle linebacker in a Tampa-2 type look and hauled in a nice diving catch over the top.
Although Marshall had his quietest game as a Jets from a statistical standpoint, he came up huge once again with a tumbling 20-yard touchdown reception in the end zone. However, his hustling, diving recovery of Ivory's fumble was perhaps even bigger.
Marshall did have one drop, a false start and one or two disappointing blocks, but he certainly came up big there. One of his other catches was also an impressive play, as he hauled it in on the rebound despite being interfered with. I actually think his touchdown catch perhaps should have been overturned by the replay booth, as I don't think he maintained control after the ball hit the turf. The ball seemed to be secured between his wrists. I think his reputation won him the benefit of the doubt there.
Decker's performance included a nice leaping grab, a fourth down conversion and a nice back shoulder catch. He also showed good instincts on his touchdown catch, finding an open spot as Fitzpatrick stepped up and the nearest defender vacated. They weren't quite on the same page later on though, as Decker got a clean inside release and had a step on the defender, but Fitzpatrick's throw was off-line over his outside shoulder. Decker also had a false start and one missed block.
Aside from their big plays, Cumberland and Thompkins didn't contribute much. Cumberland had a pass go off his hands that could have been intercepted and also had a bad missed block. Thompkins did have three other catches but they netted just seven yards.
Jeremy Kerley got some decent playing time again and made a third down conversion and a 10-yard catch on second and long. They also looked for him on another third down but the throw was wide and out of his reach as he dove for the ball.
At tight end, Kellen Davis had both positives and negatives as a blocker. He was driven into the backfield a little too often as runs continued to be blown up regularly. They did look for him on one pass play too, as he leaked into the flat with the Jets moving the pocket. That's been a Jets' staple for years and generally has a high success rate. It's usually good for some safe and consistent yardage once every game or so. However, on this occasion, the defensive end sniffed it out and dropped with Davis, forcing Fitzpatrick to try and loft it over the top and it was off Davis' hands.
Finally, rookie Devin Smith made his return, but barely saw the field on offense and wasn't targeted.
Next up…The Jets generated a ton of pressure up front this week, but did they do anything differently than in the past couple of games?