Fitzpatrick to rescue as Jets snap losing skid
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> Fitz Magic returned after Geno Smith’s sequel ended early, and the New York Jets got their first victory in over a month.
Fitzpatrick replaced an injured Smith and led the Jets on three scoring drives, and a rejuvenated defense came up with two rare interceptions in a 24-16 comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday that snapped a fourgame skid.
“It’s a pretty ironic situation,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick came in for Smith, starting for the first time since 2014, in the second quarter and led the Jets on a go-ahead drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte. Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 14 for 120 yards and a touchdown for the Jets (2-5), whose last win came at Buffalo on Sept. 15.
“It’s about damn time,” safety Calvin Pryor said.
Smith injured his right knee while taking a sack from Baltimore’s Matthew Judon and will have an MRI to determine if he needs to be sidelined. Center Nick Mangold (knee) and linebacker Bruce Carter (hamstring) were also injured.
Fitzpatrick was efficient after losing his job earlier in the week. Coach Todd Bowles decided to start Smith over Fitzpatrick , who had thrown an NFL-leading 11 interceptions and just five touchdown passes. Smith was 4 of 8 for 95 yards and a TD to Quincy Enunwa.
Justin Tucker put the Ravens (3-4) back up 16-14 as time expired in the first half with his third field goal, a 44-yarder.
Joe Flacco started for Baltimore after being questionable with a sore shoulder . He went a team-record 176 consecutive throws without an interception before Buster Skrine picked off his pass in the third quarter and returned it 51 yards to the Ravens 3.
But the Jets faltered and had to settle for Nick Folk’s 22-yard field goal and a 17-16 lead.
The defense made it two possessions in a row with a takeaway — after coming in with just four all season — as Marcus Gilchrist picked off Flacco and returned it
27 yards to the Ravens 24.
This time, the Jets cashed in, but not before some hot potato with the football.
On second-and-goal from the 6, Forte ran up the middle for 3 yards and had the ball ripped out of his hands. Timmy Jernigan recovered for Baltimore and tried to advance, but Brandon Marshall stripped the ball and recovered it for the Jets.
“At the end of the day, coach says the best thing for me to do was to fall on the ball,” Jernigan said. “From now on, I’m going to fall on the ball.”
Three plays later, Forte ran it in from 1 yard.
Forte finished with 100 yards and a TD on 30 carries and four catches for 54 yards and a score. He also joined Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas and Herschel Walker as the only players with 8,000 yards rushing, 4,000 yards receiving and
20 TD receptions. With 3:04 left, Folk had a chance to seal the victory, but his 51-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Brandon Williams.
Again, the Jets’ defense came up big, with Marcus Williams knocking away Flacco’s desperation heave as the Ravens dropped their fourth straight — and second in a row at MetLife Stadium after losing 27-23 to the Giants last week .
Flacco was 25 of 44 for 248 yards and the two interceptions.
“Right now, it’s us versus ourselves,” Brandon Williams said. “We’ve got to look within ourselves and look at each other and fix the stupid stuff.”
SMITH’S QUICK START
Enunwa motored down the left sideline and outran two Ravens for a 69yard touchdown in the first quarter. An excited Smith ran all the way down the field to celebrate with Enunwa as fireworks went off at MetLife Stadium.