8:30 PM ET, October 7, 2013
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Looking like a wily ol' veteran instead of a rookie, Smith calmly guided the New York Jets to another victory.
Smith threw three touchdown passes and directed a drive that set up Nick Folk's 43-yard field goal on the final play, giving the Jets a 30-28 victory over the staggering Falcons on Monday night.
More Jets-Falcons Coverage
Eight days after the ugliest four-turnover performance you will ever see, Geno Smith delivered a possible turning-point game, Rich Cimini writes. Blog
One yard was all that stood between the Falcons and rebounding from a dismal 2013 start. Instead, Monday ended with a thud, Vaughn McClure writes. Blog
At 1-4, the Falcons' issues seem to run deeper than simply being victims of a tough early schedule and some bad timing, Kevin Seifert writes. Blog
• Stats: Smith's poise points way
"It's always been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be in those situations," Smith said.
After the Falcons went ahead on Matt Ryan's 3-yard touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo with 1:54 remaining, Smith completed four straight passes and broke off an 8-yard run that set up Folk's field goal as time expired.
The Jets (3-2) have been waiting for this sort of performance from Smith, who came into the game leading the NFL with 11 turnovers, including eight interceptions. He completed 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards and threw almost as many touchdown passes as the four he had in the first four games.
"My confidence is always sky-high," Smith said. "Nothing can bring me down."
Smith put in extra work at practice to cut down on the turnovers, and it paid off. He was sacked four times but never lost the ball.
"It's a mindset," he said. "I made it my duty to come out here and not put the ball on the ground and not put my team in jeopardy."
But they couldn't stop Smith when it mattered.
"He's a rookie," Atlanta safety William Moore said, "and we make him look like a 10-year veteran."
Geno Channels Chad
Geno Smith became the third quarterback in Jets history to throw for 3 TDs and have an 80 percent completion rate in a game.
|Geno Smith||2013 at Falcons|
|Chad Pennington||2002 at Lions|
|Ken O'Brien||1986 at Seahawks|
Considered a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of the season, Atlanta is mired in a three-game longest losing streak -- its longest since 2007 -- heading into a bye week.
The Jets led 17-7 after a goal-line stand on the final play of the first half, which turned out to be awful big at the end of the game.
Atlanta had two cracks at the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The first attempt resulted in an incomplete pass, but the Jets were called for pass interference when they grabbed Tony Gonzalez as he tried to get open.
The Falcons again passed on a chip-shot field goal and instead decided to hand it to their smallest back -- Rodgers is 5-foot-6, 196 pounds -- for a power run behind their shaky offensive line. Rodgers was swallowed up by the New York line, sending the Jets racing off the field in celebration while the Falcons staggered to their locker room to a round of boos from the Georgia Dome crowd.
Rodgers and the Falcons rallied in the second half.
The diminutive back scored on a 4-yard run midway through the third quarter, then broke off a 19-yard score to cut the Jets' lead to 27-21 with 8:10 remaining. The Falcons surged ahead, taking advantage of a holding call on DeMario Davis after the Jets batted down a pass to Rodgers. Two plays later, Ryan hooked up with Toilolo, a tight end known more for his blocking.
But New York had plenty of time to pull off the winning drive.
Smith completed a 12-yard pass to Stephen Hill, a 13-yarder to Jeremy Kerley, and went to Hill again on a 9-yarder. Smith scrambled around left end to the Atlanta 38. After one more Smith completion, the Jets let the clock run down and sent on their kicker.
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There was no doubt about it.
"I hit it pretty solid," Folk said. "As soon as I saw it go and get up in the air, I knew it was pretty good."
Ryan completed 36 of 45 passes for 319 yards. Gonzalez had 10 receptions for 97 yards and became just the second player in NFL history to catch a pass in 200 consecutive games, trailing only Jerry Rice (274). Julio Jones had eight catches for 99 yards.
The Falcons were missing six starters because of injuries, and the medical report grew longer. Receiver Roddy White went out with a hamstring injury, and Snelling didn't return after sustaining a concussion. In the fourth quarter, Atlanta got so far down the depth chart that a trio of third stringers contributed -- Kevin Cone caught a big third-down pass, Antone Smith had a key run, and Toilolo scored the go-ahead touchdown.
It wasn't enough.
"What are we going to do, sit here and feel sorry for ourselves?" Gonzalez said. "I'm not going to put my hands up and say the season is over."
Mike Goodson rushed for 32 yards on three carries in his first game for the Jets. He was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. ... The Jets rushed for 118 yards on 22 carries, averaging 5.4 yards. ... Osi Umenyiora had two sacks for Atlanta.
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 07: Players wear pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month before a game between the New...(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.3||5.2|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||3-5||4-5|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||05:46||Nick Folk 22 Yd||3||0|
|TD||14:53||Jason Snelling 4 Yd Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick)||3||7|
|TD||11:01||Jeff Cumberland 20 Yd Pass From Geno Smith (Nick Folk Kick)||10||7|
|TD||07:19||Jeremy Kerley 16 Yd Pass From Geno Smith (Nick Folk Kick)||17||7|
|TD||07:59||Jacquizz Rodgers 4 Yd Run (Matt Bryant Kick)||17||14|
|FG||00:39||Nick Folk 36 Yd||20||14|
|TD||12:00||Kellen Winslow 1 Yd Pass From Geno Smith (Nick Folk Kick)||27||14|
|TD||08:03||Jacquizz Rodgers 19 Yd Run (Matt Bryant Kick)||27||21|
|TD||01:54||Levine Toilolo 3 Yd Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick)||27||28|
|FG||00:00||Nick Folk 43 Yd||30||28|
Matt Ryan completed a season-high 88.2% (30-of-34) of his passes when facing 4 or fewer pass rushers Monday night, including 2 touchdowns. Coming into the game, the Jets defense had allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 53.8% of passes when sending a standard pass rush, the 2nd-lowest percentage in the league. --Matt Ryan completed a season-high 31 passes (on 36 attempts) that traveled 10 yards or fewer downfield Monday. Ryan's average pass traveled 6.8 yards downfield, his 4th game this season with an average pass shorter than 7.0 yards. He had 4 such games all of last season.
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