The results may mean nothing, but Rex Ryan knows it’s always nice to start the preseason off with a win.
“Too bad that one didn’t count,” the Jets’ head coach mused after the game.
The New York Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts 13-10 in Thursday night’s preseason opener for both teams. Starters on both sides saw action limited to the first half. At the end of the sluggish second half, Jets rookie free agent kicker Andrew Furney nailed a go-ahead 51-yard field goal with 1:08 left to win.
Of course, the spotlight for New York was on quarterbacks Geno Smith and Michael Vick, and neither man disappointed. Smith played the Jets’ first two drives and looked sharp, making no glaring mistakes. At the end of Smith’s second drive, Nick Folk tied the game at three by making a 51-yard field goal that bounced off and over the crossbar. Smith ended the night 4-for-6 with 33 yards.
Vick led the Jets’ only touchdown drive, a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a one-yard score by fellow newcomer Chris Johnson. Vick went 3-for-6 with 17 yards.
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who joined the Jets in free agency, led the receiving corps with three catches for 19 yards. Fellow new targets Eric Decker and rookie Jace Amaro each caught two balls, for 12 and 18 yards, respectively.
David Harris shone on defense, leading the Jets with six tackles and a sack.
But the Jets’ passing defense was more notable – just not in a good way. They unsurprisingly struggled, particularly cornerback Dimitri Patterson, another man making his Jets debut. Indy’s Andrew Luck had no trouble throwing for 53 yards in the first four minutes of the game, the only drive he quarterbacked. Matt Hasselbeck then stepped in and easily took the Colts to their only end zone trip of the game. He finished 10-for-15 with 114 yards and a touchdown.
“Overall, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a pillow fight either,” said Ryan. “It’s good to get that first one under your belt. A win’s a win, and we’ll take it.”
Vick told ESPN’s Josina Anderson he “didn’t think [he] had anything to prove” in his Jets debut, but a certain scramble of his in the second quarter told me otherwise. Vick gained the yardage for a first down with his legs, his first run in a Jet uniform, but then chose to cut inside and away from the sideline. Reckless? Maybe, but if nothing else, Vick is going all-out when he gets to see the field.
Running back Chris Ivory left the game in the second quarter with a rib injury. He compiled 17 yards on seven carries before leaving.
The only other New York injury was to reserve linebacker AJ Edds, who suffered a broken finger. It didn’t keep him from returning to the game – and ultimately recovering a fumble forced by rookie IK Enemkpali in the final minute to ice the game.
What does it all mean for you, Jets fans? I personally don’t care if the team goes 0-4 in preseason if everyone gets their reps in and stays healthy. That’s what it’s really about, and that’s what I saw Thursday night. Preseason games do matter, in that respect.
I’ll level with you – I didn’t share Rex’s full quote earlier.
“Too bad that one didn’t count… but it always counts.”