Jets 20-27 Falcons – How it Happened

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Chris BreenNews
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The Jets and Falcons met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to signal the return of the NFL to London following a year out due to Covid. Both teams came into the game at 1-3 and needing a win. There appeared to be an even split between the 60,589 fans in attendance making for a good atmosphere, which only improved with one of the best renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner being performed from the roof of the Stadium which concluded with a fly-by from 4 fighter jets and a raft of Red, White and Blue Fireworks. The NFL was most definitely back in town.

First Quarter:

The Jets won the toss and elected to defer until the 2nd half handing Matt Ryan and the Falcons the ball to start the game. That decision looked to have paid off when the Falcons appeared to go three and out on the opening possession, however a questionable roughing the passer penalty was called for a hit Matt Ryan as he released the ball and the Drive stayed alive. Following some good work by Cordarrelle Paterson the Falcons got into field goal range where the drive stalled. Younghoe Koo Drilled the Kick and Atlanta took the early lead 3-0

The Jets went three and out before punting back to the Falcons where the ball was downed on the 7-yard line. Matt Ryan then led a 93-yard drive connecting with four different receivers before capping the Drive off with a Touchdown Pass to Kyle Pitts for his first of his career, where he was inexplicably being covered by Defensive Lineman John Franklin Myers. The Extra Point was good, and the Falcons led 10-0.

The Jets went three and out again on the back of an incomplete pass, run for a loss and then a completed pass to TY Johnson that left them a couple yards shy of the first down. They punted the ball back to the Falcons and that ended the 1st Quarter.

Second Quarter:

The Falcons began the 2nd Quarter with the ball and on 3rd and short, they took a shot downfield, and Matt Ryan found Kyle Pitts for 21 yards. Another 15 yards were tacked on for the Jets second roughing the passer foul of the day, this time for a low dive on Matt Ryan. It proved to be more costly than the first as three plays later, Ryan found Hayden Hurst for a 17 Yard Touchdown to give them a 17-0 lead.

The Jets began the next drive and really needed a score, and they did the exact opposite. On just the 2nd play, Zach Wilson Under threw a pass to the outside, and Safety Jaylinn Hawkins undercut the route for the interception, and like that the blowout alarm bells were ringing.

It was time for the Jets Defense to step up, having been scored on in 3 out of 3 drives and now in almost instant red-zone defence, they needed to make a play, and make a play they did. Matt Ryan found a wide-open Hayden Hurst, and as he was charging towards the endzone the ball was ripped from his hands and the Jets pounced on the fumble, replying with the turnover of their own. It lit a spark under the Jets, who on the back of a Pass Interference call drove down the field and eventually settled for a field goal which sailed comfortably through getting the Jets on the board 17-3

That meant the Falcons got the ball back with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left in the half and a 14-point lead. There would be no conservative play-calling though as the Falcons went hunting for another score. The drive remained alive via a Pass interference penalty where Kyle Pitts was being pulled back in a blatant fashion. They settled for a field goal as time expired and the Falcons lead at the Half by 20 points to 3.

Third Quarter:

After an abysmal first half the jets really needed something to jump-start their whole team in the 2nd half and kick returner Tevin Coleman duly obliged as he found an opening and broke off a 65 Yard kick return, setting the Jets up in plus territory to start the game. After 3 back-to-back runs from Michael Carter, Zach Wilson then had two straight completions to set up first and goal from the one-yard line. They wasted no time at all as TY Johnson ran in the 1-yard score. Even with the missed extra point, the Jets had finally found some life as the score was 20-9.

The Falcons got the ball back looking to continue building on their first half but it was to be a short drive, after getting a first down on the first play, Hayden Hurst coughed the ball up again, luckily for him it rolled out of bounds, but it seemed to shake the Falcons a little and 2 incompletions later and they were punting, and it was a shocker. The kick going only 32 yards once again handing some incentive to the Jets. They couldn’t make the most of it however as an instant first down never materialized into anything and the Jets Punted the Ball back.

The Falcons then started to look more like they did in the first half, securing four first downs and moving into Jets Territory when the defence came up big again with yet another Fumble, this time Mike Davis losing the ball with Quincy Williams forcing his 2nd one of the day, this time Shaq Lawson was on hand to secure it giving the New York side back the ball.

Once more, the Jets offence couldn’t repay the defence as all they did was go backwards before punting it back to Atlanta. There was time for one Patterson run to round out the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter:

Atlanta started the 4th with another decent looking drive mainly dominated by Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson, however, a holding penalty cancelled a large completion to Pitts and killed the drive, but the punt pinned the jets back inside their own 10 Yard Line.

Finally, the Jets opened up the playbook and let Zach Wilson open up downfield and after a 25-yard completion to Keelan Cole, and a 27-yard completion to Denzel Mims, the Jets took a shot at the Endzone and looked like they were away to score on a deep pass to Elijah Moore until Atlanta cornerback AJ Terrell got their early and gave up the pass interference penalty. The Jets had a first and goal from the two and once again wasted no time punching it in as Michael Carter ran in untouched. The Jets then had to go for the two-point attempt, and they succeeded with relative ease as Jamison Crowder crossed the goal line on a short pass from Zach Wilson.

Once again it looked like we were going to see the Falcons of old appear as they looked like they could blow yet another lead. Once again enter Matt Ryan, Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. The Falcons instantly went after Pitts and got a 39 Yard completion, despite a couple of negative plays leaving them with 3rd and 13, Ryan stayed true to his nickname of Matty Ice as he stayed cool and delivered a dart to Olamide Zaccheaus for 15 Yards to keep the drive alive. Three straight plays to Patterson set the Falcons up for 1st and Goal on the 10-yard line, two Mike Davis runs later, and the Falcons were in the end zone, a successful PAT later and the Falcons had a 10-point lead with 2 minutes and 19 left in the game and the contest was as good as over. Falcons 27 Jets 17.

The Jets did mount one final drive downfield but following a sack by Jacob Tuioti-Mariner for a 19-yard loss, the Jets elected to kick a field goal on third down and look for the onside kick. The field goal was good to close the lead to 27-20 to the Falcons, but the onside kick was recovered comfortably by Atlanta, and they were able to kneel out the game.

Overall, the game was competitive and really livened up in the third quarter, but the experience of Matt Ryan paid off in what was effectively a game-sealing drive late in the 4th quarter to secure the win. The Jets simply took far too long to get going and questions will be asked about why it took until late in the game before the Jets were able to push the ball downfield.

Game Leaders

Passing: Matt Ryan (ATL) – 33/45 for 342 Yards and 2 Touchdowns

Rushing: Mike Davis (ATL) – 13 Carries for 53 yards and 1 Touchdown

Receiving: Kyle Pitts (ATL) – 9 Receptions for 119 Yards and 1 Touchdown

Defence: Quincy Williams (NYJ) – 5 Tackles 3 Assists and 2 Forced Fumbles

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