Jets outlast Jaguars in Fitzpatrick's return to action


It wasn't pretty, but the New York Jets (5-3) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 28-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) on Sunday at the Meadowlands. Here's what you need to know:

1. The Jets announced themselves as a surprise AFC player with a fast start built upon great defense and a bruising running game. Both those elements have been in short supply in the past month. Todd Bowles' defense allowed 436 total yards of offense and Chris Ivory -- despite two touchdown runs -- managed just 26 yards on 23 carries. In the last three games, Ivory has rushed for 84 yards on 55 carries (1.5 yards per carry). The Jets will crumble if they don't improve in these areas.

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2. The Jaguars will be kicking themselves for letting this game get away. Jacksonville had first-and-10 from the Jets' 10 trailing 21-16 with 5:56 to go. After a holding penalty pushed them back to the 20, Blake Bortles was sacked and stripped, leading to a turnover. The defense then forced a three-and-out, but Nick Marshall muffed the ensuing punt, leading to another turnover that set up a Brandon Marshall touchdown catch that put the game out of reach. Gus Bradley can't lose too many more games like this.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't show any ill-effects from the thumb injury that knocked him out of last week's loss to the Raiders. The Jets quarterback worked mostly out of the shotgun and played a steady, mistake-free game. The Jets just seem to be a better, more cohesive unit with Geno Smith standing on the sideline with a towel over his shoulders.

4. The Jets are going to be banged up on a short week. Center Nick Mangold exited after aggravating the neck injury that kept him out of Week 8. Kicker Nick Folk was relegated to holder duties after straining his quad in the first quarter. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie -- who was beaten for another deep touchdown -- left in the second half with quad soreness. The Jets will face Rex Ryan and the Bills in four days.

5. The Jaguars gave Julius Thomas a lot of money to become one of Bortles' go-to receivers, but he didn't play like a difference-maker on Sunday. Thomas was unable to get separation in coverage and had a key drop that short-circuited a Jacksonville possession. On a day when the Jets' defense looked pedestrian, Thomas couldn't make a difference.