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Jets 37, Raiders 27: Jets Stay In Playoff Hunt As Geno Smith, Offense Finally Come Alive In Big Win Over Raiders, Handing Out Game Balls

Geno Smith celebrates a touchdown against Oakland. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets accomplished their goal Sunday afternoon, beating the Oakland Raiders 37-27 as Geno Smith and the offense finally came alive. But the rest of the league didn't help the Jets out in their quest for the postseason. The Jets did stay within one game of the final wild card spot by improving to 6-7, and that was the most important thing.

But the Dolphins beat the Steelers and the Ravens defeated the Vikings, both with unbelievable finishes, to stay one game ahead of the Jets at 7-6. Both of those teams also own a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets, but the Dolphins and Gang Green play one more time this season. The Steelers and Titans both lost Sunday, so they can't catch the Jets if they win out. The Chargers remain tied with the Jets after they defeated the Giants, however.

So, while it was a good day for the Jets on the field, it wasn't that great away from home, as the rest of the league didn't cooperate.

Still, the victory against Oakland finally snapped a three-game losing streak and allowed everyone in the organization and fan base to regain their sanity for at least one week. The Jets travel to Carolina next week, but we'll worry about that when it comes.

The offense and special teams did their part in the win over Oakland, while the defense had another rough game, allowing two long touchdowns in the second half that kept the Raiders in the game. All in all, the Jets took home a must-win game against a team that just wasn't very good. Here's a closer look at who contributed to the victory and who didn't, getting Game Balls or Game Falls.

Game Balls
Geno Smith: He bounced back in a big way against the Raiders Sunday. He did throw a terrible interception, but he was way more good than bad in this victory. The biggest improvement was Smith used his running ability to make big plays down field. He moved around the pocket and wasn't afraid to take off. He was 16-of-25 passing for 219 yards and a touchdown. He also had 50 yards rushing and a touchdown. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg finally allowed Smith to make plays and it worked against Oakland. Smith didn't make anyone believe he's a franchise quarterback with his performance, but he did what he had to do to win. He certainly needs to run the ball more and hopefully a game like this gives him confidence to do it.

Chris Ivory: One of the few offseason moves general manager John Idzik made that has worked out, Ivory had another big game Sunday, even though the stats aren't all that impressive. He rushed 18 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. The score was on a bulldozing 15-yard run that put the Jets up 37-20 with under nine minutes to play. Ivory also had a devastating block on Raiders linebacker Sio Moore, knocking him out of the game briefly with what appeared to be a neck injury. Ivory has taken over as the team's feature back.

Jeremy Kerley: In his return to the lineup, Kerley had four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. His 25-yard scoring hookup with Smith was huge, as it ended a touchdown-less streak of eight quarters and put the Jets up 10-0 early in the game. It was a desperately needed confidence boost for the entire team. Overall, having Kerley in the lineup was a huge difference for Smith, as he targeted the wide receiver a team-high seven times. The Jets need Kerley on the field to be successful.

Quinton Coples: This wasn't a good game for the defense, but Coples was one of the few bright spots on that side of the ball. Coples had three tackles with a sack, tackle for a loss, a pass deflection and two quarterback hits. He's been overshadowed by the play of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson this season, but on this day, Coples had the best game.

Kellen Winslow: We wrote last week the Jets needed to get Winslow involved in the game plan, mainly being used as a security blanket for Smith. Well, it didn't happen last week and the team lost. It did happen this week, though, and the Jets had their best scoring day since Week 1 of last year. Winslow had three catches for 61 yards, including a 30-yarder. It's no surprising the Jets had their best offensive day in a long time with Kerley, Winslow and Santonio Holmes (three catches for 55 yards) all on the field at the same time.

Antonio Allen: His blocked punt for a touchdown with under four minutes to play in the first half put the Jets up 20-3 and basically ended the game right there. It was a momentum-swing that catapulted the Jets to an easy victory. Allen played more as well, taking over at times for Ed Reed. He had three tackles.

Game Falls
Muhammad Wilkerson: He was virtually invisible for the second week in a row, recording just two tackles in the game. Wilkerson might be hitting a wall after a huge start, which had him collecting 10 sacks and playing like the defensive player of the year. But the last two weeks he has just six total tackles.

Antonio Cromartie: The Raiders decided to attack Cromartie instead of rookie Dee Milliner and they had success doing it. On the Raiders' 48-yard touchdown pass, the ball went right between Cromartie and Ed Reed and ended up being an easy score for Rod Streater. Cromartie had one tackle and two pass defenses.

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