Smith leads Jets to 37-27 victory over Raiders
The rookie quarterback threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as the New York Jets' suddenly resurgent offense set a season high for points and stopped a three-game skid with a 37-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
"Man, we needed that in the worst way," coach Rex Ryan said, "to say the least."
Chris Ivory had a touchdown run, Nick Folk kicked three field goals and Antonio Allen blocked a punt and returned it for a score to help the Jets (6-7) avoid their first four-game losing streak under Ryan.
Smith ended a miserable stretch that included getting benched last week by throwing his first touchdown toss since Week 7. He finished 16 of 25 for 219 yards, and ran five times for 50 yards — and was able to overcome his 20th interception of the season, which led to a field goal for the Raiders.
"I can't sit here and say I'm not human because it is difficult," Smith said. "When you have those struggles and you come out and, the first quarter and first half, you have an interception near the 50-yard line and you kind of start to think about those things, all of those mistakes in the past."
Smith got a boost on the sideline from his teammates, who urged him to hang in there and not lose his confidence.
"That's the mark of this young man," Ryan said. "He's a resilient guy and has shown he can bounce back. It was an excellent performance on his part, and really, the team in general."
Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes and fullback Marcel Reece, starting because Oakland was down three injured running backs, had a 63-yard touchdown run for the Raiders (4-9).
Oakland has lost three straight overall, and 13 in a row in games played in the Eastern time zone.
"Today is as bad as we played this whole season," Raiders safety Charles Woodson said. "It was really embarrassing to be part of it. We looked like the Bad News Bears out there."
With the Jets leading 3-0 after Folk's 41-yard field goal, Smith was picked off by Kevin Burnett. The sparse crowd at MetLife Stadium booed loudly, but Sebastian Janikowski missed a 52-yard field goal.
Despite Smith's turnover, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg went right back to the pass on the next drive. Smith lofted a throw that a leaping Jeremy Kerley came down with for a 25-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
"I just went up and got it," said Kerley, playing for the first time since dislocating his left elbow on Nov. 3. "It felt like backyard football."
It was Smith's first TD pass since Oct. 20 against New England and his second in eight games. It was also New York's first touchdown of any kind in nine quarters.
Terrelle Pryor came in at quarterback on Oakland's third offensive series to help offset the Raiders' lack of running backs with Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart all inactive with injuries. He led a drive capped by a 41-yard field goal by Janikowski.
Then McGloin returned and, on third-and-9 from the 3, Ed Reed got his 62nd career interception and first with the Jets. Folk later made a 23-yard field goal.
Allen blocked Marquette King's punt, recovered it and returned it for a touchdown to put New York ahead 20-3 in the second quarter.
Oakland got on the scoreboard right away in the second half as Reece zipped up the middle for a 63-yard touchdown. He finished with 123 yards on 19 carries.
But the Jets came right back as Smith ran for an 8-yard score, his fourth of the season.
McGloin connected with Rod Streater on a 48-yard touchdown pass on a ball threaded between Reed and Antonio Cromartie, who smacked into each other. The Jets said Cromartie has a head injury, but he finished the game.
Ivory blasted into the end zone from 15 yards, slipping out of three tackle attempts and dragging a fourth Raiders defender over the goal line for a 37-20 lead. The play was set up by Smith's 32-yard scramble.
McGloin, 18 of 31 for 245 yards, connected with Mychal Rivera on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:24 remaining.
"We're out of lifelines," Jets guard Willie Colon said. "We have to execute and have to get it done, and today was the first step."
NOTES: With 2,475 yards passing, Smith passed Mark Sanchez (2,444 in 2009) for the most by a rookie in franchise history. ... Raiders coach Dennis Allen said TE Nick Kasa and DT Vance Walker suffered concussions, and LB Sio Moore had a neck injury, but he returned.
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