Coming into the 2013 NFL season I would have bet the house on three things. The Broncos would dominate the regular season, the Jaguars would be terrible, and Jets head coach Rex Ryan would be fired by season's end.
Well I guess there really is no such thing as a sure thing.
To me, the Jets upset victory against the Falcons Monday night, secured Ryan as Gang Green's head coach for years to come. At very least it bought him a much longer leash.
The Jets beat Matt Ryan and company in Atlanta, which is only the sixth time the Falcons have lost at home (With Ryan at QB) since 2008. Plus at 1-2 coming into the game (and the Saints at 5-0), Atlanta could not have been more desperate for a win.
How did the Jets pull it off?
Coach Ryan's defensive-minded philosophy prevailed on a national stage. Year after year the Jets draft defensive lineman, and last night Muhammad Wilkerson (3rd year) and Sheldon Richardson (Rookie) dominated the Falcons' offensive line. The duo combined for two sacks, four tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
Plus, Ryan clearly coached this team up this week. New York did not turn the ball over and cut penalties down by nearly half (10 in week four, six in week five).
If last night's game is a sign of things to come for New York, than the future is bright for Ryan and the Jets. That's mostly a result of quarterback Geno Smith's performance on Monday Night Football.
Geno Smith vs Falcons (10/6): 16-for-20, 199 yards, 3 TD's (147.7 QB Rating)
Unlike Mark Sanchez's glory days under Ryan, Smith was no game-manager. The rookie was poised and accurate, and took shots at the porous Falcons "D."
It all seemed to come together on the Jets' final drive.
With Gang Green down one, and under two minutes to play, Geno calmly led the Jets on an eight-play 55-yard drive capped off by a Nick Folk 43-yard game winning field goal. On the drive, Smith was a perfect 4-for-4 hitting four different receivers for 38 yards, and even scrambled for a first down.
Geno isn't there yet, but his development is starting to show. That bodes well for coach Ryan. As we've seen in the past a coach on the hot seat can be saved by his quarterback.
Think about it. Would Bill Belichick still be in New England without Tom Brady? What about Pete Carroll? Would he still be head coach of the Seahawks without the emergence of Russell Wilson?
Rex Ryan might be the best fit for the J-E-T-S after all.