ARLINGTON, Texas -- FitzMagic lives.
For the second time in three weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick rallied the New York Jets to a fourth-quarter comeback, orchestrating a last-minute drive to lift them to a 19-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in a thrilling Saturday night game at AT&T Stadium. Randy Bullock, atoning for a missed extra point and a missed field goal try, won it with a 40-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Maybe the Jets are a destiny team.
After a sloppy game, Fitzpatrick delivered in the clutch, leading an eight-play, 58-yard drive to set up Bullock's winner. The big play was a 43-yard strike to Kenbrell Thompkins, a seldom-used backup who was thrust into a prominent role because of injuries at the wide receiver position.
Fitzpatrick led the Jets to 10 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-9 deficit. For fleeting moments, it looked as if they were going to lose to a fourth-string quarterback, Kellen Moore, who replaced the ineffective Matt Cassel. Quite frankly, the Jets' defense allowed too many plays. But it was bailed out by FitzMagic.
This was all about mental toughness. There's no way the Jets would have won this game earlier in the season, but Todd Bowles' team showed its mettle.
What it means: You can't call them losers anymore.
After four years of bad to mediocre football, the Jets secured their first winning season since 2010. It was a 60-minute struggle for the Jets, but they won their fourth straight, improved to 9-5 and stayed in the AFC wild-card hunt.
One reason to get excited: Fitzpatrick completed 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His two biggest throws were to backups, Thompkins and Quincy Enunwa, who made a third-and-14 conversion that set up a touchdown. The Jets have quality depth at receiver.
A reason to panic: This was yet another disastrous performance by the special teams, which cost the Jets four points. Bullock missed a PAT (the Jets' first miss in 289 attempts, including the postseason), and he was wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt. Actually, he was successful from 40 yards, but it didn't count because of a penalty on Leger Douzable. The re-kick was ... well, you know. It's hard to win high-stakes football games when you're giving away points in the kicking game.
Another reason to panic: The Jets' top-ranked run defense allowed 133 yards, including 66 yards on two runs. One came on a reverse, continuing a recent trend: The Jets are suckers for gadget plays. Darren McFadden was tough at the point of attack, gashing the Jets for 100 yards on the ground. Obviously, the Jets missed linebacker David Harris, who went out with a back injury in the first quarter. Nevertheless, they should have been able to stifle the Dallas rushing attack, especially with no threat at quarterback.
What were they thinking? A Bowles blitz backfired at the worst possible time. He threw the kitchen sink at Moore on a first-and-10 from the Jets' 10, but the neophyte quarterback didn't panic. He threw a quick pass to Dez Bryant in the left flat. It was Bryant versus Darrelle Revis -- two of the best players in the league -- in the open field. Revis took a bad angle, allowing Bryant to blow past him for a touchdown. Revis usually is a dependable tackler, but he whiffed in a big way. On the previous play, Antonio Cromartie failed to wrap up a ball carrier.
Fantasy watch: Bilal Powell scored for the third straight week, this time on a 10-yard run for his first rushing touchdown of the season. He also added seven catches for 54 yards. Eric Decker scored his 10th touchdown, giving him and Brandon Marshall a combined 21 touchdowns -- the most by a Jets tandem.
Game ball: Fitzpatrick. Who else?
Ouch: The Harris injury was a killer. Only a few days ago, Bowles said the defense couldn't function without Harris. It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He was replaced by Erin Henderson. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was evaluated for a head injury in the third quarter, but he returned.
What's next: The Jets return home to face the New England Patriots (11-2) with the hope of splitting the season series.