EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trap game? Who said anything about a trap game?
The New York Jets insisted last week that there was no reason to be concerned about a letdown against the inferior Tennessee Titans, and they were right. The Jets dominated from the outset Sunday and enjoyed a rare laugher, winning 30-8 on a balmy day at MetLife Stadium. As a result, the Jets have their first three-game winning streak since December 2011. Crazy, huh?
The Jets (8-5) showed their maturity, demonstrating the sense of urgency you need to make a serious playoff push. This was utter domination, as they outgained the Titans 439-292 and recorded five sacks against rookie Marcus Mariota. This was such a blowout that Todd Bowles, the Jets' stoic coach, managed a smile late in the second quarter. The Jets scored on a 69-yard touchdown reception by Brandon Marshall because the Titans quite literally forgot to cover him at the line of scrimmage.
It was that kind of day for the Jets, who received big performances from Ryan Fitzpatrick (three touchdown passes), running back Chris Ivory (101 rushing yards) and Muhammad Wilkerson (the first three-sack game of his career).
The Jets have the ingredients for a playoff run. They have a hot quarterback; Fitzpatrick has nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in the past three games. He has 25 touchdowns on the season, a new career high and four shy of Vinny Testaverde's team record.
They also have a hot defense, which played its best game in weeks. The leader was Wilkerson, who has a career-high 12 sacks -- the most by a Jet since Shaun Ellis (12.5) in 2003. The Jets have the look of a team peaking at right time.
What it means: The Jets have doubled their win total from last season. More important, they remain in prime position for an AFC wild card.
One reason to get excited: With Darrelle Revis (concussion) back in the lineup, the secondary was in lockdown mode. The Jets smothered the Titans' pedestrian group of wide receivers, allowing only eight completions to wideouts. The No. 1 objective was to neutralize tight end Delanie Walker (seven catches for 71 yards), and they did. The Jets' tight end coverage, awful last season, has improved dramatically. Without his security blanket, Mariota looked confused, holding the ball too long. He didn't look like a franchise quarterback, but it's tough to carry an offense with a weak supporting cast. The Jets' secondary is healthy for the first time in two months; that will be huge down the homestretch.
Another reason to get excited: For a change, the Jets' special teams didn't stink. In fact, their kickoff coverage was outstanding. They controlled the game from a field-position standpoint, in part, because of the special teams. Baby steps, right?
One reason to panic: It's time to devote extra practice time to defending the Wildcat. The Jets got burned again, this time in a big way. Titans running back Antonio Andrews took a direct snap and threw a 41-yard touchdown to Mariota, who was wide-open because safety Calvin Pryor fell down in coverage. The Titans must have gone to school in their tape study, recognizing the Jets struggled against the Wildcat against the Houston Texans on Nov. 22.
Fantasy watch: It was a monster day for Fitzpatrick, who passed for 263 yards and the three touchdowns. He spread the ball around, throwing touchdowns to Marshall, Eric Decker and Bilal Powell, who scored for the second straight week -- the first two receiving touchdowns of his career.
Ouch: Wide receiver Devin Smith was carted off in the third quarter with a potentially serious right-knee injury. Smith, injured while covering a punt, was in significant pain. This has been a nightmarish rookie season for Smith, who has been plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness. Punt returner Jeremy Kerley (calf) was in and out but was unable to finish for the second week in a row.
What's next: The Jets hit the road to face the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.