For the second time this season, a young quarterback beat the Falcons on the final drive.
Miami’s Ryan Tannehill did it two weeks ago but he was at home and he’s a first-round draft pick with a year of experience. Monday at the Georgia Dome, however, it was Geno Smith doing it—and he’s a second-round pick playing only because Mark Sanchez is injured.
The Jets defeated the Falcons 30-28 on Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal as time expired. Smith completed 5 of 5 passes for 45 yards on the eight-play, 55-yard drive that took just 1:54.
“You can’t put nothing past any quarterback in the NFL,” Falcons safety William Moore said. “He’s starting for a reason. He’s a good quarterback. You’ve just got to give ‘props’ to how he stepped up today.”
The final drive was indicative of what Smith had done to the Falcons all game. He finished 16 for 20 for 199 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 147.7 QB rating.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Smith is the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to total three touchdowns with no interceptions and an 80 percent completion rate on the road. That’s after Smith had four turnovers in a Jets loss at Tennessee last week to bring his season total to 11.
The Falcons sacked Smith four times, including one vicious hit by Osi Umenyiora, but he held held on to the ball. Smith was accurate with his throws when the Falcons didn’t pressure him and bought time running when necessary.
The Falcons didn’t help their cause on the final drive with a handful of missed tackles on Smith’s short passes to his wide receivers.
“I think it was a couple missed tackles that last drive, which is crucial for us,” Falcons linebacker Joplu Bartu said. “Got to get them down and get that clock ticking.”
Moore and Joplu said the Falcons had some communication issues when the Jets started running their plays more quickly.
“The hurry-up offense is complicated to stop in the NFL because you have to find personnel, you have to identify down and distance, everything,” Moore said. “Especially when it’s the end of the game and you are trying to hold them down.”