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Jets beat Browns in opener but lose Antonio Cromartie to knee injury

Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets

Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets is tended to by team personal after an injury against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of a game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Todd Bowles Era began with a victory.

It wasn't pretty to start, but in the end the Jets proved they were the far better team on Sunday, besting Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns, 31-10, in their season opener.

Chris Ivory bullied his way through the Browns' defense for two touchdowns, while Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall each added TDs.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 15-for-24 for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

But the Jets' defense, which produced five turnovers, took a big hit in the process of securing the win.

Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie had to be carted off the field with a non-contact knee injury in the second quarter. Even scarier, rookie outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was carted off the field with head and neck injuries in the fourth quarter. The third-round pick was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The extent of Mauldin's injury is unclear, but Cromartie's knee injury could be crucial for the Jets' revamped secondary. First-year general manager Mike Maccagnan spent $127 million in the first three days of free agency to rebuild the weak link of the defense, signing Cromartie, star corner Darrelle Revis and former Brown Buster Skrine. But now, Maccagnan and Bowles may have to plan for life without Cromartie.

The Browns also had to deal with a key injury. Their starting quarterback, Josh McCown, was knocked out of the game with a concussion late in the first quarter as he tried to scramble toward the end zone. The veteran quarterback fumbled after a hard, low hit by Jets safety Calvin Pryor and then McCown was sent flying on a midair hit by linebacker Demario Davis.

McCown did not return to the game and was replaced by Manziel, who was 13 of 24 for 182 yards, one touchdown, one interception and two fumbles.

The Jets (1-0) were already down one cornerback to start the game as second-year defensive back Dexter McDougle was inactive. Marcus Williams, who replaced Cromartie, picked off Manziel.


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