Sheldon Richardson doesn’t mind if Cincinnati, Denver and New England continue to dominate the AFC playoff discussion. “Let them keep talking about them — until they play us,” the Jets defensive tackle said.
On Sunday, the Jets dominated the Titans, 30-8, for their first three-game winning streak since 2011. More importantly, the runaway victory improved their playoff chances, and that’s all that matters in December.
“When you have a great team, this is the time you usually click — in November, December and going into the postseason,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis, who returned after missing two games because of a concussion. “Today was an example of that, playing a complete game. You could see it out on the field. We were focused, we were locked in and we’ve got to continue to stay locked in throughout the rest of the season.”
The Jets (8-5) are among several teams in a tight race for two wild-card spots, but San Diego and Cincinnati did them no favors. The Chiefs and Steelers remain tied with the Jets after defeating the Chargers and Bengals, respectively. But the Jets weren’t focused on other AFC teams, just on what they must do next.
“Now it’s on to Dallas,” said Muhammad Wilkerson, who sacked rookie Marcus Mariota three times to give him a career-high 12, the most by a Jet since Shaun Ellis’ 12 1⁄2 in 2003.
It was a full-on drubbing, complete with three touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick, including a 69-yarder to Brandon Marshall in the second quarter that made it 27-0.
Fitzpatrick, who played for the Titans in 2013, completed 21 of 36 passes for 263 yards. His 25 TD passes are four shy of Vinny Testaverde’s franchise record. The 11-year veteran has nine TD passes and zero interceptions in this three-game stretch.
“Wow, I didn’t even know that,” Marshall said. “This guy just works hard. He’s had an interesting career and he deserves it. So we just want to continue to rally around him and let him lead us.”
Marshall, who was left wide open on his TD catch because of headset malfunctions on the Tennessee sideline, made six catches for 125 yards and the TD. Eric Decker (seven catches, 74 yards) and Bilal Powell each caught a 16-yard TD pass. Chris Ivory also had a big day, gaining 101 yards on 22 carries to give him a career-high 914 yards.
The defense had its way with Mariota (21-for-39, 274 yards), sacking him five times. Cornerback Buster Skrine notched his first interception as a Jet and rookie Leonard Williams and linebacker Demario Davis each had a sack.
Todd Bowles said, “Starting fast was big for us today,” but he stopped short of calling it a complete game. “I think it was the most complete half that we’ve played to this point,” he said.
The Titans (3-10) averted a shutout when Mariota caught a 41-yard Wildcat TD pass from running back Antonio Andrews, a former high school quarterback, and passed for the two-point conversion to make it 27-8.
“We still have some things to clean up,” Bowles said, adding that he doesn’t think his team has “peaked yet.”
“We just have to continue to get better,’’ he said. “We have had two good weeks in a row, probably three, but we’re playing more complete football as the weeks go on.”
The Jets may be a work in progress, but they’re jelling at just the right time.
“We got after them,” Richardson said. “We executed on all cylinders of the game, all phases. We did our thing today. I’m glad we’re getting hot late. We’ve just got to keep it going. We know what’s at stake. On to Dallas.”