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Published September 12, 2015
Rex Ryan stuck with Geno Smith, even when it appeared the New York Jets might have needed a change at quarterback.
Smith got the message when he was benched last Sunday, and made his coach look good by delivering his best performance in weeks.
The rookie quarterback threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Jets' suddenly resurgent offense set a season high for points and stopped a three-game skid with a 37-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
"I think the difference was just eliminating the indecision in my game," Smith said. "A lot of things are happening to me for the first time. That's not to make an excuse, but sometimes I second-guess myself and that always hurts, especially a quarterback.
"You've just got to play with a bunch of feel and know what you're doing."
Smith certainly showed that against the Raiders, leading the offense to its best scoring day of the season.
He finished 16 of 25 for 219 yards, and ran five times for 50 yards — and was able to overcome his 20th interception of the season, which led to a field goal for the Raiders.
Chris Ivory had a touchdown run, Nick Folk kicked three field goals and Antonio Allen blocked a punt and returned it for a score to help the Jets (6-7) avoid their first four-game losing streak under Ryan.
"Man, we needed that in the worst way," Ryan said, "to say the least."
Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes and fullback Marcel Reece, starting because Oakland was down three injured running backs, had a 63-yard touchdown run for the Raiders (4-9).
"Today is as bad as we played this whole season," Raiders safety Charles Woodson said. "It was really embarrassing to be part of it. We looked like the Bad News Bears out there."
Here are five things to know from the Jets' victory over the Raiders:
GOOD GENO: Smith tempered the increasing calls for him to hit the sideline, for a week at least.
The rookie misfired a few times, but was able to make plays with his arm and legs as offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg opened things up a bit for him. He had an 8-yard touchdown run, and got his first TD pass since Oct. 20 against New England and his second in eight games.
Despite the early interception, Smith maintained his confidence after his teammates urged him to keep his head up.
"That's the mark of this young man," Ryan said. "He's a resilient guy and has shown he can bounce back. It was an excellent performance on his part, and really, the team in general."
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Jets had scored 20 points in their last three games. Combined.
So, seeing Smith and the offense march up and down the field was a bit of a stunner. It certainly helped that Jeremy Kerley returned to the lineup after dislocating his left elbow on Nov. 3. He had four catches for 41 yards, including a leaping 25-yard touchdown. The game also marked the first time the Jets had Kerley, Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow Jr. on the field together since Week 4.
EAST COAST WOES: Oakland, on a three-game skid, has dropped 13 in a row in games played in the Eastern time zone.
The Raiders, who last won one of those games in December 2009 at Pittsburgh, has been outscored 414-225 in such situations. They came close in their previous two visits this year while losing 21-17 in the season opener at Indianapolis and 24-20 to the Giants last month.
"Really, I don't think it was an issue with the travel," coach Dennis Allen said. "We were out here a couple of weeks ago and we were able to start fast. We just didn't do it in this game."
RUNNIN' REECE: With Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart all inactive with injuries, the Raiders turned to their fullback to carry the load.
Reece responded with a career high in yards and carries, ripping off an impressive touchdown sprint in which he outran Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The Jets came in ranked No. 1 against the run, but Reece put up the best day against them this season.
REED TASTES VICTORY: Jets safety Ed Reed went seven games without a win while with Houston, and finally played in his first win of the season in his fourth game with New York.
Reed also had his 62nd career interception and first with the Jets to help set up a field goal. His role was a bit reduced from previous weeks, coming off the field at times for Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org