EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets may not have a long-term quarterback controversy, but they may have a quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Immediately following a 20-13 victory against the Steelers on Sunday, coach Rex Ryan announced that Michael Vick will start the Jets’ next game, Nov. 23 at the Buffalo Bills.
“He played great,” Ryan said of Vick. “I’m sticking with him. I thought he played extremely well, and we’ll just go that route.”
Vick completed 10 of 18 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 39 yards on eight carries. In doing so, became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 6,000 yards.
“The guy is a phenomenal athlete who can still run with any athlete in this league at that position,” Ryan said. “When plays break down, (scrambling) is not a bad option.”
Vick did not commit any turnovers — there was a disputed fumble prior to the two-minute warning in the first half, but a review upheld the ruling on the field — and led the Jets to 17 first-quarter points, which tied a season high set in the second quarter of their 43-23 loss to the Bills at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 26.
Vick stunned the Steelers with a 67-yard touchdown strike to T.J. Graham on the Jets’ second possession. The play, the longest of the season for the Jets, put them ahead 10-0.
“It [was] huge,” offensive lineman Willie Colon said. “We gave Mike enough time. He saw it, he hit it and that puts a damper on your opponent. When we’re able to have special plays like that, it gives us a chance to win.”
Even for a franchise whose history has been marked by bizarre sideshows, the week leading up to the Jets’ win Sunday afternoon was theatre of the absurd.
Frustrated by the team’s 1-8 record, a grassroots fan group rented billboards near MetLife Stadium to demand the ouster of second-year general manager John Idzik. Other fans had private planes equipped with banners calling for Idzik’s firing buzz the Jets’ practice facility Tuesday.
Hours before the game, a plane flew over MetLife Stadium with a banner that read: Jets Rebuilding Since 1969.
The Jets’ inactives were quarterback Matt Simms, wide receiver Walter Powell, cornerback Darrin Walls, linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali, offensive linemen Dakota Dozier and Wesley Johnson, and nose tackle T.J. Barnes. … The 17-point first quarter marked the sixth time in franchise history the Jets scored that many points in the opening quarter.
Denis Gorman is a freelance writer.