Washington Football

Jets stay in playoff hunt with 17-10 win over Jags

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Jets stay in playoff hunt with 17-10 win over Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jets guard Brandon Moore gathered his fellow offensive linemen in the visiting locker room and delivered a not-so-subtle halftime message.

``He told us, `Guys, however you think you played in that first half, we've got to amp it up because we're not getting it done,''' right tackle Austin Howard said. ``'What we've done so far has gotten us zero points. So we've got to come together and get the offense rolling.'''

The line responded as well as Moore could have envisioned.

The New York Jets pounded Jacksonville on the ground Sunday, grinding out 116 yards and two touchdowns after the break and pulling out a 17-10 victory that improved the team's postseason chances.

Shonn Greene ran for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Bilal Powell added 78 yards and a score.

``Both those guys found holes because there were holes to be found,'' Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said. ``It was fun to watch.''

New York's second straight win - third in four games - combined with losses by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati left coach Rex Ryan's team a game out of the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture.

And the Jets (6-7) have a favorable closing stretch that includes games against Tennessee (4-9), San Diego (5-8) and Buffalo (5-8).

If they keep playing as they did in the second half against Jacksonville, they should have a chance to win them all.

The Jets were shut out in the opening half for the second consecutive week, but they didn't need to change quarterbacks to spark the offense this time around.

Instead, they just hammered the Jaguars (2-11) up the middle.

Greene scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, and Powell added a 4-yarder early in the fourth. Powell's score made it 17-3 in a game that looked every bit like one featuring two of the NFL's worst offenses.

Sanchez, benched last week in a 7-6 win against Arizona, was hardly a factor. Neither was backup Tim Tebow, who spent his homecoming on the sideline.

Although the Jaguars turned Sanchez's first-half fumble into a field goal, he ended up having a decent day. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards, including a 37-yard completion on third down that helped the Jets milk the clock in the closing minutes.

``I tried to put extra emphasis on being smart with the ball,'' Sanchez said. ``I thought it was a good, efficient day for all of us.''

Tebow, who sat out the last two games while recovering from two broken ribs, was healthy enough to serve as New York's backup quarterback in his hometown. But he stayed on the bench.

``I never felt comfortable enough to go with him in the wildcat,'' Ryan said.

The Jets ran it just fine without him, finishing with 166 yards on 42 carries. They had 116 yards in the second half.

``Coming into this game, we felt like the Jets were going to run the ball,'' Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. ``We didn't feel like they could beat us throwing the ball and then they rush for over a 100 yards. You have to give them credit. They were the more physical group, and that decided the game.''

The Jaguars were inept on offense most of the day.

Montell Owens ran for 91 yards, including a 32-yard score in the fourth that seemed to catch the Jets by surprise on a second-and-17 play.

But Jacksonville mustered little else.

Chad Henne had a pass tipped and intercepted near the goal line. Rookie receiver Kevin Elliott, starting in place of Cecil Shorts III, dropped two balls and was flagged for illegal touching on a key play with about a minute left. Guard Eben Britton was manhandled inside, giving up three sacks.

Josh Scobee missed a 55-yard field goal attempt wide left to close out the first half. And the Jaguars just missed blocking two punts.

Especially gut-wrenching for Jacksonville was Dwight Lowery's touchdown return that was overturned in the second quarter.

Lowery picked up Jeremy Kerley's fumble and took it 62 yards for an apparent score that would have given Jacksonville a 10-0 lead. But officials reviewed the play and ruled that Kerley had touched Lowery down. The Jaguars punted five plays later.

``We need things like that to happen for our team to help us win and help us with momentum,'' Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. ``We're coming up short with them in one way or another.''

NOTES: Jets rookie WR Stephen Hill injured his right knee in the second quarter and did not return. Ryan said tests would determine the extent of the injury. The Jets already have WR Santonio Holmes on injured reserve. ... Owens' rushing touchdown was his first since December 2008. ... Owens, CB Derek Cox and TE Marcedes Lewis all left the game for Jacksonville, but later returned.

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Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player should we be talking more about?

Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player should we be talking more about?

As training camp continues to build, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will answer burning questions related to the Washington Football Team.

Up next: Which player should we be talking more about as the season nears?

JP's pick: Landon Collins

This might seem odd, but one of Washington’s most expensive players is flying under the radar during the transition to the Ron Rivera era. 

That would be Landon Collins. 

An All Pro in 2016 with the Giants, Washington signed him to a long-term deal last year that included $45 million guaranteed. He was good last season, but not great, and he’s being paid to be great. 

When Rivera or Jack Del Rio get questions about their defense this fall, most center around a stocked defensive front or questions about cornerback depth. 

To break through and be a dominant defensive unit, Washington needs more out of Collins, too.

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Pete's pick: Montez Sweat

Thanks to being drafted alongside a prolific college quarterback, Montez Sweat was overlooked heading into his debut season. Now, because of Chase Young's presence, he's similarly sneaking into Year 2.

That doesn't lessen his importance to the defense, however.

For Washington's unit to be as ferocious as many hope it will be, all three of their pass rushers — Young, Ryan Kerrigan and Sweat — need to do damage.

Despite not having taken an NFL snap yet, it's almost expected that Young will feast right away. Kerrigan, meanwhile, is aging and coming off of his first experience with injuries as a pro, but his track record speaks for itself. Sweat is the one who feels like the X-factor in that trio.

He's very quiet, he's amongst the organization's deepest position and he's got a ways to go before justifying his 2019 draft position. But Sweat came on in the second half of the schedule as a rookie and if he keeps that up, he'll start drawing more attention  — both from fans and opponents.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo says he has no problem with Moe Wagner after headbutt

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he has no problem with Moe Wagner after headbutt

Despite seeking him out after the whistle and headbutting him with force to earn an ejection from Tuesday night's game, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo says he has no problem with Wizards big man Moe Wagner. He explained the move as general frustration boiling over.

"I don’t have nothing against Wagner, it wasn’t just him. It was just, like, in my mind all these games I’ve played guys hitting me so I lost it for a second," Antetokounmpo told reporters. 

He went on to express regret over the incident, which is certain to result in a fine and possibly a suspension. His explanation, though, runs a bit counter to how the Wizards saw it all.

Wagner was not made available to the media, but his teammates weighed in and all seemed to believe it stemmed from something that happened between them earlier this season.

"They have something in the past, I don't even know," Rui Hachimura said.

"That was just some blood from back then," Ish Smith said. 

They seemed to be referencing the Feb. 24 meeting between the teams when Antetokounmpo fouled out in only 25 minutes, and with some help from Wagner. That night, Wagner gave a quote that could also have been said after this game: "He’s a really good player. I want him out of the game, obviously."

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On Tuesday, Antetokounmpo again exited early against the Wizards, and again the Bucks held on for the win, just like they did in February. Still, him leaving gave the Wizards a bit of a break. 

The reigning MVP had been dominating with 12 points and nine rebounds in 10 minutes.

"I'm not saying he's a dirty player, but he's good at those little things," Hachimura said of Wagner. "Giannis was actually out for the game. It was really big [for] us. He changed the whole game, actually. Moe's a great guy."

RELATED: GIANNIS EJECTED FOR HEADBUTTING MOE WAGNER

Wagner has a tendency to get under the skin of his opponents. He has had run-ins with other big men, most notably Joel Embiid.

He did his part, but the Bucks still had enough to beat the Wizards. Now the question is whether it was a pyrrhic victory with a potential suspension for Antetokounmpo coming next.

"There's no place for that. It's unfortunate," head coach Scott Brooks said. "It's unfortunate that it happened. I'm sure the league is going to look at it and make a decision. Fortunately for [the Bucks], it's not a playoff game [up next]. I'm sure he's probably going to miss a couple of games."

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