Smith leads Jets to stunning 18-17 win over Bucs

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm •  Published: September 8, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Geno Smith had 34 seconds on the clock and the confidence of a seasoned veteran.

With the game on the line for the New York Jets, the rookie quarterback insisted to teammates they could still win. He was right.

Nick Folk kicked a 48-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining after Lavonte David's personal foul on Smith following a big run gave him the chance. The Jets pulled out an improbable 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener Sunday.

"I just went out there," Smith said, "and told those guys it's never over."

Trailing 17-15, Smith scrambled for 10 yards and was shoved while he was out of bounds by David. The 15-yard penalty put the ball at the Buccaneers 30 and Folk won it.

"Man, oh man," coach Rex Ryan said. "We talk about a resilient group, and we certainly have it. We fought all the way to the end. One team, one fight, well, there it is.

"Holy cow. Man, I mean, we'll take it. There's no question."

The Jets jumped up and down on the field and on the sideline in exuberant celebration moments after things appeared dim for them. Rian Lindell had kicked a 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds left.

"If there's time on the clock, I expect us to go out there and execute," Smith said. "And that's what we did today."

From the Jets 20, Smith found Kellen Winslow deep down the middle for a 25-yard gain. Then, with the seconds ticking away, the Bucs got pressure on Smith, who rolled right and took off down the sideline. He ran out of bounds — and David inexplicably shoved Smith.

"I don't know what to say," David said. "They called a flag. I guess I hit him out of bounds. Everybody told to me to keep my head up. All the guys in here were very supportive."

Added Bucs coach Greg Schiano: "It was a good job by (Smith), walking the tightrope and getting hit. It's smart, a good play. Lavonte plays at a high speed and plays all out. Unfortunately, that got him that time."

It put the ball on the Bucs 30.

"You just kick it like an extra point," Folk said he was thinking. "Make it look like every other kick."

Smith, starting with Mark Sanchez out with a shoulder injury, had a fumble that led to a score and an interception, but was mostly solid. He went 24 of 38 for 256 yards with a touchdown to Winslow. Smith also led New York with 47 yards rushing.

"I love playing with a team like this because you don't have to go out there and try to be Superman," Smith said. "You just go out there and just play football, execute and be smart with the ball."