ATLANTA (AP) — Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes and New York's defense came up with a couple of big plays, helping the Jets to a 20-14 lead against the Atlanta Falcons through three quarters on Monday night.
The Jets made a dramatic goal-line stand in the final seconds of the first half, and then forced a turnover to set up Nick Folk's 36-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson stripped the ball from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on a pass rush. Leger Douzable recovered for the Jets at the Atlanta 27. Folk then connected for his second field goal to increase New York's lead.
Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a 4-yard run midway through the third quarter for Atlanta.
The Falcons' 50-yard scoring drive included four passes to tight end Tony Gonzalez. Rodgers cut through the line and ran left for the TD.
A hot first half for Smith put the Falcons in a 17-7 hole at the break.
Smith, who shared the NFL lead with 11 turnovers through four weeks, put together a strong start in search of his first road win in his rookie season. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 151 yards through three quarters.
With Atlanta leading 7-3 early in the second quarter, Smith threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland over cornerback Asante Samuel.
Sheldon Richardson's third-down sack of Ryan set up New York's second touchdown drive of the quarter. Cumberland again beat Samuel for a 47-yard reception to the Falcons 16. On the next play, Smith passed to Jeremy Kerley, who scored as Robert McClain missed a tackle.
The Falcons were stopped on two plays from the Jets 1 as the half ended. On fourth-and-1, Ryan's pass for Gonzalez was incomplete, but linebacker Demario Davis was called for pass interference.
The penalty gave Atlanta a first down at the 1 with only 1 second remaining. Rodgers was stopped near the goal line to end the half.
Ryan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Snelling on the second play of the second quarter to give the Falcons a 7-3 lead.
The big play of the drive was an improbable 47-yard gain when the Falcons retained possession following a fumble by Roddy White.
Ryan passed to White over the middle for a gain of 18 yards, but he fumbled at the Jets 48 when hit by Josh Bush. New York's Dawan Landry had a chance at the fumble recovery, but instead Atlanta receiver Julio Jones picked up the ball at the 37 and ran to the Jets 19.
A review confirmed White had possession and had turned up field before losing the ball.
The Falcons scored when Ryan tricked the Jets' defense with a shovel pass to Snelling on third down.
The Jets had a quick response, moving 67 yards on seven plays for a go-ahead touchdown.
The Falcons moved past the 50 on their first drive before being forced to punt. Antonio Allen blocked Matt Bosher's punt, allowing the Jets to take possession at the Falcons 44.
Smith completed third-down passes to David Nelson and Cumberland before Nelson was stopped on a third-down pass at the 4. On fourth-and-1, the Jets left their offense on the field before reconsidering. Following a timeout, Folk's 22-yard field goal gave the Jets a 3-0 lead.
Gonzalez caught a 6-yard pass on Atlanta's opening drive, giving him a reception in 200 straight games. Jerry Rice, who had catches in 274 consecutive games, is the only other player to post 200 straight games with at least one catch.
Former Falcons running back Gerald Riggs was honored at halftime for being named to the team's Ring of Honor.