EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In previous seasons, New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick might have feared the worst when he made a low throw.
Then again, he did not have the caliber of players like wide receiver Brandon Marshall in his prior stops.
Marshall not only caught Fitzpatrick's low pass, but turned it into a highlight-reel 35-yard touchdown reception with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter as the New York Jets overcame a sluggish first half to pull away from the Washington Redskins 34-20 on Sunday.
"I've thrown so many of those where I'm kind of getting hit as I release them in my career and they get picked," Fitzpatrick said. "So I was thinking 'oh boy here we go'. How he caught it I don't know and then how he turned it into a touchdown I really don't know. That's one of those I'm very thankful Brandon is my teammate and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to throw to him."
Marshall finished with seven catches and 111 yards for his fourth 100th-yard game of the season. His pivotal play came with about six minutes left in the third quarter on a second-and-four play with the Jets holding a 20-13 lead. Marshall snatched Fitzpatrick's low throw just above his cleats, spun around cornerback Bashaud Breeland and easily raced in for the score.
"He just threw up to me and I made a play," Marshall said. "I was able to put our team in a good position."
"That was a nice play by him," Jets wide receiver Eric Decker added. "That was a big play in a critical situation. That's what he does. That's why he's so fun to watch because he makes those acrobatic big plays like that one."
Fitzpatrick finished 19 of 26 for 253 yards and preceded Marshall's touchdown with a highlight of his own when he raced 18-yards for score with 10:02 remaining. Fitzpatrick's scramble gave the Jets a 20-13 lead and came one play after cornerback Darrelle Revis intercepted Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The plays by Revis, Fitzpatrick and Marshall came after the Jets allowed the Redskins to hang around by committing three turnovers leading to 13 points.
"Obviously we're happy about our performance in the second half, but the thing I love about our team is when it's not the way we want it, guys are not satisfied," Marshall said. "We're not satisfied. We made a lot of mistakes, especially on the offensive side."
Marshall was responsible for a fumble and an interception by Breeland when a pass tipped out of his hands. Decker fumbled on the Jets' first play of the game but atoned with 35-yard catch which set up running back Chris Ivory's one-yard score in the first quarter and then added a two-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Nick Folk added field goals of 35 and 39 yards as the Jets improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2010 and finished with 474 total yards. Nearly half came on the ground as Ivory carried 20 times for 146 yards.
Cousins was 25-for-43 for 196 yards. He was 9-for-20 in the second half and Washington's ground game was held to 34 yards.
"We had no running game whatsoever but Kirk is not at the stage or is anyone on our team where they can carry us," said Washington coach Jay Gruden, who described next week's game against Tampa Bay as a "code red".
Besides the sub-par second half, Cousins was unable to convert on fourth-and-two with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth and the Redskins were held to 34 yards on the ground.
Washington scored its final points when wide receiver Rashad Ross recovered a blocked punt in the end zone with 4:04 remaining in the fourth. The Redskins attempted an onside kick but linebacker Mason Foster was unable to recover and the Jets tight end Kellen Davis recovered. Washington was then penalized for running into punter Ryan Quigley with 2:51 remaining on fourth-and-five and was unable to stop the clock.
"Second half, we laid an egg," Gruden said. "A big egg."
Washington took a 7-0 lead with 9:29 remaining on a two-yard touchdown by wide receiver Pierre Garcon after Decker fumbled at New York's 36-yard line. After Ivory's one-yard run with 3:28 left in the first tied it, Marshall was stripped by Breeland and the Redskins took a 10-7 lead on a career-high 54-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with 2:17 remaining in the first half.
Following Folk's first field goal, Hopkins added a 30-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half, set up by Breeland's 26-yard interception return.
NOTES: New York G Willie Colon returned after missing the team's win over Miami with a sprained MCL in his knee. Also active for the Jets was RB Bilal Powell, who was listed as a game-time decision with a groin injury but he sprained his ankle in the first half. New York CB Buster Skrine sustained a concussion after getting hurt late in the first half. ... Before allowing WR Ryan Grant to gain six yards on a third-and-five in the first quarter, New York had not allowed opponents to convert its previous 19 third downs. ... The Redskins lost for the third time in 11 meetings with the Jets and Sunday was their first road loss to New York.
Team Stats Summary
- N.Y. Jets will play their next game on the road against New England. The Jets have a W/L % of .750 after a win and 1.000 after a loss.
- Washington will play their next game at home against Tampa Bay. The Redskins have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .500 after a loss.