EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets made a strong statement to themselves – and maybe the rest of the NFL – with a big bounce-back second half.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and the Jets overcame a sluggish start to beat banged-up Washington 34-20 on Sunday.

“Every win’s not going to be pretty,” Coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re going to make some mistakes, but how we come back from it and how we grow as a team moving forward is what’s going to make us a decent team.”

The even-keeled Bowles’ way is to downplay success, but the Jets looked every bit like a playoff contender for the final two quarters. They’ll get their biggest test yet next Sunday at AFC East-rival New England.

“If you want to be a great team,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said, “you’ve got to be able to punch through adversity.”

Chris Ivory ran for 146 yards and a TD on 20 carries for the Jets, who improved to 4-1 for the first time since the 2010 team opened 5-1. Marshall had seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, and Eric Decker also caught a TD pass.

The Jets, coming off a bye week, trailed 13-10 at halftime, with Washington (2-4) scoring off two fumble recoveries and an interception by Bashaud Breeland.

But New York opened the second half with 24 straight points.

“We’re not perfect yet and we’ve got a long way to go,” Marshall said.