In their overtime win on Sunday, the New York Jets were able to outlast the Jaguars in a game that looked very familiar to Jets fans.
Throughout their history, the New York Jets have made their fans very nervous at times when unpredictable things happen.
In the fourth quarter with the Jets leading 20-10, the first of two of those moments occurred that created that all too familiar silence during a Jets home game.
After a 41-yard completion to Robby Anderson on third down, the Jets enjoyed a first and 10 inside the Jaguars 20. The Jets fans, excited over their play throughout the game and inspired by the completion were getting ready to celebrate the Jets officially putting the game away.
With just under 11 minutes remaining, it looked like the Jets were going to go up by at worst 13 points and at best 17. However, disaster ensued.
Josh McCown’s first down swing pass to Bilal Powell hit off his back. Since McCown threw the ball behind Powell, this created a fumble and live ball. Jaguars LB Myles Jack picked up the loose ball and took off for the Jets end zone more than 80 yards away.
— #Sacksonville (@Jaguars) October 1, 2017
When he finally reached the end zone, Jack had an 81-yard fumble recovery that turned an exciting, game-changing Jets moment into a shocking turn of events that tilted the momentum back in Jacksonville’s favor.
Then came that sound that has become very popular at Jets home games. That hush that develops when certain victory gets ripped away in an extraordinarily painful experience that creates total confusion among Jets fans.
At that moment this young team experienced the doubt and frustration that has labeled this franchise with the “Same Old Jets” moniker.
How would this team respond?
Josh McCown and the Jets responded with their running game that had carried them all day. Three Elijah McGuire runs netted them a first down. Another pass to McGuire carried the Jets past midfield. However, the drive stalled at the Jaguars 41.
Jacksonville got the ball back at their 20 with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. The “Same Old Jets” would have surely melted at this point. As Jets fans anxiously awaited their latest story of collapse, the Jets defense came up big, stopping the Jaguars on third and one.
McCown and the Jets now had their chance to run out the clock. On second and 10 the Jets recorded the first of three first downs that would be needed to seal the game. After two short runs and the Jaguars using two of their three timeouts, the Jets needed to convert a third and six.
That is when the second disaster of the fourth quarter ensued. At worst Jets fans were preparing for an incompletion that would stop the clock and force the Jets to punt the ball back to Jacksonville. However, when Bilal Powell slipped running his pass route, McCown’s pass flew right into the arms of Jaguars cornerback AJ Bouye.
If one destructive gut-wrenching game-changing moment wasn’t enough, the Jets had now rewarded their fans with another. The timing of these events always seems to coincide with the exact moments’ fans open themselves up to the prospects of victory.
Taking over at their 35, the Jaguars were a few yards from being in certain field goal range and alarmingly all too close to hammering in a game-winning TD to totally destroy another Sunday for Jets fans.
After consecutive runs from Leonard Fournette put the Jaguars at the Jets 23, well in field goal range, the hammer looked to come down. Fournette took a short pass from Bortles and rambled 23 yards for the go-ahead TD. The silence at MetLife Stadium was deafening.
For a few seconds, the memories of blown leads and heartbreaking losses all ran through the minds of Jets fans. The Dan Marino spike game in 1994. Eric Allen running 1,000 yards for a game-winning INT return in 1993. Losing to the Detroit Lions at home 10-7 to miss the 2000 playoffs. Matt Ryan leading the Falcons down the field and connecting on a game-winning TD to Tony Gonzalez after the Jets defense dominated the Falcons all day in 2009. All of those losses came back.
However, there was a flag. Holding on the Jaguars gave the Jets another chance to force overtime. Despite the reprieve, it could still mean that instead of giving the Jets almost two minutes to drive down the field and go-ahead, all this was doing was delaying the inevitable.
Facing first and goal at the five, the Jets defense was able to make a stand. They held the Jaguars out of the end zone and were destined for overtime when Jason Myers kicked a 22-yard field goal.
While most Jets fans were waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop in overtime, the defense saved them again, stopping the Jaguars near midfield twice.
Marqise Lee then rewarded Jets fans with his misplay of a punt to pin the Jaguars back at their goal line. When the Jets defense came up big again forcing a three and out, the Jets got the ball back in position to win the game.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 1, 2017
By that time all Jet fans were exhausted. After the ball soared through the uprights, Jets fans rejoiced while looking for flags, which there was one. Even for the brief second that victory was won, Jets fans still were waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, the penalty was against Jacksonville and the game was finally over.
Being a Jets fan can often feel like a generational curse. Memories of excruciating losses are always somewhere in the back of the mind of a long-time Jets fan because of what they have seen.
On Sunday this young Jets team showed their fans that for at least this game the term “Same Old Jets” did not apply. That lesson alone is an invaluable one for this team to learn. When it looked like the entire franchise of failure was upon them, they fought back and found a way to win.