First, the 2017 New York Jets were dragged through the tank mud. Now, at 3-2, folks are claiming they haven’t beaten anybody worthwhile.
The turning point, even during a horrid football game, can oftentimes smack you in the face. New York Jets and Cleveland Browns fans everywhere can pinpoint the exact turning point from Sunday’s 17-14 contest that ended in a victory for the road team.
It was early in the fourth quarter, 13:03 early. Browns head coach Hugh Jackson elected to call a timeout on a critical 4th-and-2 situation from the Jets 4-yard line.
He called the timeout to put his “coming on strong” offense led by replacement Kevin Hogan back on the field in the attempt to gain a first down. This, over kicking a chip-shot 3-pointer that would have knotted the game at 10 apiece.
The call was Isiah Crowell to the right side. Even we were confused as to what just transpired.
Does Hugh Jackson think this is 1934? Running the ball on 4th-and-2 in that spot? Just terrible. #Jets
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 8, 2017
Despite a struggling Jets run defense who took a step back in Week 5, this one was rough.
After Josh McCown led his team on a 93-yard drive that cemented the game via a Jermaine Kearse wheel route (fake WR screen), the questions about the Browns validity in wanting to win the game surfaced. This was the third time Cleveland was in the red zone only to come away with no points.
You make fun of the Browns all you’d like. The franchise is hapless — a laughingstock of epic proportions. What you can’t do is question the team’s will to win a football game.
The Jets won a game on Sunday while taking a step back against an atrocious team.
This doesn’t mean they haven’t played solid competition.
Now that the Jets have gotten over the hump in terms of “tanking,” a new narrative has surfaced — the one that deals with the Jets winning three games against horrible teams.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In Weeks 1 and 2, New York was outplayed badly by two solid teams, the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders (with Derek Carr). The two wins prior to Cleveland came against the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Miami Dolphins (2-2)
First came the Phins at home. Jay Cutler, the starting quarterback of the franchise, played in the game. Though he struggled mightily, he played. Rookie stud from a season ago Jay Ajayi also played and was shut down by an energized Jet front-seven led by young Darron Lee.
The Dolphins current record is 2-2. After the uncanny Week 1 BYE, Miami beat the Chargers, lost to the Jets, lost to the Saints and then in Week 5 while the Jets were coming away with their third straight victory, knocked off the tough Tennessee Titans by the final of 16-10.
Miami’s defense ranks seventh in total yards allowed per game (309.5), yet the Jets put up 20 on them in a convincing victory.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
This one’s tough. Forget the NFL fans in diapers. Most NFL fans have always related Jacksonville Jaguars football with mediocrity. Take away Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell and what do you have?
It’s not the case this season.
Entering Week 4, the Jags brought one of the nastiest defenses in the league into MetLife Stadium. They currently ranked first in sacks and boasted a top-five passing defense. After five weeks, the unit led by young Jalen Ramsey is third in the land in defending the pass and first in sacks with 20.
Their wins have come in authoritative fashion, 29-7 over the Houston Texans, 44-7 over the Baltimore Ravens, and 30-9 over the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday, a week after the Jets beat them.
When looking at the overall strength of schedule, Jets opponents boast a combined 10-14 record. Take out the Browns and the combined record is 10-9.
The club has played three games on the road and two at home. They’re 2-2 against a 10-9 schedule and 3-2 against a 10-14 schedule while playing some of the nastiest defense in the land (as we toss the Buffalo Bills in there as well).
If you want to continue that ignorant mocking and claim the team in green has beaten up on some bad squads, go for it. Nobody will stop you because they won’t think enough of you to put a sock in your mouth.
The Jets haven’t faced a brutal schedule (like we saw the first seven weeks of the 2016 campaign), but it’s been extremely formidable and the numbers back it up.
It’s time to finally give credit where credit’s due. Let’s finally give in and laud the 2017 New York Jets.