The New York Jets need history to repeat itself as they head to Cleveland for a pivotal Thursday Night Football game against the Browns.
The New York Jets travel to Cleveland on Thursday night in a game that has fans on edge. After such a promising start in Week 1, the season will take on a new meaning if they lose to the Browns who enter not having won a game in their last 19 tries.
Despite their impressive start in Week 1, the Jets will find themselves in deep water if they come out flat on Thursday night. While physical mistakes are acceptable, mental mistakes should not be tolerated at this level. Inconsistent effort, lack of execution and very poor attention to detail should not be why you lose a football game.
Sam Darnold threw for over 330 yards against the Dolphins, but missed excellent opportunities to get the Jets back into the game in the second half. Their defense failed to execute when they needed to make a play and shot themselves in the foot with penalties.
As the Jets get ready to take on the Browns? Can they rebound and learn from their mistakes against the Dolphins or will they return to their old, losing ways?
The same old Jets would not miss this opportunity to humiliate themselves and their fans in primetime. This would make the Jets a laughing stock, while their fans would go back to hanging their heads in shame after such a promising start to the season.
However, a win on Thursday would go a long way to showing their beleaguered fan base that they have their back.
Playing the Browns for the fourth straight season
Thanks to both teams finishing in last place three of the last four seasons and the Jets playing the AFC North the season after finishing 10-6, this is the fourth straight season that these two teams will meet.
Despite the Browns winning just one of their last 37 games dating back to Dec. 20, 2015, the Jets have struggled against Cleveland in their last two meetings, winning by three points in each game. Like those previous two meetings, this game will also be played at Cleveland.
Last two meetings
Last season the Jets defeated Cleveland 17-14. However, the Browns handed this game to the Jets.
Three times Cleveland turned the ball over inside the Jets five-yard line. Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer fumbled and threw an interception ending two drives in the first half.
Trailing 10-7 early in the fourth quarter, the Browns were turned away again inside the five-yard line when Isaiah Crowell was stopped on fourth and two.
In 2016, the Jets used a 24-0 run in the second half to turn a 20-7 halftime deficit into a 31-20 lead. Cleveland scored a touchdown with 15 seconds left and converted a two-point conversion to cut the lead to three, but the Jets recovered the onside kick to end the game.
Harbinger of bad luck in 2018
If going winless in their last 19 games (0-18-1) and winning just one game in their last 37 tries wasn’t hard enough for Browns fans to stomach, Cleveland has really tortured their fans so far this season.
In Week 1 against the Steelers, the Browns erased a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit by forcing two turnovers in Steelers territory. When Tyrod Taylor connected with Josh Gordon on a 17-yard touchdown and extra point with 1:55 remaining, the Browns tied the game.
Cleveland’s defense held the explosive Steelers offense to just 21 yards in the fourth quarter and had a chance to win the game in regulation when Taylor drove the Browns to the Steelers 43, but was intercepted.
In overtime, the Browns forced another turnover in Steelers territory, and it looked like they would have an excellent chance to win the game with a field goal after returning it to the 14-yard line. However, an illegal block moved the ball back 10-yards. After running one play and losing a yard, the Browns sent Zane Gonzalez out to kick the game-winning field goal from 43-yards out, but it was blocked by T.J. Watt of the Steelers. The Browns and Steelers finished tied at 21.
Against the Saints in New Orleans last Sunday, the Browns took a 12-3 lead into the fourth quarter as their defense once again did a good job against an explosive offense. However, Drew Brees threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the latter coming with 2:40 remaining, to give the Saints an 18-12 lead.
Needing a touchdown to take the lead, Taylor drove the Browns to midfield where he faced a fourth and five. The Browns looked to finally have exercised their demons when Antonio Callaway caught up to Taylor’s 47-yard pass to tie the game with 1:16 remaining. Unfortunately for the Browns, they failed to take the lead when Gonzalez missed the extra point.
Brees then drove the Saints 49 yards in six plays to take a three-point lead when Will Lutz connected on a 44-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining. Amazingly, Taylor completed two passes for 41 yards to move the Browns to the Saints 34-yard line where Gonzalez would once again get a chance to make up for his mistakes. Unfortunately for the Browns, Gonzalez missed badly from 52 yards and Cleveland fans had to endure another heartbreaking loss.
Jets fans could be in for a rough week
Judging from the way the Browns have played this season and the total lack of effort in execution and turning the ball over, this game spells trouble for the Jets.
While Jets fans are still dreaming of their fabulous win at Detroit, Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins was the worst kind of defeat because the Jets beat themselves. Even after their defense failed to pick up Darnold after his interception or Robby Anderson after his fumble, they still had a chance to rally from 20 points down to win.
Horrible time management at the end of the first half cost the Jets three points. Still, despite all the mistakes they made, the Jets still had many opportunities to win. Darnold got the Jets into the end zone quickly in the second half as he connected with Bilal Powell on a 29-yard touchdown. The Jets momentum was briefly thwarted when Jason Myers missed the extra point, but Miami quickly returned the momentum back to the Jets.
On their first play of the second half, Ryan Tannehill lost control of the ball trying to pass and it was recovered by Jordan Jenkins just 12 yards away from the end zone. However, the Jets and Darnold refused the Dolphins gift. On the very next play, Darnold tried to connect with Terrelle Pryor who stopped running his route and led to a killer interception.
Losing to the Browns would be just the latest in humiliation for Jets fans, who would have to endure being the first team to lose to Cleveland since Christmas Eve of 2016.
Dangerous road ahead for the Jets
If the Jets lose on Thursday, they will most assuredly head home 1-3 because they travel to Jacksonville next week. Coming home 1-3 will be a little bit different than when they ran out of the tunnel on Sunday and fans were excited.
A loss on Thursday would be a very bad sign as the season could then spiral out of control very fast.
Inside the numbers
The Browns have lost nine straight games against AFC East opponents. The Jets have won six straight against the Browns (last loss was Dec. 9, 2007).
The Browns and Jets rank first and second in turnovers forced this season. Cleveland has forced eight turnovers, while the Jets have forced seven.