After expressing his frustrations about the attitude of some fans, Jamal Adams and the Jets defense, along with a record-breaking performance by Isaiah Crowell, helped end their three-game losing streak with a dominating performance against the Broncos.
The NFL season is unlike any of the other three professional sports. With only 16 regular season games on each team’s schedule, extended losing streaks can end hopes of success very fast.
In Week 1, the New York Jets looked like world beaters in their 48-17 victory over the Detroit Lions. However, three straight losses where the team looked flat and both the offense and defense unprepared, had Jets fans fearing they were witnessing the “same old Jets.”
On Sunday against the Broncos, the Jets played like they had a point to prove. From the coaching staff to the players, the Jets looked like a totally different team than one that took the field the last three weeks.
Todd Bowles and Jeremy Bates had both the defense and offense prepared. Earlier in the week, the Jets learned that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was suffering from an illness that the team has yet to disclose to the public. In his absence on Sunday, the Jets performed like a team that was inspired.
Much like their Week 1 dominating performance against the Lions, the Jets gave their fans a reason to hope for the future. However, can they continue their inspired, physical play against the Colts this Sunday? Putting together a good game is something that this Jets team has proved they can do. Now, the coaching staff and players need to repeat the process.
During the Jets three-game losing streak, the running game was non-existent. Against the Dolphins, Browns and Jaguars the team totaled just 183 yards. On Sunday, Isaiah Crowell showed the fans that he had learned from his embarrassing display against the Browns where he pretended to wipe his buttocks with the ball after scoring a touchdown. Such a display should have warranted him being cut from the team, but that didn’t happen.
Crowell’s behavior against the Browns disturbed many fans. However, on Sunday he redeemed himself with a historic performance. Crowell set the team record for rushing yards in a game with 219. He also became just the second player in NFL history during the regular season to rush for 200 yards with 15 or fewer carries (Derrick Ward rushed for 215 yards against the Panthers in December 2008 as a member of the Giants). Keith Lincoln also accomplished this, but he did so in the AFL Championship Game in January 1964 for the Chargers against the Patriots when he ran for 206 yards on just 13 carries.
On defense. the Jets held the Broncos to 4-14 on third downs and before the Broncos piled up yardage during garbage time, the Jets had forced the Broncos to either punt or give up the ball on downs on nine of their first 10 drives started in Denver territory. Leonard Williams awoke from his 2018 slumber to make the Broncos offensive line miserable. Williams had two sacks, while also disrupting many other plays.
After struggling during the Jets three-game losing streak, Sam Darnold and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates finally seemed to get on track. Although he completed just 10 of 22 passes for 198 yards, Darnold was aggressive. He connected on three TD passes, two to Robby Anderson who continued his impressive streak of catching TD passes from long distances. In Anderson’s 12 career TD catches, he has averaged over 41 yards per TD reception, including one from 76 yards and 35 yards on Sunday.
The Jets totaled 512 yards total offense on Sunday, marking the 15th time in franchise history that they have reached 500 yards in a game. This was just the third time they have done so since 1999 and the first since totaling 513 yards against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 22, 2013.
In addition to Crowell’s career day rushing, the Jets combined to run for 323 yards, the highest ever at home and the second highest in franchise history (ran for 333 yards against at New England Patriots on Oct. 15, 1972).
If Crowell setting the Jets single-game rushing record wasn’t enough, the Jets set another record on Sunday. On the last play of the game, Marcus Maye intercepted Broncos QB Case Keenum in the end zone. Maye returned the ball 103 yards before being tackled at the one-yard line.
The Jets already had the NFL record for longest rushing attempt without scoring a TD when Johnny Johnson ran for 90 yards before falling short of the end zone against the Chicago Bears on September 25, 1994. On Sunday, they set the record for longest interception return without scoring a TD.
The 2018 NFL season has shown that anything can happen at any time. The Bills dominated the Vikings in Week 3. The Dolphins, after starting 3-0, blew a 17-0 lead against the Bengals on Sunday. The Giants lost to the Panthers on Sunday thanks to a 63-yard FG at the final gun by Panthers kicker Graham Gano. Gano became just the sixth kicker in NFL history to connect on a FG of that length.
This was the effort the Jets fans were expecting. This was the game plan that warrants Todd Bowles extension as a head coach. Can the Jets keep it up Sunday against the Colts when they play the second of three straight home games? Time will tell.