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CLEVELAND – The Jets pulled off one of the exceptional comeback victories in NFL historical past Sunday, storming again from 13 down within the closing two minutes to beat the Browns 31-30 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
And the timing couldn’t have been higher for Jets coach Robert Saleh, who spent days earlier than the sport dealing with heavy criticism after stated he was “taking receipts” on these mocking the staff and he “couldn’t wait to shove it down everyone’s throats when it comes around.”
Many Jets followers, who’ve watched their staff miss the playoffs in an NFL worst 11 straight seasons, responded angrily to Saleh’s phrases on social media and sports activities radio. And so they additionally weren’t thrilled together with his resolution to stay with 37-year-old Joe Flacco after a shaky Week 1 begin.
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However after Flacco threw two of his 4 landing passes within the closing 90 seconds to assist the Jets develop into the primary staff in 21 years to win after trailing by 13 or extra within the closing two minutes, Saleh wasn’t seeking to ship a message of vindication.
“No,” he stated. “We have to win a hell of a lot more than one game to cash in on those.”
It was an ideal response by Saleh on a exceptional day for his staff.
If the Jets flip issues round and develop into a very good soccer staff beneath Saleh, today is definitely going to be remembered as a purpose why. However till they do, the Jets ought to simply take a look at this for what it was: a really lucky set of circumstances that they capitalized on to win a sport that that they had all however misplaced.
“This was a crazy game,” Jets vast receiver Corey Davis stated. “Probably one of the craziest endings I have ever been a part of. And probably one of the greatest feelings, too.”
That’s how this second will at all times be remembered, as arguably probably the most unlikely win in franchise historical past.
However how it’s considered shifting ahead in a bigger context will all rely upon what the Jets do subsequent.
If the Jets return to MetLife Stadium on Sunday and lose massive to the Bengals – who they upset final October earlier than Cincinatti made a run to the Tremendous Bowl – most individuals will clarify away what occurred right here as a fluky win by a soccer staff that isn’t excellent.
But when the Jets hold enhancing and proceed profitable, this second might be considered as a catalyst for Saleh’s younger staff: the unlikely outcome that sparked them to an unbelievable season and maybe extra.
“We’ll see,” Saleh stated. “We’ve got to [catch fire]. We have no choice. We have a Super Bowl runner-up coming to town this week – a dynamic offense, a really good defense. I’m sure they’ll remember last yaer. So they’re going to come in guns blazing and we’ve got to answer it.”
That’s the one factor the Jets can do proper now, deal with the duty forward and let the remainder maintain itself.
The excellent news for the Jets and for Saleh, is that this win ought to present a respite (albeit momentary) from the negativity and criticism that has been constructing from years of dropping. The Jets imagine they’re studying and constructing towards one thing higher, but it surely’s laborious to get gamers and followers to see it when the outcomes don’t match up with that. The Jets had gained one in every of their final seven video games earlier than Sunday’s win.
“It’s a lot easier [after a win],” Saleh stated. “It’s so much easier to have these conversations, but the conversation still has to be real. It still has to be real. We still have to get a lot of stuff fixed.”
And that’s true. The Jets’ protection struggled after a principally robust Week 1, struggling to cease the Browns passing assault early and run sport late. They dedicated too many pricey penalties: they had been flagged eight instances for 56 yards, together with 6 penalties for 47 after halftime.
“We did not execute the way we wanted to execute on defense,” defensive sort out Quinnen Williams stated. “We have to learn.”
However finally they did sufficient to get the win. When it got here right down to crunch time, they had been the staff making the game-winning performs and capitalizing on their opponent’s errors.
“We have a team,” Williams stated. “Special teams balled out. [The] offense balled out. … When you have a group of guys that we have, with tremendous fight and love for each other, these are the kind of games that we have.”
And to win a sport like this, in such memorable trend, is one thing that may change the best way this locker room seems at one another and assist this staff shifting ahead.
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“That’s big,” defensive sort out Sheldon Rankins stated. “One of the things I’ve learned in this league is something I kind of live by … once you’ve shown yourself you can do it, it’s a lot easier to believe you can do it again. So being able to have this young group of guys come into a hostile environment, things aren’t going right, we’re down 13 …
“Bullets are flying and to just be able to rally and lock in and make those plays that are necessary to win big-time football games? That’s going to go a long way toward building confidence in this team going down the stretch and playing in more close games.”
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Andy Vasquez could also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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