The New York Jets showed they could win ugly today, edging out the Cleveland Browns 17-14 in a slop fest. Despite running for 34 total yards and not having a receiver with more than 39 yards, they still found a way to come out on top. This win belonged to the defense who came up with three turnovers. The Browns were inside the 5 yard line three times and came up with zero points, thanks to a turnover on downs, a fumble and an interception (Hello, Marcus Maye!). It was the team’s first road win of the season and a nice step for a young roster led by a very, very old quarterback.
Offensively, this was far from the team’s best effort but they were able to make second half adjustments and do just enough. Josh McCown finished 23/30 for 194 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an ugly interception. Jermaine Kearse grabbed his third touchdown of the season on a well designed and set up play by John Morton, where the Jets pumped short on a screen route they had thrown earlier in the game. Austin Seferian-Jenkins also caught a short fade route for a touchdown and continued to show his improvement from last season, coming up big multiple times on third down. There was no running game to speak of as the Jets struggled after Bilal Powell left with a calf injury. Elijah McGuire only had 20 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, Morris Claiborne was terrific. For some reason the Browns kept going after him instead of Buster Skrine or Marcus Williams, he grabbed his first interception of the season which set up the Jets first touchdown. Maye made a beautiful read and took advantage of a poor decision of DeShone Kizer for his first career interception. Overall, the Jets allowed more yards than you would like to see, particularly with Cleveland playing their backup quarterback in the second half but were saved by their ability to tighten up in the red-zone and force turnovers.
The Jets are not going to be able to beat anybody but Cleveland if they play like they did today, especially teams like New England or Atlanta. However, this is a young team and learning to win ugly on the road is important. Todd Bowles and this coaching staff deserve credit for how they have the Jets competing right now on a weekly basis. They could easily be 0-5 like the 49ers, Giants (ha!) or Browns with their talent level but are finding ways to win football games.
A decent start was always on the table with this schedule, making any 0-16 or 1-15 predictions ridiculous but good on the Jets for actually winning the “winnable” games on their schedule. The competition level goes up substantially next week and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com