This was the statement win the Jets needed. The Jets, for the moment, somewhat solidified the shaky ground they have found themselves on. They beat a quality opponent, top to bottom, in a dominant fashion.
The Oakland Raiders came into Sunday on a three-game winning streak, with a formidable running game and Derek Carr in the midst of a career year, and the Jets wiped the floor with them. The Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead on their first drive and didn’t come close to the end zone after that.
The Jets were exceptional in all phases. Sam Darnold made plays all over the field as he spread the ball around to nine different receivers. The defense, under the leadership of Gregg Williams and without countless opening day starters, was fantastic. Adam Gase, to his credit, coached circles around Jon Gruden. And it wasn’t close.
This game does not validate the Jets as contenders, yet. But it does go a long way to proving they are not the laughingstock we all thought they were four weeks ago.
1. As harsh as I have been on Adam Gase thus far, and rightfully so, I have to give credit where credit is due. He coached a great game on Sunday. His players were ready, he attacked early, he attacked often, and he kept his foot on the gas. I like that. His play calling, particularly in the red zone, has been outstanding during this three-game stretch. Over those three games, the Jets are scoring touchdowns on almost 75% of their trips in the red zone (and one was called back due to a bogus penalty). The particular play call to throw back to Ryan Griffin for a touchdown was fantastic. Gase is finally showing some creativity.
2. Darnold was nothing short of amazing against the Raiders. He is reminding every Jets fan out there why they had high hopes for this season. This game may have been his best game as a pro, and was definitively in the top three.
3. Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet are infinitely better options than Darryl Roberts and Trumaine Johnson. They’re willingness to tackle, and efficiency in doing so, is quietly the best part of their game.
4. It was good to see Robby Anderson back involved in the offense and making plays. I hope it continues.
5. Alex Lewis’ continues his weekly trend of yet another huge penalty to negate a big play. Maybe it’s a good luck charm?
6. Despite Alex Lewis’ penalty issues, the offensive line has shown significant improvement. Credit goes to Adam Gase and Frank Pollack for (finally!) getting this unit on the right path.
7. Gregg Williams deserves a ton of credit for what he has done, and is doing, with this defense. To lose three linebackers, both starting cornerbacks, and trade your (arguably?) best defensive lineman and still perform the way they have is commendable.
8. Was Quinnen Williams active on Sunday?
9. The stats aren’t where I would have predicted they would be at this point in the season, but watching Le’Veon Bell every week is every bit as good as I hoped it would be when the Jets signed him. He is a special player, and I am glad the Jets have him.
10. As a Jets fan, its hard not to think of what could have been. And right now, you’re probably thinking like I am and saying “if only the Jets could have beaten Buffalo and Miami they’d be 6-5 and right in the thick of the AFC Playoff hunt.” It’s true. We can’t help it. It makes us who we are.
Following the Giants game, I still predicted that the Jets would finish 4-12. But things change. And people change. So let’s give it another shot at a bold prediction.
I believe the Jets will beat Cincinnati and Miami and get themselves to 6-7. I think they go to Baltimore on a Thursday night, and play the Ravens closer than many expect, but still lose a relatively close game. Then, they will beat Pittsburgh at home, and set the stage for a showdown in Buffalo. The Jets will beat the Bills (who faulter to a tough schedule down the stretch), avenge their 2015 season-ender to finish 8-8, and knock the Bills out of the playoffs as they finish 9-7 on the outside looking in.
BUT… they could also lose to the Bengals. A post-2010 Rex Ryan team lays an egg against the Bengals. A Todd Bowles team gets too high after the Raiders win and loses this game to the Bengals.
Adam Gase will continue to be on a “prove it” deal with me and much of the fanbase. Keep this thing going and take care of business Sunday. Prove that you’re better than your predecessors.