We saw a fairly familiar script from the New York Jets today at MetLife Stadium, where they finished 5-3 overall this year. They started out on fire on offense, marching right down the field for a touchdown, then cooled off substantially but got enough from their defense and special teams to pull out a victory. It is a formula they beat the Giants and Dolphins with and it worked again today as they edged out the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10. Similar to his time in Miami, Adam Gase has generally alternated one possession wins and blowout losses. With Buffalo up next with nothing to play for, he has a decent chance to squeeze a 7-9 record out of this season and further cement his job security, potentially all the way into 2021.
Sam Darnold finished with a 16/26, 183 yards, 1 TD and 1 lost fumble stat line today. After the opening drive, he struggled most of the afternoon but was again not exactly helped by the offensive game plan or offensive line. The running game was generally ineffective, despite a few key plays in the fourth quarter. Le’Veon Bell finished with 72 yards but it took 25 carries.He also added 21 yards receiving.Jamison Crowder paced the Jets with 60 yards receiving and Robby Anderson caught yet another touchdown, continuing a strong final stretch of games. It will be a competitive market for the free agent receiver and the Jets are going to have to go over 10 million per year if they want to keep him around and may potentially have to go well over that number.
The Jets only scored more than two offensive touchdowns in one of their eleven AFC games so far but one was enough today thanks to Sam Ficken knocking through all three of his field goals. He has quietly been steady this year and is likely to be back in 2020 as the team’s kicker.
Defensively, the Jets continued to do their job. They beat up on Pittsburgh’s mediocre quarterbacks, knocking Mason Rudolph out of the game after he was brought off the bench to replace Devlin Hodges. Marcus Maye recorded his first interception of the season and made the game saving play on the final drive. Tarell Basham also recorded an interception and Quinnen Williams got on the board with a sack.
Judging from Twitter, there are mixed emotions from fans about this win. It is always good to beat Pittsburgh, especially when their fans are flooding the Jets home stadium. Yet, it was hard to watch this game against this Pittsburgh roster, particularly what they had out there in the second half after a few injuries and feel like it was a tremendously impressive effort overall especially with how much the offense struggled. We are likely headed to a scenario where the Jets finish 7-9 thanks to beating Buffalo’s backups and it is celebrated as a massive success. Is it a step in the right direction or a kick starter to more extended mediocrity when you consider the context of some of their wins and losses this season? We’ll see in 2020.