New York Jets 1st & 10 – Ugly Wins

Stephen Russo goes 1st and 10 on the Jets ugly win over the Miami Dolphins

1st…

A win is a win. In this league, you’ll take it. While the narrative is different because the Jets are now 5-8, this is a game that would have been deemed a “gutty” performance had it gotten the Jets to 8-5. The truth is that ugly wins count just as much as dominant wins and are the marks of a good team. The other truth is that the last nine years of ugly football and the first 11 months of Adam Gase’s tenure with the Jets haven’t afforded this team much in the way of credit for ugly wins.

However, now is not the time to go down that rabbit hole. The Jets were a marginal team at best to start the year, and one that needed to bet and win big to get a whiff of the playoffs. They were dealt a bad hand from the jump, and it’s been tough sledding ever since. Let’s give it a quick recap: Darnold hit with mono, top offensive weapons were lost for the year, an already talent-deficient offensive line was decimated by injury, their linebacking core is down to 4th and 5th stringers, a shaky cornerback position is riddled with injuries, and now their best overall player is hurt. I’m not one for excuses, every team has injuries. But it does seem that the Jets have been hit especially hard this year.

So, credit to the Jets who were able to overcome the litany of injuries, deal with an average game from Darnold (mostly in the second half) and a bad game from Gase, and win a game in ugly fashion that they normally would lose.

And any day where the Jets win and the Patriots lose is a good day.

& 10…

1. Bilal Powell may be the most undervalued and underappreciated Jet in history. He is undoubtedly top 5.

2. What Gregg Williams is doing with this defense while scraping the bottom of the barrel for players is remarkable.

3. It is very nice to see Robby Anderson having a nice stretch of games. His route tree, hand strength and ability to make contested catches have improved drastically over his first four years. The Jets should re-sign him the offseason and find a true number one to play opposite him.

4. I couldn’t care less if Le’Veon Bell went bowling on Saturday night after recovering from the flu. And neither should you.

5. Darnold did not play his best game on Sunday. He missed throws. He took a bad sack on the final drive… one that could have been a killer. But don’t dismiss that he hit two big throws in crunch time to set up a game-winning field goal. Also, don’t discount that he had a few more (bad) drops, particularly on 3rd downs, that didn’t help his cause at all. Either way, it was great to see a drive for a win in the final moments by a Jets’ QB.

6. Despite the penalties, Quinnen Williams played his best game of the year.

7. I think the Jets may have found something in Bless Austin.

8. The commitment to the run was noticeable in this game but so was the success behind Bilal Powell. I’ve said it before, but it is concerning that in limited carries Powell sees more success than Bell seemingly because he of how hard he hits the hole vs. Bell’s patient style. That is more of an indictment on Adam Gase and his inability or unwillingness to find use for an All-Pro running back than it is anything else. And it is definitely something that bears watching.

9. Non-Jets thought of the day…

To the Patriots fans that booed their team at the half and are crying about a few calls not going their way: Get off your high horse and step back into reality! Most of you quickly forget what you were 25 years ago before this reign of dominance and entitlement began. Walk for a minute in a Jets or a Lions fans shoes and then see if you feel the need to boo your 6x champion and current 10-3 team at halftime.

10. Sam Darnold’s first 23 games have been a bit of a roller coaster. But with each week, he continues to chip away and what little remaining doubt I have that he is the Franchise Quarterback the Jets have been searching for. Regardless of what the last 3 games bring, it is clear that the most important pieces in this organization are Sam Darnold and Joe Douglas. They have a chance to build a real winner, despite Adam Gase’s best efforts.