The Jets trip to London in week four was a special one and will have it’s place in NFL history. The potential jeopardy behind playing a divisional game outside of the US was quickly forgotten amongst the celebrations and memories made over the course of the weekend. This game marked another success for the International Series, but most of all and fortunately for the Jets another important win, making the trip and extensive procedures taken all worth the effort.
The star of the show was Chris Ivory. Ivory’s trip to London will no doubt hold fond memories, not just for the win, but also for making some history of his own. The revitalised running back ran the ball 166 yards for one touchdown in the 27-14 win at Wembley. The 166 yards set a career high for Ivory and too a record of 5-1 when he rushes over 100 yards for the Jets. Ivory’s touchdown was the third play of three in the opening drive, which subsequently then set the tone for the rest of the game. The last time the Jets scored a touchdown on an opening drive was 16 games prior against Green Bay in 2014, although thankfully, this game didn’t take a similar path.
Chris Ivory’s career high total should be at large thanks to the improving Jets offensive line. The O-line helped channel ground units to a total of 207 yards and yet again, stop Ryan Fitzpatrick from being sacked, which resulted in him adding 218 yards of his own. Fitzpatrick was again far from perfect but the Jets hadn’t created yardage exceeding 400 since Geno Smith’s awakening against the same side in Miami last December. The game also pushed Fitz past the 20,000 yards mark for career passing yards.
Last to be mentioned is the Jets defense, who once again put out a top performance. They recorded three more sacks with Muhammad Wilkerson now leading the pack with 3.5. David Harris registered his 32nd sack overall making it the most by any player exclusive to his position since 2007. The secondary players in Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams recorded two more interceptions bringing the total to 13 overall echoing last season’s total and the NFL’s highest to date. Interestingly, all of the Jets interceptions which have aided their total have come from their secondary, which was perhaps considered their weakest area only a year ago and vindicating the money spent on improvements.. The Dolphins tried it on fourth down four times at Wembley all resulting in failure, but perhaps the most impressive stat for this defense was their unstoppable performance on third downs. By the end of week 4, the defence had won their last 18 consecutive third down battles and a total of four full halves without losing a third down.
The Jet win at Wembley not boosted stats and confidence, but it also provided many great moments arcing back to the point they touched down in London.
- Jets Pub. This was an extremely well organised and excellently supported event put on by the Jets organisation who took over a central London pub for the weekend. The goal was to make all fans feel comfortable, especially those who made the effort to travel to another continent to watch their team. The pub was open to the public but the ‘Jets Pub’ title was well deserved as it was packed daily with enthusiastic Jets fans. Those with Jets rewards cards even got a free pint and the highlight was repeated renditions of J.E.T.S ringing out of the doors and into Trafalgar Square opposite. The Jets really did take over one of London’s biggest landmarks.
- Fireman Ed & Jets Chants. Fireman Ed attending the international game showed the vast passion this fan base possesses.. The huge number of US Jets fans that made the trip over the pond was impressive and made a clear difference at the game. Jets chants resonated throughout the game, being clearly heard on the TV coverage, meaning the outnumbered Jets fans held their own and meant this definitely didn’t’ feel like a Dolphins home game.
- Opening Jets drive. The above has the details, but these few plays settled any nerves this fan base had prior to the game. Being the first game since the loss Philadelphia and that first taste of adversity this season, opening their first divisional game with a Fitzpatrick deep ball and then landing in end zone in another two plays, was truly impressive. The fact that the Dolphins clearly didn’t see it coming, meant this play was a great way to shrug off the cobwebs from the week before and set the tone for the rest of the game.
- Goal line nerves. Despite a dominant performance the Jets weren’t going to make it too easy! The tense yet exciting experience of seeing eight goal line stops lead to a Jets interception was incredible. It made for one of the best moments in International Series history (unless you’re a Dolphins fan!)
- Jets Merchandise. Obviously only an issue for us European fans but the amount and range of merch available was a great disappointment. If the International series and NFLUK want to keep moving forward, this is an area they should address. To show their support for a eager, excited sport fan base a wider range of player jerseys and other apparel is needed.
- Post game partying. Mainly because of the lack of tailgating but also because of the location of Wembley, many US fans were disappointed by the dearth of post game celebrations. The annoying tradition of queuing for ages on Wembley Way to get into the Tube station dampened spirits as thousands of fans simply tried to get home as quickly as possible. The Jets won but standing in that queue certainly isn’t a fitting celebration and the few bars at Wembley were quickly filled up.