Despite their best effort to give the game away in the fourth quarter, the New York Jets topped the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-20 for their second consecutive victory, marking the first time since Week 2 of the 2016 season that they had a .500 record.
The New York Jets bent, but didn’t break, on defense and dominated the game on the ground. Self-inflicted mistakes and late game mismanagement nearly spoiled the Jets’ attempt at a win, but somehow, Gang Green pulled out the “W” in overtime.
Here’s what happened at MetLife Stadium on Sunday:
After a back-and-forth overtime period that featured drops, near-safeties and a few brutal penalties, Chandler Catanzaro hit a 41-yard field goal to propel the Jets to victory.
Some backbreaking mistakes
The win wasn’t all good for the 2-2 Jets, however. There were a few mistakes that could have cost the team the game had it been against a better opponent.
After a wacky sequence to end the first half — which included a 27-yard completion to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, two Jacksonville sacks and a successful 31-yard pass on a fake punt — the Jets were in position to kick a field goal. After the fake punt, New York’s kicking unit wasn’t ready to go onto the field, and it took a delay of game penalty.
What would have been a 40-yard try for Catanzaro became a 45-yard attempt, and he hooked it wide right, keeping the game tied.
In the fourth quarter, with the ball and a 10 point lead, the Jets nearly imploded. Quarterback Josh McCown dumped off a pass for Bilal Powell, who was not expecting the pass, and it fell to the ground as a “fumble.” Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack scooped the ball and returned it for a touchdown, trimming the deficit to three.
The biggest mistake may have been with 3:19 remaining in the game when, on a third down, the Jets opted to pass the ball and McCown was intercepted when Powell, the intended target, slipped and fell.
Yet for all of the mistakes the Jets made, the Jaguars matched them. Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers missed a 52-yard field goal and safety Tashaun Gipson dropped a would-be pick-six in the fourth quarter. Then in overtime, Marqise Lee dropped a pass that would have positioned the Jaguars in field goal range and Paul Posluszny was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that set up the game-winning field goal.
No Forte? No problem
Matt Forte missed Week 4 action with a toe injury, but it didn’t appear that New York missed him all that much.
The Jets displayed their most impressive running attack in a long time, rushing for 256 yards and two scores, including a 75-yard run by Powell and a 69-yard scamper by rookie Elijah McGuire.
It was the first time in franchise history that the Jets had a pair of 60-yard rushing touchdowns and the first time they had two 60-yard rushes by two different ball carriers in one game.
Not only did the unit make the big plays, but it ran the ball effectively on all three downs. The duo of Powell and McGuire averaged a ridiculous 8.3 yards per carry and had six plays of at least 10 yards.
Up-and-down defensive performance
The motto of the 2017 New York Jets defense? Bend, but don’t break. It isn’t a unit that has a ton of star power, nor does it have playmakers that can force tons of takeaways, but for the second straight week, it looked solid.
Early in the game, the front seven had a tough time stopping running backs Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory. As the game went along, the run defense improved and it was crucial in stopping a few third-and-short situations.
The “bend, but don’t break” mantra proved to be true on Jacksonville’s final drive, when the Jets allowed the Jaguars to move inside the 10-yard line, but were stopped on three straight passing plays. It resulted in a 22-yard field goal that forced overtime.
In overtime, the defense forced three Jacksonville punts.
David Bass, who saw the field quite a bit at defensive end, recorded a sack early in the game and a few Jets were able to hit Blake Bortles, including Leonard Williams, Dylan Donahue, Demario Davis and Buster Skrine.
Ealy makes it look Easy
There was nothing easy about Kony Ealy’s interception, but it was certainly one of the most remarkable plays of the game.
In typical Bortles fashion, the Jacksonville quarterback tried to float a pass over Ealy while backpedaling in his own territory. Ealy, whom the Jets claimed on waivers after he couldn’t stick on the New England Patriots’ roster, tipped the pass and picked it off. He then rumbled down inside the 10-yard line, nearly ending New York’s 61-game defensive touchdown drought.
Ealy’s interception may overshadow his tipped pass on Bortles’ pass attempt on third-and-goal on the final drive of regulation, a play that may have saved the game for the Jets. Ealy totaled four pass deflections in this one.