After Week 5, if anyone predicted the New York Jets would beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 3, we would have laughed in their faces.
But here we are.
The Chiefs continued their monumental slide from a great start to the season and the Jets improved to 5-7 with a wild 38-31 win at MetLife Stadium Sunday.
It was not at all a “complete game” by the Jets, and we’re likely to break down all the negatives later this week during the Jet Fuel Podcast. However, let’s focus now on what went right for New York.
Overcoming a slow start
This is first on the list in terms of chronology, not necessarily importance, but give the Jets credit. Kansas City jumped out to a 14-0 lead in less than five minutes with two Travis Kelce touchdowns. That could have signaled a remarkably early end to the game, but the Jets came back in rapid fashion. That the first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie meant that the Jets truly could put the bad start behind them and play like it was 0-0 again.
Anderson and Kearse shine
Maybe the Jets didn’t need Brandon Marshall after all. For the second week in a row, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse each eclipsed 100 receiving yards in the same game. They’re the only wide receiver duo in the NFL to accomplish that feat twice this year.
Kearse finished with nine catches (on 10 targets) for 157 yards, Anderson caught eight passes for 107 yards and both players made crazy-athletic catches at different points. Kearse’s long play of 51 yards resulted from shedding a tackle and sprinting down an open field.
While neither of them found the end zone today, the offense really ran through them. The long passes aside, an efficient passing game also kept New York’s offense (and the Chiefs’ defense) on the field. The Jets ran 85 plays; the Chiefs ran 46. And New York’s opening drive of the second half went 18 plays and 9:31, the team’s longest drive in terms of time of possession since 2011. Read that one more time so it sinks in.
For once, the Jets were the more disciplined team
The Jets have suffered from self-inflicted wounds all year by way of penalties, forfeiting over 100 penalty yards in some games. Today, they only committed a mere five infractions for 40 yards, while accepting eight Chiefs penalties for 30. That penalty yardage may look surprisingly low, but many of those calls came when the Jets were in the red zone and the yardage on a Kansas City flag defaulted to “half the distance to the goal.”
This is as good a place as any to mention the end of that wild, go-ahead drive when for nine plays the Jets’ jumbo package couldn’t lead a ball-carrier a couple yards over the goal line. This drive was only kept alive by Chiefs penalties, and when New York scored the touchdown and went for two, Steven Nelson was called for holding when McCown scrambled and threw the ball away.
This infuriated Marcus Peters, Nelson’s teammate and Kansas City’s no. 1 cornerback. He inexplicably picked up the penalty flag and threw it into the stands, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call on himself. Peters wasn’t ejected from the game, but on his own accord he walked off the field and into the locker room. Some Chiefs staffer retrieved him a few minutes later, but the corner wasn’t wearing his socks anymore, likely meaning he had headed to the shower. (Elijah McGuire scored the pivotal two-point conversion on the second try.)
Anyway, doesn’t that sound like something the Jets would do in a loss? It wasn’t, not today. The Jets also didn’t commit a turnover. Discipline matters.
McCown’s underrated mobility
Alex Smith broke off a 70-yard run for Kansas City that sort of stunned anybody watching it – Jets fan, Chiefs fan, that didn’t matter. That play was almost entirely the fault of the Jets’ defense. But Old Josh McCown has some legs on him too, friends. During the Jets’ go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter, he perfectly slipped out of some immense pressure on a third down to complete a pass to Chad Hansen and keep the drive alive. He also carried the ball seven times for 19 yards, with a long of 12, and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Although those two scores were sneaks from the 1-yard line, McCown now has five rushing touchdowns on the year. As of this writing, that’s tied with Cam Newton, Dak Prescott and Deshone Kizer for the most by a quarterback in the league.
Revis a non-factor
A footnote: Darrelle Revis made his first appearance with his newest team and made five tackles, but it was clear he’s still a shell of his former self. For lack of a better phrase, the Jets put the moves on him. Matt Forte, for one example out of several, juked Revis out of his socks on a catch-and-run third down conversion. Revis didn’t play in the second half.