Moeller: The Jets Are Gaining Ground and Respect

The Jets are getting there.

Sure, there aren’t any moral victories in the NFL. But despite their 24-17 loss to New England, the Jets showed they are for real. In fact, they should have had a better shot to win the game if it wasn’t for one of the most ridiculous calls you will ever see on Austin Sefarian-Jenkins alleged touchdown that would have brought them to within 24-21.

This was supposed to be the true acid test for the young season. The Jets would get blown out by the Patriots and once again look like the 3-13 or 4-12 team everyone expected them to be.

Instead, they once again looked like a team version of Rocky Balboa, swinging and clawing along the way. They are the young, battling team that hasn’t quit and has gained respect.

They had the Patriots on the ropes most of the opening half until some of their inexperience began to show and New England eventually got its game into gear. Even though the Pats aren’t their usual dominant self on both sides of the ball these days, they made enough adjustments in the second half to walk out of Met Life with a hard-fought victory.

Three of New England’s four sacks came in the second half as well as more hurries on Jets’ quarterback Josh McCown. The Jets also couldn’t convert enough plays offensively to make it work.

“They made more plays than we did,” deadpanned Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles several times during his press conference. “We just have to go back to the drawing board and play better.”

The Jets are getting there.

McCown made some mistakes — a second quarter interception that led to a score and a third quarter time out due to a potential delay of game penalty as glaring ones – but he also remains a consistent and efficient passer who isn’t afraid to run out of the pocket at age 38. Wasn’t Christian Hackenberg supposed to be taking over at this point of the season?

Sefarian-Jenkins again showed how the Jets’ tight end problems of the past are now an afterthought, and Jermaine Kearse continues to look like the big-play receiver that has been missing for a while.

Matt Forte showed how he can be a threat running the ball as well as swinging out of the backfield for passes.

The Jets are getting there.

Likes Bowles said, there are still things to work on. Their pass rush remains an enigma as the Jets couldn’t record a sack on Tom Brady, who entered the game as the league’s most sacked quarterback. The pass coverage needs to be more consistent as Rob Gronkowski showed all afternoon.

This game proved there is plenty of promise ahead. They will need to have a similar performance at Miami next Sunday to further enhance their status. The Jets still have a challenging schedule ahead and they may end the season with five or six wins. In the process, they will learn how to win the close ones.

A few more wins will lower their hopes of getting involved in the top college quarterback derby at the NLF draft, but they will know they are close to getting there.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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