Make no bones about it, the Jets needed this game. A record of 4-5 is much better than 3-6 and all of them knew it.
And they played like it.
Dominating on Thursday night, the Jets dismantled the Buffalo Bills by a score of 34-21.
And don’t let the numbers fool you, because the last two Buffalo scores were cheapies. They were in command of this game throughout.
“We played well,” said cornerback Jamal Adams. “The coaching staff, they prepared us, but we were able to come out and play Jets football.”
After three weeks of heartbreakers, where the Jets should have won at least two of them and maybe three, Gang Green seemed to be on a mission here. The defense dominated and Josh McCown outplayed Tyrod Taylor, his counterpart on the Bills.
But here’s the rub. Although the Bills came in at 5-2, they weren’t a team that strikes fear in your hearts. The short week make it harder for the Bills to win than the angry Jets, who felt were starting to look like the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight, causing their own demise the last three weeks.
After nine weeks, though, the Jets are a very mediocre 4-5 and it’s as much a testament to the lack of talent in the league, as much as it’s the Jets playing above the fold. Look at the four wins and you will see they beat all middle of the road quarterbacks. An over the hill Jay Cutler, Blake Bortles, whomever Cleveland puts out on the field in their revolving door, and Taylor tonight. None of these guys will be enshrined in Canton someday. Elite they are not.
When Derek Carr or Tom Brady are facing down the Jets, well that’s a different story.
So sure, credit the Jets for tonight, they deserve it, but remember they are beating teams they should beat. Forget the tank. The Jets are not a terrible team, but then again, they are not very good either.
However, with any mediocre team, there are exciting things going on. Although McCown may not be a long-term answer, he is good this season, not making dopy mistakes and handling the offense with skill.
“Josh has played great,” said coach Todd Bowles. “He’s a leader on and off the field. I can’t say enough about him, especially with all the pieces coming in and out of the offense.”
Also, the defense looks as advertised. If they can avoid the stupid mistakes of the last three game, they the Jets will be in every game, as they have been all season. Only during Week 2 in Oakland were the Jets outclassed, since then they either won or could have won every game.
But that’s what middle of the road teams do. They can look like world beaters one week and then do something that makes you bang your head against the wall.
Tonight, they weren’t. The Jets were the team we saw at the end of September, which was surprised people.
Now they have 10 days to sit on this and prepare for a game in Tampa against a mediocre Bucs team. It’s a very winnable game for the Jets, who will then be off until after Thanksgiving.
With this Jet team, though, you will take it, because at .500 they are a very nice New York story.