Rushing: Winning Cures All for The Jets, At Least for One Week

It’s been another season of misery for the Jets and their fans. One loss after another has them in familiar territory. This team more than likely will miss the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, but bless Sam Darnold’s heart. The 22-year old quarterback is still tapping the optimism button. “We need every win from now on because we still have a chance,” Darnold said after the Jets’ impressive 34-27 win over the Giants, Sunday at MetLife Stadium. “If we get on a roll here and we win out, we’ve got a chance at the playoffs. Guys in the locker room know this and we’re really excited to continue to get back to work. That’s what it’s about.”

The Jets, now with a 2-7 record, mathematically are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. But that’s about as far as I’ll go with optimism for any chances of reaching the postseason. Darnold, as the franchise quarterback and one of the team leaders, is right to call attention to what’s ahead. The Jets, for all of their issues, and there’s a lot of them, indeed do control their own destiny. How they handle this, however, remains to be seen.

If the Jets are to get on a roll, they’ll need to prove they can first put together a winning streak. Their victory over the Giants, a team with similar problems of their own right now, showed a few areas worthy of building on.

Let’s take a look at a couple of takeaways:
The playmakers showed up ready to play. When it comes to fixing what’s gone wrong this season, head coach Adam Gase can’t do it alone. Darnold avoided the mistakes which plagued him the previous three games (all losses) and played well. The numbers, 19 of 30 for 230 yards, wasn’t anything to make plans for a parade over, but Darnold’s decision-making was better this week, as he didn’t turn the football over and continued to build chemistry with wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

The defense shut down any hopes the Giants had at running the football while also providing steady pressure on the quarterback. Running back Saquon Barkley was limited to one yard on 13 carries, it was easily the worst professional game for the young star. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw for four touchdowns but was also sacked six times.

Two of those sacks on Jones came from safety Jamal Adams. He’s been in the headlines more for his ability to talk the talk instead of how well he walks the walk. It rubbed Adams the wrong way when his name was mentioned at the trade deadline and he made his feelings known for everyone to see. Adams, right or wrong, knows the NFL is a business. He backed up his talk with a team-high nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a touchdown. This was a statement game from the team co-captain.

Throughout the season, Gase has repeatedly pointed towards the need to “clean up” mistakes. Cleaning up the mistakes actually happened this time. Give the Jets a pat on the back for actually doing it this week. When it goes bad for the Jets, two areas of the game are normally to blame, penalties and turnovers.

The Giants battled back from a 14-0 hole to eventually take a 27-21 lead in the third quarter. Six penalties in the first half helped deflate any momentum the Jets built from their fast start. This, however, was cleaned up after the break. Gase’s crew only committed one penalty in the second half, a delay of game late in the fourth quarter – while they were running out the game clock.

There’s been too many times this season where the Jets have put themselves in holes because of penalties or turnovers. This week, they won the turnover battle and limited their mistakes. The result was a gritty win.

Losing has a way of exposing problems within a team’s foundation. Yes, while this week’s win over the Giants should be enjoyed and used for motivation, it’s still, however, just one win.

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