The call was atrocious. The thought about going for it on fourth down wasn’t.
Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh stated there was some confusion among the coaches about quarterback Zach Wilson’s quarterback sneak call on a fourth-and-two. Tom Brady would have had trouble making it.
It wasn’t feasible with the Buccaneers’ girth in the middle of their defensive line. They have converted 13 of 28 fourth-down attempts this season. That’s actually pretty good.
And then the outcome proved to be foretelling with Brady taking his team 93 yards with no timeouts and just over two minutes left in the game for the winning score. You had a feeling Brady would give you one final thrill or one for a while as the 44-year-old continues to defy time with a 34-for-50, 410 yards, three touchdown effort.
Sure, the 28-26 loss to Tampa stung, but this was about the Jets. This was their game agaisnt the defensing Super Bowl champion Bucs until the final drive, and they sent a message in the process.
This is about the demeanor Saleh has instilled on this team. A new identity is surfacing and the coach and quarterback are two big pieces behind it.
The Jets will gamble. They won’t make all of the predicted , orthodox moves. In recent weeks, we have seen an array of gadget plays that can open up the offense.
They have the flashy, aggressive Wilson, who certainly has improved his game in recent weeks. He moved around the pocket with poise and confidence against the defending Super Bowl champs with their ex-coach and blitz-happy defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who couldn’t figure out a way to stop him.
Wilson can’t simply be judged on his stats. He has been more mature, and this is still a 22-year-old.
Rookies wide receiver Elijah Moore and running back Michael Carter have given the Jets two legitimate playmakers they haven’t had for a long time.
Receiver/return specialist Braxton Berrios has emerged as a major contributor and GM Joe Douglas needs to make sure he is back in the fold next season.
Linebacker C. J. Mosley had been the emotional leader of a defense that had shown signs of piecing together a future in spite of a splintered secondary all season long. It is a secondary filled with potential with the likes of Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols and others.
They finally also appear to have an effective kicking tandem in kicker Eddy Pineiro and punter Braden Mann.
Yes, the Jets still have plenty of holes to fill. This is a young team, and Douglas has the draft picks and cap room next season to make the necessary adjustments.
To their credit, however, the Jets have come a long way since they suffered a 54-13 loss to the Patriots, a 45-30 defeat to the Colts (not as close as score) and a 45-17 smoking from the Bills sandwiched around a 34-31 win over the Bengals.
They rebounded and easily could have hit their abyss. Just look at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If you were at MetLife or at home, you’ll remember the Brady twilight-year comeback complete with Antonio Brown ripping off his jersey and running into the locker room (a textbook scenario for a shrink).
Remember it, though, as a point where the rookie head coach and quarterback who both proved this team can be for real.