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The Jets come back hard, make strides in the face of adversity

VINCENT DAVIS | 10/5/2017, 1:22 p.m.
The overtime period in the press box of the New York Jets game Sunday at MetLife Stadium was kind of ...
Bilal Powell of the New York Jets

The overtime period in the press box of the New York Jets game Sunday at MetLife Stadium was kind of like a re-enactment of a high school class room with a substitute teacher. Someone yells out, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!” the famous line from “A Tale of Two Cities,” the historical novel written by Charles Dickens.

The Jets entered the fifth period tied 20-all with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Favored to win the game, the Jags had stomped the Baltimore Ravens the week before, 44-7. Now both teams struggled through highs and lows to achieve a victory. “We battled through some adversity there and overcame it, and were able to get this win,” said Jets quarterback Josh McCown, 22 of 31 for 224 yards with an interception on the day, most notably, a 75-yard touchdown handoff run by Bilal Powell and a 41-yard pass to receiver Robby Anderson. 

“Everybody had a hand in it, and it was fun,” said McCown. On defense, Kony Ealy, a defensive end picked up by the Jets after being waived by the New England Patriots during training camp, gets a lot of the credit. Ealy disrupted the play of Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville quarterback, blocking and then intercepting a Bortles pass late in the third quarter. Ealy, whose sister recently died, a matter that was kept private, was given the game ball.

It might have been fun for McCown and his crew, but not for fans when they gave up their 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. “Guys didn’t get down,” said head coach Todd Bowles, who sees the progress that his 2-2 team is making. “They didn’t blink. They fought back from adversity. It was a hard-fought win.” The 23-20 win against Jacksonville was their second in a row.

Since the season began, Bowles has referenced a play that a player would probably take back or would want to do over, but not Sunday. “We won the game,” he said. “I don’t think we’d win the game if I take any of those plays back,” he noted. “We came back and fought hard, so I’ll take them all.” 

The Jets added a slight tinge of excitement to their game, trying to take the lead entering halftime when kicker Lachlan Edwards faked their fourth-and-21 punt and threw a 30-yard pass to cornerback Marcus Williams, putting the ball on the Jaguars 22-yard line, but a delay of game penalty on Edwards cost the Jets 5 yards and kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s 45-yard attempt went wide left—10-all at the half.

“For the guys to stand up like that, for the defense to stand up like they did and play the way that they played, it was outstanding, and it speaks well of our team as far as the foundation that’s being laid by the coaches,” stated McCown about his relatively young team.

The Jets catch a break Sunday, having to play the winless Cleveland Browns (0-4), although it’s on the road. It pits two of the league’s two Black head coaches head to head, Bowles, in his third year with the Jets, and Hue Jackson for Cleveland, his second season.