After an embarrassing showing against the Baltimore Ravens at home, no one expected the Jets to put up a fight against a Browns squad looking to start 2-0 for the first time in nearly 30 years. Fortunately for the Jets, they didn’t just put up a fight. They shocked the NFL world.
The first drive started as you’d expect from a Joe Flacco led offense: three and out. Jacoby Brissett then led a methodical 90 yard drive ending in a Nick Chubb touchdown, his first of three on the day. The Jets looked like they would punt again, but punter Braden Mann converted a fake punt that extended the drive. The drive ended with Flacco lofting a perfect pass to rookie receiver Garrett Wilson for his first career touchdown. Wilson then stared down a trash-talking Cleveland fan as respectfully as he could.
Amari Cooper scored on the Browns’ next drive, and Joe Flacco proceeded to fumble in the red zone. It looked like the game would get out of hand as the Browns would get the ball to start the second half, but the Jets’ defense held, leading to a Breece Hall touchdown (also the first of his career), and the game was tied 14-14 going into halftime.
The Jets and Browns exchanged field goals in the third, making it 17-17 in the fourth quarter, but the Browns drove down the field once again, and Chubb punched it in from seven yards out. Both teams punted, and the Jets found themselves with the ball inside their ten-yard line with 4:07 remaining. Flacco hit tight end Tyler Conklin on a slant, but he fumbled, and fourth round rookie tackle Max Mitchell dove on the ball. Little did the Jets know that Mitchell made the biggest play of his young career and saved the game for them.
Gang Green ended up punting, and they had a chance to knock the Browns out of field goal range on 3rd and 7, but Kareem Hunt converted. After another Hunt first down, Nick Chubb completed the hat trick, scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon with 1:55 remaining, surely putting the Jets away and ending their misery. Right? Well, not if Joe Flacco had anything to say about it.
Down 30-17 with less than two minutes and no timeouts remaining, Flacco led a two play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 66-yard touchdown by Corey Davis. Now down six with 1:22 left, the Jets had to attempt an onside kick. Braden Mann swept the leg, and special teams captain Justin Hardee recovered the kick, giving Broadway Joe a chance to be the hero.
Joe Flacco led the Jets down the field with passes to Michael Carter, Tyler Conklin, and Garrett Wilson, and on 3rd and 10 from the Browns’ 15-yard line, Flacco hit Wilson in stride and he walked into the endzone. Touchdown. Greg Zuerlein gave the Jets a one point lead with the extra point as AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Cade York missed the extra point on the Browns’ final touchdown. The comeback was nearly complete, the Jets just had to get one stop.
Jacoby Brissett gave the Browns some life with a 21 yard scramble that took the Browns to midfield, but third year safety Ashtyn Davis, who was on the roster bubble for most of the summer, made the biggest play of his career with an interception of Brissett, sealing the game. The comeback was complete. The Jets won 31-30.
The craziest thing from this game is that after the Chubb touchdown, the Browns had a 99.9% chance of winning this game, and they still found a way to lose. In hindsight, instead of scoring the last touchdown, Chubb could have slid inbounds and the Browns would have been able to kneel it out, but that obviously didn’t happen. From the Jets’ side of things, this was a massive win for them. The last time Gang Green won a game in September was Sam Darnold’s first game in 2018, when they beat the Lions 48-17, and this is the first time the Jets have been at .500 since that same season. Joe Flacco obviously quarterbacked the Jets to victory with 307 yards and four touchdowns, but the Jets’ rookies shined the brightest for this young team, particularly within the skill positions. Garrett Wilson was the hero with eight receptions, 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner, and Breece Hall had 60 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on over seven yards per carry. Now sitting at 1-1, the Jets will head back home to face an 0-2 Bengals squad in front of what will surely be a raucous MetLife Stadium.
Photo Courtesy of the New York Post