Anyone who can figure out the Jets might want to apply for a job sorting out the messes in Washington or the Middle East because they are pretty confounding to the rest of us.
A week after barely competing in a 49-9 loss to the Bengals, the Jets rallied from an early 14-6 hole and knocked off the Saints to improve to 5-4 on the season. The 26-20 win continues the Jets’ run of alternating wins and losses, a formula that’s maddening but also keeps a team in the Wild Card hunt well past the point that many thought they’d be starting to make a list of head coaching candidates to replace Rex Ryan.
Seven games remain, but it is hard to see Ryan going anywhere. The team veers wildly in performance from one week to another, but the good version features a defense that made Drew Brees look ordinary for most of Sunday and plays hard enough on offense to make up for the fact that there’s very little talent at skill positions other than running back. The Jets lost Jeremy Kerley on Sunday, causing their passing offense to pretty much disappear, but Chris Ivory ran for 139 yards and a touchdown and the Jets avoided turnovers all afternoon.
The Saints got plenty of time with the ball in the second half, but scored just two field goals as they failed time and again on key downs. Facing third-and-inches early in the fourth quarter, Sean Payton opted for a pass to fullback Jed Collins that fell incomplete and an end around to tight end Josh Hill that was blown up in the backfield by Jets defensive end Quinton Coples. Coples then thwarted the Saints’ last stand as he broke through and forced Brees to throw incomplete on 4th-and-19 with just over a minute to play.
Shortly before the Saints failed on the two short yardage plays, they got a gift call from referee Clete Blakeman who called a personal foul on Jets safety Josh Bush for a form tackle around Brees’ waist as Brees delivered a pass. The call was actually for diving at Brees’ knees, which suggests Blackman’s loved ones buy him an anatomy book for the holidays because Bush was as close to Brees’ knees as one’s elbow is to his…
The call thankfully had no bearing on the outcome, but the NFL’s attempt to make the game safer only cheapens it if players are penalized for wrapping up even star quarterbacks with perfectly legal hits that should be on the league’s teaching videos.
It will be a bit before we find out if the Jets can actually string together a winning streak because of the bye week, but a spot in the playoff chase is theirs for the taking if they can win in Buffalo in a couple of weeks. That would be two weeks from now, so that might mean the good Jets show up once again.