JETS 31 / BROWNS 28
The Jets proved one thing on Sunday afternoon, you can play well for only half the game and still win, especially when the opponent is the Cleveland Browns.
For an entire first half the Jets played like a team that was totally disconnected and unprepared for the Cleveland Browns. They were out-gained, out maneuvered and out coached at times in the first half against a desperate football team.
Cleveland built a 20-7 halftime lead on the Jets, and it could have been much more had the Browns not stalled at the Jets 10-yard line in a goal-line situation with 47 seconds to go before the half. The Browns could have easily put the Jets away with a touchdown that would have made it 24-7, but, no, these are the Browns after all. They gained only one net yard inside the ten and kicked.
Earlier in the half, Cleveland tore up the Jets defense on three long scoring drives. The Browns opened the game with an eight play 75-yard scoring drive as Josh McCown was zipping the football all over the field. He hit Gary Barnidge for 32-yards on the first play of the game. Later, McCown connected with Terrell Pryor for 24-yards to the Jets 19. Three plays later, Cleveland was in the end zone on a Andrew Hawkins touchdown catch from McCown to make it 7-0.
The Browns would take a 10-0 lead on the Jets, the third straight game in which the Jets fell behind by double-digits in the first half, before New York finally put something together on Bilal Powell's 35-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline that cut the deficit to 10-7.
Yet that one play was the only offense by New York in the first half. They wouldn't advance the ball much at all for the rest of the second quarter. A big reason for that was the poor play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed only three passes in 14 attempts. New York as an offense gained only 106 yards in the first half.
Whatever head coach Todd Bowles said at halftime it worked. After the game, Bowles downplayed his message to the team, but threw in a couple of F-bombs during his press conference. Clearly the coach was not happy with the performance, in spite of the victory.
Bowles had to have lit a fire under his team, because they came out like gangbusters in the second half. New York opened the half with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes of action, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown by receiver Quincy Enunwa.
Enunwa had a heck of a second half. He led the team with 93 yards receiving on four catches, and his 57-yard catch down the middle of the field set the Jets on fire on their next third quarter possession. The monster grab by Enunwa turned the field over 180 degrees for the Jets, who were now poised to score from the Browns 13-yard line. New York would push all the way down to the Browns' four-yard line before going for it on fourth and one with Matt Forte. Forte plunged into the pile and broke free of some tacklers before scoring standing up to give the Jets a 21-20 lead.
New York later scored its third straight touchdown when Forte scored again, this time from two yards out to give the Jets a 28-20 lead. The score completed a 13-play 81-yard drive. Forte finished the afternoon with 82-yards on 25 carries and two scores.
With the lead, the Jets defense started to play inspired football. They held Cleveland to just 51-yards on their first four possessions of the second half, and forced two interceptions of McCown.
While the Jets inked out the win, this was a game that should never have been this close, considering the opponent. The Jets put themselves behind the eight ball early, a formula that has not worked well for them obviously this season. The Jets know they need to play better next week in Miami. That being said, New York is 3-5, and still with a heartbeat in this 2016 season.