Berea, OH– No one said this game would be easy. In fact, with the Browns coming off back-to-back double digit wins against the Saints and Patriots, it was just the opposite. The Browns have managed to field themselves quite a talented football team that will causes problems for any team in the league, but couldn’t cause enough problems to beat the Jets.
Obviously the Jets and their fans were hoping for a much easier and less stressful game, but it’s becoming clear that’s not how these Jets like to do things.
Last week, the Jets were beat through 55 minutes of football, before storming back to win in overtime, today it was the Jets who let the opposition hang around too long, but in the end the result was the same. The Jets got to tack on another W in that win column and they now stand at 7-2. They acknowledge they are still making too many mistakes, but are more than happy to settle for a win, no matter how long they have to play to get it.
“Man the Browns (sigh), boy they played tough, that was one heck of a football game.” Rex Ryan said after the game, “We knew it was going to be tough, there was no question it was going to be tough. We’re far from perfect, there’s no question about it, but we’re 7-2, so we’ll take it.”
“It’s a win, it’s a win. I like being 7-2 and that’s the most important thing that we need to like, but we also like to win these games in regulation, that’d be nice.” Mark Sanchez said, “So that’s the focus for next week, is to start fast. You know those first couple of drives, get rolling a little bit and then try to sustain and not have to make that big push at the end, but I’m glad when we needed it we did.”
Winning close tough road games in a variety of ways is the sign of a great football team and this Jets team just keeps fighting and finding new ways to pull out road victories. The Jets improve their road record on the season to 5-0 and won their eighth straight regular-season win going back to last season.
“What is that eight in a row on the road, in regular-season games? So that talks to you, if you want to win games on the road, you bring a good football team and that’s what we have.” Ryan said, “You talk about how resilient this football team is, that’s two road games in a row, in overtime and that’s about as tough as it gets, but we found ways to get it done.”
Ryan said, “This sounds, you know whatever, but I thought we had the best team and I just thought that we could go into overtime, I felt good that if we got the ball that we could drive it and win the game offensively. I also thought that if we had to kickoff, that we’d be kicking off with the wind and it’s going to be hard to drive the distance into the wind to kick a field-goal to beat us, so I felt good about going into overtime.”
Obviously it’s easy for Ryan to talk about the confidence he had after the fact, but even with the Jets giving up the late lead and the Browns seemingly seizing momentum it’s hard to imagine Ryan wasn’t fully confident in his teams ability to do whatever it was going to take to win the game, after all the Jets seem to only get stronger as the clock winds down. Still confidence isn’t enough, the players have to back up that confidence and once again they pulled it off and the more games they win like this the more their confidence grows.
“I’m just proud of our effort really. Again, two weeks in a row, but this is an easy game to get caught-up in that roller-coaster and to try and force something, to you know, I thought Schotty did a great job managing the clock, even at the end of the game, knowing we’re playing for overtime not trying to do anything too special there.” Sanchez said, “Just being ourselves and making plays at the end, but this is an easy game to lose, an easy game to lose and one mistake could have cost it for us, but we were resilient for another week and we’ll take the win.”
This game was an extremely important game, not only because every game is of the utmost importance when you have Super Bowl aspirations, but also because of all the extra subplots and personal grudge matches taking place in this game.
Rex Ryan was coaching against his twin brother and the coach who preceded him with the Jets in Eric Mangini. Braylon Edwards and Brodney Pool both played for the Browns last season and the Browns roster is littered with ex-Jets. So as much as this game was as important as every other game from a technical standpoint, there is no doubt this win meant a little more to certain members of the organization.
“Clearly there’s a lot of guys, it wasn’t just personal for me, it was personal for a lot of guys and like I told those guys this is, … at one o’clock they are nameless, faceless objects and that’s what you have to treat it as.” Ryan said, “Whether it’s your twin brother, whether it’s whoever, your friend, makes no difference we had a job to do and our goal is to be a champion and we got to find ways to get it done and that’s what we did.”
“There were a lot of guys that this was a slightly bigger game for then the team as a whole, but as a whole it’s a huge win for us.” Edwards said, “We got past a good opponent to move to 7-2 and at the same time, Rex got to beat his brother, I got to get a win, Brodney (Pool) got to get a win, but I think that the reason we were able to maintain was because we kept our personal issues aside today. We played for the betterment of the Jets organization.”
The running game wore down the Browns defense and Sanchez did a remarkable job of overcoming a calf injury and making the plays when they needed it, but once again this game was won because of a play by Santonio Holmes. Holmes missed the first four games of the season due to suspension and clearly struggled to find a rhythm in his first couple of games back, but his comfort level is clearly growing and Jets fans are beginning to understand just how talented and clutch the former Super Bowl MVP is.
“He can make a play to beat you. He can be quiet all day and make one or two plays to beat you and I’ll tell you what? You’ll see guys, you ought to see the look in that young man’s eyes when the fourth-quarter comes rolling around, cause that’s Santonio time.” Ryan said, “He’s a game-changer, he’s a winner, he finds ways to get it done and again that’s two straight games that he’s really found a way. We were kidding him in the locker room we thought that linebacker was closing on him just like he did last week, but it’s a great job to find a way to get in there and just, you know, great players make great plays in the crucial times and that’s what he did.”
Even on a day where he had been relatively quiet all game, it didn’t matter Holmes was ready to pounce on the opportunity to win the game when it was there for him.
“I’m just always staying aggressive, I never get down on myself if I don’t touch the ball throughout the whole first, second, third-quarter. (I) Just know that my quarterback at some point is going to need me in the game and when he looks at me, I just have to be ready and at every time in the fourth-quarter, in overtime, whenever the game counts I’m going to be that guy that’s always ready.” Holmes said.
As for that final game-winning play Holmes said, “Once I saw the ball leave Mark’s hand, my job was to at least get a first-down in the whole motion of that play and when I saw the safety step up and he just went flat-footed, I just knew to just take off on him. I didn’t want to hesitate any longer and I’m pretty sure that if I would’ve that they would’ve made a stop and we would have been battling for a field-goal and I definitely didn’t want that to happen this time.”
“That’s what the game is all about and since day one, when I first got here, that’s all I kept telling those guys. This game is way bigger than what we think it is, when things breakdown, when things go wrong it’s okay.” Holmes said, “I’m always on the sideline dapping my offensive lineman up, wide receivers, tight-ends, running backs (and) the quarterback. When we get ourselves in situations every thing’s going to be okay, we got a great offensive coordinator, we got a great group of guys on our offense that believe that we can get the job done, no matter what the situation is and we just keep fighting.”
And fight is exactly what this Jets team did yet again, the Jets are showing plenty of self-inflicted flaws, but one thing that can’t be questioned is the amount of fight this team has in it and that alone gives them all the confidence they need to win, no matter how good or bad things might look.
“The only thing that matters is how many wins you got and how many losses you got, that’s what they add up in the end and nobody knows whether you win by two points, one point, whatever it is, it really doesn’t matter.” Ryan Said.
There is still plenty of work for the Jets to do and plenty of mistakes to cut out and corrections to be made, but at the end of the day the Jets just keep finding ways to win and it’s clear that they don’t care how they win, just as long as they do.
All of this adds up to the players always expecting to win every game, not just before the game or when they have a lead, but even when they are losing.
Regardless of how much they are down by or how little time is left on the clock this Jets team knows they can pullout the win and they know this because they keep doing it week after week.
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