The Jets are playing their best football in December … much to their fans’ frustration.
The Jets won their second straight game, a 23-16 nail-biter over the Browns at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The win, coupled with the Jaguars’ loss to the Bears, gives the Jets the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, ending any hope of them drafting Clemson star Trevor Lawrence.
Jets coach Adam Gase is expected to be fired, but his team continues to play hard for him. After stunning the Rams a week ago, the Jets shocked the shorthanded Browns (10-5), who were trying to secure a playoff berth.
The Jets dominated early, but needed a fourth-and-1 stop late to seal the win.
After taking a 20-3 lead in the third quarter, the Jets saw their lead get chipped away by the Browns, who closed it to 20-16 in the fourth quarter.
With the Browns at the Jets’ 16, Baker Mayfield’s fumble on a fourth-and-1 sneak — the second straight drive he fumbled on — with 1:25 to play and the Jets improved to 2-13 this season with one game left.
The Browns had a few chances to take the lead late. With 4:05 left, they got the ball at their own 11 after a third consecutive Jets punt. But Tarell Basham forced a Mayfield fumble and John Franklin-Myers recovered at the Browns’ 17.
The Jets had to get the Browns to use their timeouts and run clock, but Sam Darnold made a critical mistake and threw the ball away on third down instead of just taking the sack and letting the clock run. Sam Ficken hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Jets a 23-17 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ficken kicked the ball out of bounds and the penalty gave the Brown the ball at their own 40 with 2:25 left to play, down seven points.
On first down, Mayfield threw a screen pass to Kareem Hunt, who went 24 yards to the Jets’ 36. They moved the ball to the Jets’ 25 on another pass and short run by Hunt. On third-and-10, Mayfield connected with tight end Austin Hooper for nine yards, setting up fourth-and-1 at the Jets’ 16.
Mayfield had sneaked successfully twice in the game. He tried it again on fourth-and-1, but fumbled the ball. Hunt recovered, but he is not allowed to advance the ball, so it was a change of possession and the Jets held.
The Jets offense stalled after scoring a touchdown on its first second-half possession to take a 20-3 lead. They had a blocked field goal and then three straight punts, keeping the Browns in the game and setting up the late dramatics.
The Jets started off the game in similar fashion to last week against the Rams with the defense holding the Browns to a three-and-out on their first series.
Cleveland managed a field goal on their second series to take a 3-0 lead.
The Jets offense started off slow with two punts before Gase went deep into the playbook for a trick play and it worked. The Jets lined Berrios up at tailback and tailback Ty Johnson as a wing. Darnold handed the ball off to Johnson who flipped it to Jamison Crowder, who then hit Berrios for a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 7-3 lead. It was Crowder’s second attempted pass in his career and first completion.
The Browns were playing without their top four wide receivers, who were all placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday. Still, the Browns entered the game with the No. 3 rushing offense in the NFL. But instead of leaning on Nick Chubb and Hunt early, the Browns tried throwing the ball. They ended up with four rushing yards on nine carries in the first half.
Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu came up with a big play in the second quarter, getting a strip sack of Mayfield that defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi recovered at the Browns 30. Darnold converted the turnover into a touchdown, hitting tight end Chris Herndon for an 11-yard score. Former Jet Sheldon Richardson blocked the extra point, his first of two blocked kicks in the game, to keep the score 13-3 with 13:33 left in the first half.
The Browns missed a 61-yard field goal attempt to end the first half and the score remained 13-3 at halftime.
The Jets opened the third quarter with the ball and went 75 yards on eight plays, capped off with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Crowder, giving Crowder a passing and receiving touchdown in the game. The score put the Jets up 20-3, but the Browns were not done.
Richardson blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by Sam Ficken, giving the Browns the ball at their own 40 with 5:41 left in the third quarter. Mayfield moved them 60 yards on nine plays and Chubb plunged in from the 1-yard line to make it 20-10 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
The Browns then forced a three-and-out from the Jets and got the ball back at their own 17-yard line. The Browns moved the ball down the field, but it looked like the Jets could at least hold them to a field goal after a third-and-10 Mayfield pass from the Jets’ 26 fell incomplete, but Jets cornerback Bless Austin was called for pass interference. The penalty gave the Browns new life and they completed the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Hunt. The drive was 12 plays and went 72 yards. Browns kicker Cody Parkey missed the extra point to keep it a two-score game at 20-16.
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