New York Jets show progress, not perfection in victory over the Redskins

NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets continued to show progress in their 34-17 victory over the Washington Redskins. They’re not perfect, but the progress is encouraging.

The cloudy skies in Washington D.C. should have been a sign of things to come for the hapless Washington Redskins.

They looked to their running game but no one answered the door — Adrian Peterson had 25 total yards on the day. They looked to their passing game. No Cigar.

When the kicking team was called on to the field to cut into the New York Jets 20-3 halftime lead, the upright answered with a frowning disdain.

“Cynics will be cynics,” Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland said following the Jets 34-17 win over Washington; but the bottom line? It’s a win. “We can’t pick our opponents. We play who we’re scheduled to play,” Copeland would go on to wisely point out.

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The Jets have now put together a two-game win streak for the first time since the middle of last season, and it’s something to build upon, something to be positive about.

Speaking of positives, Sam Darnold had a career day, showing all the signs of the coveted franchise signal-caller the Jets have been lacking since a guy by the name of “Broadway” Joe Namath.

He was 19-of-30 for 293 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. Not bad for a second-year quarterback coming off a nasty bout with mononucleosis, a ravaged offensive line, and an overall depleted team in terms of overall depth.

Regardless, the Jets found a way.

Finally, the “next man up” mentality worked its way through the depleted receiving and defensive back corps, and some guys really shined like second-string tight end Ryan Griffin. Griffin finished the day with 109 yards and a touchdown.

The last Jet to put up those kinds of numbers in a single game? Yep, you guessed it. Dustin Keller way back in 2011. Yeah, it’s certainly been a while.

Cornerback Blessaun Austin, a sixth-round pick from Rutgers coming off a solid outing against the cross-river rival New York Giants, had a good game to follow it up.

“I’m not trying to take anyone’s job or anything. I’m just trying to contribute to the team the best I can, is all,” he said to reporters after the game.

We all respect the humble attitude ‘Bless, but we like what we’re seeing. We like it much, much better than what we’ve been accustomed to seeing from our cornerbacks in recent memory. Keep it up, buddy.

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Austin, originally projected to be a late first-round to early second-round pick in last year’s draft, had his stock fall significantly due to a pair of devastating injuries in his junior and senior years, respectively, at Rutgers.

But the Queens native has stayed positive and focused. He has been patient in his return to form, and it’s starting to pay dividends on the field.

Expect defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to put Austin in the starting rotation, should he continue to produce with the consistency he has shown the past two weeks.

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On the defensive side of the ball, Jamal Adams continues to show why he was chosen with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft class. He’s an extremely valuable asset not only to the Jets, but to the strong safety position across the entire National Football League.

With three sacks and four tackles, the self-proclaimed “president” was everywhere, which isn’t much of a surprise at this point.

His partner in crime, safety Marcus Maye, played well but gave up a few big catches that made rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins look like the second coming of Steve Young for a few moments.

Overall, though, it was a bad day for Haskins, who in his first career start since being named the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, just couldn’t seem to get anything going at all.

Haskins finished the day with 214 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Those numbers are deceiving, however, as almost all of them came in the late stages of the fourth quarter when Washington was attempting a comeback, but to no avail.

The Jets defense had its way with Haskins and company for the majority of the game, sacking him six times. It was a caps-off performance to Gregg Williams’ squad, and not too shabby for a defensive backfield missing nearly half of its starters. Next man up.

On the ground, Le’Veon Bell finally seemed to get going, looking like the former All-Pro from his days in Pittsburgh. Bell finished the day with 59 yards and a touchdown averaging nearly three yards per carry.

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  • He was relieved by Ty Montgomery and Bilal Powell in the backfield, with a few splashes of Josh Adams, whom was recently signed after being released from the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad.

    Overall, the offense was running on all cylinders in a way that made you think, “This is it. This is what we are capable of.”

    Everyone contributed, from Neville Hewitt catching an interception from Haskins to kicker Sam Ficken, who has been reliable and a far cry from the issues which overshadowed the team’s kicking situation for months.

    Watching Haskins out there making rookie type plays, rookie type mistakes, and mental blunders typical of a first-year starter, it should make us all very thankful that Darnold has already crossed that bridge, already endured his rookie season, and looks to be making some serious strides in the right direction.

    Mononucleosis is no joke. Losing your starting center, tackle, and guard isn’t easy on any quarterback in this league, let alone a second-year rookie learning his third system in three years.

    We must give credit where credit is rightfully due and sometimes it lies beyond the numbers and the statistics, the box scores and the scoreboard.

    If there is a “bigger picture” to be had here, it is that if for nothing else, this is what the Jets’ season was always about. Nurturing and growing their franchise signal-caller, grooming him into the future greatness we all clearly see he is capable of achieving, and trusting in the fact that there are always going to be growing pains.

    How we respond to these pains, how we learn from them and come out stronger, this is what matters.

    Yes, there are some very real flickers of hope, of light in the darkness that has been much of this season so far. As accustomed as we are to the heartache, pain, and confusion, we can all take solace in knowing that for the first time since a guy named Joe Namath was under center, there is real hope for things to come, for the franchise as a whole.

    That being said, at 3-7, playoff talks have calmed and subsided but finishing out the year strong, on an upward trend and on a good note, should be what’s most imperative for our squad.

    In an age of instant gratification, an age of expecting immediate results, we need to trust in the age-old process of developing the captain of our ship in hopes that being a perennial playoff contender isn’t actually all that far off.

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    Guys like Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning didn’t achieve success immediately. It takes time. Time to learn a system, establish a culture, time to grow not only as a player, but as a person.

    Time to grow not only as just a squad, but as a true team. A team to be respected and feared every single Sunday. Are we there yet? Absolutely not.

    Coaching takes time and these last two wins have shown that Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can come up with answers, having dropped sixty points in two weeks and a dozen sacks.

    Is it perfect? No, but perfection is a misleading term because people aren’t perfect. But when a group of 53 men from different backgrounds, lives, and positions come together in full unity to achieve a common goal, you can be unstoppable.

    So was this a win against a superior opponent? Not exactly, but it’s a win and it’s now two in a row. My fellow Gang Green faithful, hold your heads up high this week. Rock that throwback jacket to work. You deserve it for sticking with your team through all of the ups and downs.

    This is what real fans do.

    With the red hot Oakland Raiders coming to MetLife Stadium this weekend, you can count on both teams being hungry. The real question is, who will want it more; who will be hungrier?

    New York Jets: Top 5 performers in blowout win over Washington. Next

    Gentleman, your meals are ready, and they are wearing silver and black. You, we, have been starved, but we’re trending upwards and we believe in you.

    Come and feast. Come and get them. It’s Your time.