The New York Jets scored the surprising upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but are we really happy about that? Let’s discuss.
Times are weird for New York Jets fans.
On one hand, the Jets just pulled off a pretty monumental upset against a quality team and played playoff spoiler to their “visiting” (in title only) adversaries. And with a victory next week over a Buffalo Bills team with nothing to play for, the Jets could somehow finish this season with a 7-9 record.
That should feel like an accomplishment — especially after the Jets limped their way to a 1-7 record over the first eight games.
But does it?
I’m genuinely asking here because there will always be a difference in opinion amongst the fanbase. Some view every win as a victory no matter the circumstances, and that’s perfectly fine.
It isn’t fun to root for your favorite team to lose and it’s much easier to simply cheer for a victory regardless of the consequences.
But to me, something just doesn’t seem right.
Sure it was incredible to silence the Steelers fans in attendance on Sunday and potentially spoil what has been a pretty magical season for that organization. It felt good to see the defense wreak havoc on Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph all game long.
It felt good to win.
But something about it feels hollow. Like there’s something preventing a feeling a true joy ahead of the holiday season.
Is there an antonym for a silver lining? Perhaps, bittersweet is the best way to describe it.
The Jets won on Sunday but they did so on the heels of a dominant defensive performance against a lowly Steelers offense. The offensive woes past the opening drive script were as evident and ever and we didn’t even have a signature Sam Darnold performance to make up for it.
Darnold was fine, but he missed some throws. Outside of a beautiful 23-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson on that first drive, he looked subpar. That’s to be expected against a stellar Steelers defense, but the offensive play-calling certainly didn’t help matters.
And yet, the Jets could waltz into Buffalo next week, defeat a Bills team that could very well be resting their starters, and cruise to a 7-9 record on the season. Who saw that coming?
Again, it feels like that’s something we should be proud of — and maybe you are. The Jets rallied behind what seemed like a lame-duck coach and played themselves to a 5-2 record down the stretch (pending next week’s result) and finished the year strong.
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For a young, rebuilding team, that would almost always be a major accomplishment.
But I can’t help but feel like the Jets could have been more. They could have done more. Backing your way into a 7-9 record by beating a few bad teams and a Bills squad locked into the five seed just doesn’t sit right with me.
The Jets had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this season and truth be told, were a lot closer to the postseason than many would believe this season.
If the Jets won two out of three games against the 1-15 Cincinnati Bengals, 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars, and 4-12 Miami Dolphins, they’re fighting for a playoff spot this Sunday. If they won all three, they’re likely in the postseason.
Instead, the Jets lost those three games by a combined 38 points and failed to look competitive in any of them. That’s not on injuries either, that’s on an ill-prepared coaching staff and underperforming players.
The path to the playoffs was pretty simple — beat the bad teams and you’re in. The Jets couldn’t do that and that’s why we’ll sit at home watching 12 other teams compete this January for yet another year.
Maybe that’s why I’m bitter. It can be easy to get excited about a solitary win — especially one against a good team — but what does it all mean in the end?
I’m no more convinced that Adam Gase is the right coach for the job following that Pittsburgh game. But perhaps Christopher Johnson is.
It’s easier to ignore the future and focus on the euphoric rush of your favorite team winning, but it isn’t always the most productive. But that ultimately isn’t for me to decide — that’s just where my mental state is.
I’d love to hear from all of the other members of Jets Nation. How are you all feeling about Sunday’s win? Are you still feeling the rush of another Victory Monday or are you a bit more cynical like me?