Today is the 45th day since Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles in four plays and left the entire NY Jets organization and fanbase questioning their entire existence.
Despite a win, it seemed like the win occurred at the ultimate cost. Two weeks after that, I think fans were willing to trade back that Week 1 miracle victory to have the signal caller we were promised.
Now, the Jets are 3-3, and it seems like the organization, media, and fans alike have all been rejuvenated. In this gauntlet versus six uber-talented teams, there was hope to remain 3-3 or better with Rodgers at the helm.
To be 3-3 without Rodgers?! Including a win over a Philadelphia Eagles team that just made the Super Bowl last year and has beaten every other team they've faced — what a feat!
So what has it been? Did Zach Wilson turn a corner after a tumultuous start to his career? Was the unleashing of Breece Hall the catalyst for this sudden turnaround? Perhaps the All-Pro caliber play of Quincy Williams and Bryce Huff on the other side of the ball? The answer is simple:
The NY Jets are forcing turnovers on defense
Points Per Game
Points Allowed Per G
Jets with 2+ takeaways
Jets with <2 takeaways
In all six games, the Jets offense has had under 250 passing yards and no more than two offensive touchdowns. The Jets have only three rushing touchdowns all year. So far, nothing on this side of the ball has really jumpstarted the team outside of a few drives vs. Kansas City getting the crowd involved.
The Jets' prolific takeaway rate (T-1st in the league in takeaways per game) gives the team's struggling offense the ball with advantageous field position repeatedly. Even without the Jets being able to take advantage (worst red-zone touchdown percentage in the league), the field goals pile up, and the Jets have been able to win as a result.
In some cases, we've even seen the defense or special teams score a touchdown to put that nail in the coffin. The Jets have the least amount of offensive touchdowns in the league but are the only team in the league to force more than one safety this season.
The defense has continued to find ways to score points while also taking the ball away from other teams to prevent them from catching up.
The last game without 2+ takeaways was Week 3's loss against the Patriots. Will there be a game where the defense is unable to secure 2+ takeaways, and the Jets still win?
Only time will tell, but the last time that happened with Zach Wilson at the helm was last year's win against the Broncos, where Breece Hall scored the lone touchdown of the game, and Robert Saleh's defense forced one turnover.
In three years, the only time Zach Wilson has won an NFL game without his defense getting at least one turnover was all the way back in Week 4 of his rookie season when the Jets beat the Titans in overtime. Moral of the story? Take the ball away, or the game will be given away — it's that simple.