John is going to be here with the official recap soon enough, but right now I just wanted to get a few thoughts down.
Every single year we root for the Jets, regardless of who pulls on the jersey. However while watching the game today I just wondered, is this the easiest team to root for during the Rex Ryan era?
Right now the whole team has a Us-Against-The-World mentality, and that is something that endears a team to the fans hearts. At no point today did this team give up, at no point today did this team look defeated. It all comes from the players on the field.
I'm looking at Geno Smith. A likeable guy that battled early struggles and never lost his composure. A guy who was ready to go when all the cards were stacked against him on that final drive. Sure he made some mistakes, but the crowd stayed behind him. He took a sack for a loss of 19 yards that was crippling. He made a mistake on the interception, but took full responsibility for it. He lost a fumble, but came roaring back.
I'm looking at you Nick Mangold, Jeff Cumberland and Stephen Hill. All three of these guys took hard shots, especially Cumberland and Hill. All three got it checked out and re-entered the game. That shows toughness and dedication, and if you can't support a team where players put it all on the line for the victory, well then you shouldn't be watching sports.
I'm looking at you, the whole defense. Come on, these guys were unbelievable. Against a great back in Martin, and Williams and Jackson outside. Jackson had 154 yards and that's a massive number, but he is an elite receiver and we kept him out of the end-zone. We sacked Freeman three times, intercepted him once, forced one fumble and pressured him numerous times. Now imagine when we bring Coples back into this front. Yes, you're allowed to get excited.
How about the offense, our weak link, the unit that will be our downfall. Growing pains, absolutely. However we also moved the chains 22 times to Tampa's 12. Our rookie QB may have struggled early, but he came back to fire a TD to cut the deficit and lead the team to a 4th quarter lead, and then his decision to bring the ball down and head for the sideline put us in position to win this football game.
This isn't a brash trash talking unit, this is a team that believes in each other and a team that wants to improve day-by-day. They know it's going to be tough, I don't think anyone is under any illusions to that. However they keep fighting. Every single snap, people were coming up field in a hurry. Hitting hard. Playing to the whistle.
People don't like the Jets? who cares! We haven't done a thing wrong. We don't have a team full of thugs. We don't play dirty and we don't talk any more trash than any other team. However let people keep doubting us, as it looks as though this team is playing for themselves and for each other, not for lines in sports pages.
This is a very easy team to root for, it has passion, dedication, a positive mentality and a high work ethic. I love that, and any NFL fan who doesn't have an agenda be it a competitive one or a personal one should too.
We are quick to jump on our players, but I'm sitting here with not a negative thought in my mind. Well done Stephen Hill who stood tough and showed some good hands en-route to his 6 catch performance. Well done Demario Davis who led the team along with Harris and Sheldon Richardson with 7 total tackles and a game saving tackle on Jackson at the end of the 4th quarter. Well done Kellen Winslow, people said you were done but 7 receptions, 79 yards and a score, yeah that's not a bad opener. Well done Nick Folk, questions were raised but you drilled that game-winner with authority.
This team plays to the end, so we got a break with a stupid penalty - it happens! Doesn't make this win any less deserved or any less valuable. Bask in it Jets fans, after all we've been through we deserve this one. Then tomorrow we'll take a look at the trip to New England.