We’ve been looking at every safety recorded by the Jets in team history. In part one, we covered the period from when the team was founded up to 1992. Today, we wrap up with details of every safety from 1993 onwards.
A memorable game saw Eric Allen’s incredible length of the field interception return providing the winning score in a 35-30 loss to the Eagles. The Jets had blown a 21-0 lead despite the fact that Randall Cunningham got injured and replaced by future Jet Bubby Brister. With the scores tied at 28-28 Brister was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. The score wasn’t credited to a Jets player but Brister was under heavy pressure from Marvin Washington.
Ex-Giants lineman Erik Howard was one of those end-of-career veterans that the Jets loaded up on in the mid-nineties only to end up regretting it. His sack early on in the game against the Panthers pulled the Jets to within 3-2 but they ended up losing 26-15 - the first win in Carolina’s history.
The Jets won a franchise-best 12 games in 1998 and linebacker Bryan Cox was a big part of that effort. He got on the scoreboard on a sack that helped the Jets to a 48-21 blowout over the Panthers.
The Jets were awarded a safety late in the first half in the season opener against New England, taking a 16-10 lead as the Patriots snapped the ball through the end zone. This game was memorable for the fact that Vinny Testaverde got injured so the Jets put their punter, Tom Tupa, in as an emergency quarterback and he threw for 165 yards and two scores. The effort came up short as the Patriots took the lead in the third quarter and held on for a 30-28 win.
The Jets got two points against Miami when their former punter Matt Turk fumbled a snap in the end zone, pulling them within 20-15. They lost 23-21 on a last second field goal though.
After going seven years without a safety, the Jets had multiple safeties in a year for the first time in their history in 2010. Trevor Pryce iced a 26-10 win over the Bengals with a late sack and then, three weeks later, Jason Taylor iced a 22-17 win over the Steelers with a late run stuff. They then also got one against the Steelers in the playoffs one play after Pittsburgh’s memorable goal line stand, as Mike Devito stuffed Ben Roethlisberger before he could get the ball out of the end zone.
The Jets had a record three safeties in the regular season the following year, the first of which came on Muhammad Wilkerson’s first career sack early in a blowout win over the Jaguars. The Jets were also awarded a safety in a 37-16 loss to New England when Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, under pressure from Jamaal Westerman. Finally, nose tackle Sione Po’uha blew up a run for a safety to ice another blowout win; this time 37-10 over the Chiefs.
A future Jet gave them two points on Thanksgiving when Stevan Ridley was called for an illegal chop block in the end zone as he picked up a Demario Davis blitz. Unfortunately, the Jets were already 35-5 down after a memorably forgettable first half. New England ultimately won 49-19.
The opening score of the 2013 season proved to be important as the Jets ultimately won 18-17 when a Lavonte David penalty on a debuting Geno Smith got the Jets into field goal range. That first score came on a bad snap which Josh Freeman was just about able to kick through the end zone before Antwan Barnes fell on it.
One of Sheldon Richardson’s signature moments as a Jet came as he chased Vikings receiver Jairus Wright the length of the field on his 87-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime. A futile act, but a sign of his never-say-die attitude at that stage of his career. Earlier on in the same game, Richardson had sacked future Jet Teddy Bridgewater to cut Minnesota’s lead to 7-2.
After four seasons without one, the Jets registered a safety in the season opener last year, as Brian Poole was credited with the stop to give the Jets an 8-0 lead. They went on to blow a 16-0 lead and lost 17-16. Later in the year, James Burgess was also credited with a safety as he prevented Ryan Fitzpatrick from getting out of the end zone to cut Miami’s lead to 21-9. The Dolphins held on for a 26-18 win.
By our count, that’s 32 regular season safeties in 60 years for the Jets, who have only had more than one in a season three times.
Officially, Marty Lyons is the only player in franchise history to record two safeties, although Marvin Washington also was credited with one and caused another. 11 of the 32 scores were not credited to a Jets player.
Safeties seem to have a tendency to come in bunches. For the first 20 years of their existence the Jets never recorded safeties in consecutive years. However, four years after they did for the first time, they began a streak of seven straight years with one. Then, at the start of the last decade, having gone seven years without recording a safety, the Jets suddenly racked up six in a 13-month span.
While a Jets safety has proved crucial to the outcome of a game a few times, it’s mostly had little to no effect on the result. In fact, the Jets have won fewer than half of their regular season games (15 of 32) in which they recorded one.
Here’s hoping for more crucial safeties over the years to come!