Jets’ answer to critics was unity

Rex Ryan

The schedule said Week 6, but the fate of the Jets season was very much in the balance. Their 24-6 win against the Dolphins should infuse some much needed swagger back into this team.

Things were looking good for the Jets to start the season. A comeback victory in Week 1 over the Cowboys was followed by a dominating win against Jacksonville. But just as Jets fans began to believe that this could be the year to end four-plus decades of misery, the slide began. Three straight losses on the road all of a sudden turned promise into a season on the brink. The ledge was suddenly filled with Jets fans ready to jump.

But against a team they had to beat, the Jets stepped up and got the win.

“We needed a win in the worst way,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “Just happy we found a way to get one.”

The Jets answered the bell in sending the Dolphins to a 0-5 mark, amidst all the talk about their stale offense and fans disgust at offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

It wasn’t a perfect performance. The offense started slowly – failing to get a first down until well into the second quarter. There was also a bad special teams play by Garrett McIntyre in the first quarter. He unwittingly made contact with the ball on a kickoff, a gaffe that led to a turnover. And the defense gave up 215 yards of total offense in the first half to backup quarterback Matt Moore. But the Jets turned jeers to cheers with a win on Monday night.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez said it was “crazy” to think that this locker room was splintering with all the losing. Instead, he said the team “was hungry for a win.”

“I think we realized what we’re capable of. We did it through practice; we had a great week of practice,” running back Shonn Greene said. “When stuff like that happens, it’s great to see.”

It could have been easy for the Jets to let their losing skid get the best of them. Earlier this week, they traded disgruntled wide receiver Derrick Mason in a move that management and Ryan said was based on the player’s on-field performance and not his recent outburst about the offense’s poor performance. Two days later, Santonio Holmes called out the offensive line for poor play. Guard Brandon Moore fired back at Holmes in the media.

It looked like the Jets were unraveling.

There was drama, finger pointing and enough ill will to qualify the entire Jets locker room for Congress. But somehow, they overcame all that for an emphatic win. Right tackle Wayne Hunter told Metro that the message from Ryan all week was one of unity.

“Morale was down after the three game losing streak. Us getting us a win, this picks us back up,” Hunter said. “Just pick it up, that was the message, just pick it up; pick each other up. Trust – that was from Rex, trust in each other and trust in yourselves.”

As Holmes and Moore walked side-by-side to take the coin toss – a vintage move by Ryan – there was a quiet sense of confidence about this team. Even after the Jets went down early to the Dolphins, and the boos began to rain down after their first four possessions resulted in three-and-outs, the Jets didn’t waver. There was no temper tantrum, no hissy fits and no name calling.

Instead, they answered with plays. First with a Darrelle Revis first quarter interception and a 100-yard touchdown return to atone for McIntyre’s special teams blunder. Then, it was Sanchez systematically marching the team down the field 81 yards in 11 plays for a second quarter touchdown drive.

There is a certain strain of character that pops through these Jets, even though it seems like the locker room is ready to fracture at any moment. A despondent group of Jets last Sunday in Foxboro, Mass. gave way to giddiness on the sidelines Monday night, with Holmes kidding around with his teammates and shout-outs replacing players being called out. A win can change a lot of things for any team, and it might be just what the Jets need to finally begin reaching their potential.

Critics inside and outside the team may have grabbed the headlines for the past week, but the Jets weren’t too worried about all of that. They worried about themselves.

“I think we answered our own, doing it for ourselves. We’re not too worried about what the critics had to say,” Greene said. “We know what we’re capable of.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…