The New York Jets‘ unlikely run toward contention in the AFC East continued on Sunday with a 17-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Quarterback Josh McCown passed for both of New York’s touchdowns on the afternoon while completing 23-of-30 passes as a surprising game manager.
The Jets benefitted from Cleveland’s lack of killer instincts as the Browns outgained the Jets 419-212 on the afternoon, but could only muster two scores.
With the Jets up 10 in the final two minutes, Cleveland did make it interesting when backup Kevin Hogan, who was called in for struggling rookie DeShone Kizer, hit running back Duke Johnson for a 41-yard touchdown with 1:49 to go.
Their attempt at an onside kick came up empty though as the Jets were able to run out the clock to preserve the win.
Both offenses were useless in the first quarter, as the two teams combined for just 76 total yards. The Jets had just 15 in the scoreless frame.
The scoreboard remained empty until the final seconds of halftime, though the Browns missed a pair of solid opportunities to put some kind of points on the board.
With five minutes gone in the second quarter, Zane Gonzalez missed a 52-yard field goal attempt.
On their next drive, Cleveland drove all the way down to the Jets four, but Kizer was intercepted by Marcus Maye at the goal line to get New York out of trouble.
It eliminated a lengthy 11-play drive that began at the Jets’ 49-yard-line.
Gonzalez’s inaccuracy struck again with 35 seconds left in the half when he missed a 39-yard field goal.
Their best performer of the half turned out to be rookie defensive end Myles Garrett, who took down McCown twice in the opening 30 minutes.
Meanwhile the Jets had just 67 total yards at the half, but still went into the break with the lead as Chandler Catanzaro, last week’s hero, nailed a 57-yard field goal as time expired.
That was all for the Kizer, who was benched at halftime after recording just 87 yards.
The move initially worked as Hogan drove the Browns 75 yards in 6:30 to give the hosts a lead. Hogan hit rookie tight end David Njoku, who made a spectacular one-handed catch for a 21-yard score.
It was the first time all season that the Browns held a lead at any point in any game.
That lead wouldn’t last long as Hogan came crashing back down to earth. The quarterback was picked off by Morris Claiborne on Cleveland’s next drive, allowing the Jets to start in deep in Browns territory.
Two plays later, the Jets were back in the lead when McCown hit tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins from two yards out.
New York further extended its lead in the fourth when McCown connected with Jermaine Kearse from 24 yards out for the receiver’s third touchdown of the year with 8:35 to go.