There is something about this Jets team — popularly picked in preseason to be the league’s worst and hailed with every negative adjective in the dictionary.
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for these Jets, who instead have flipped the script en route to their current 4-3 record. Against the Patriots, they overcame a dreadful first half and 21-10 halftime deficit to limit the Patriots offense to two field goals in the second half in another dramatic win.
It was a “great team effort” according to head coach Rex Ryan, who for the first time in his life might be accused of being understated.
“We don’t care how people look at us, as long as our fans know that this team right here is going to compete every single day — and that’s in the class room and everything else,” Ryan said. “I told them last night how proud I am of them because it is a team that works its tails off — great teammates. And with that, we’re going to get better.
“We’re not where we have to be. We’re not even close. We’re going to keep making strides, keep making strides and who knows what happens at the end of the day. But we’re certainly much better — I guess that’s not hard to be we were picked to be 32nd. We’re better than that.”
But bigger than the win, the Jets shook the “little brother” label off the back of their jersey, beating the Patriots for the first time in five tries.
Even with the Patriots holding what looked like a solid halftime lead, the Jets were never really outplayed in the game. A Patriots pick-six in the first quarter and some defensive breakdowns staked New England to the lead, but the Jets responded well after the break as they limited mistakes and rattled the Patriots offense. Then they mixed in some luck and a little moxie for yet another dramatic win.
They played inspired and with a chip on their shoulders. Now, they are no longer the little brother to the Patriots in a season where they continue to defy expectations.
“It was never about what people said,” guard Willie Colon said. “It is about the guys in this locker room — digging in, fighting for each other.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.