What a difference a week makes.
This time last week, the Jets’ season was ready to implode with locker room dissension and plenty of stories about the team playing the blame game. The Jets had lost three in a row, all on the road, and their offense had struggled mightily. With no victories in sight since Week 2 against hapless Jacksonville, the season seemed nearly over.
Now with a 24-6 win on Monday night, all is right with the Jets and no one is pointing fingers or calling out coordinators. Not even Santonio Holmes.
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“The guys came together and we knew, coming into this week, that we couldn’t allow an 0-4 team to come in here and get a victory. It was more so on us to play really good football — special teams, offense and defense,” Holmes said. “I think we really took up the challenge today and we went out and got us a victory, like coach demanded.”
Holmes is of course referencing head coach Rex Ryan, who spoke last week to his players about the team’s need to be united behind a common goal. The Jets had unraveled in the second half at Oakland in Week 3, were dominated from the first whistle in Baltimore their next game and then failed to find consistency last weekend in Foxboro. But an emphatic win has a way of sugarcoating all that.
All preseason, the Jets talked about the Super Bowl with running back Ladainian Tomlinson going so far as to say that anything less than hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at year’s end would be a disappointment. All the Super Bowl bravado is back after a win that evened the Jets record at 3-3. Ryan, in his typical form, painted all the headlines from a week past as just his team’s burning desire to win.
“When you look at it, losing three games in this league is tough. Things like this happen in every locker room. The difference is I think we’re open,” Ryan said. “Maybe it’s noticed more from our end, but we’re moving past that thing. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but that’s the way it goes. We’re chasing a much bigger thing than that.”
The tension throughout last week at the team’s training facility could have been cut with a knife. The bliss of preseason was gone as the Jets faced adversity they weren’t expecting.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to this team, not three straight losses — not this way. And the locker room flaps and gaffes didn’t happen last year, even when the team had some midseason struggles. This wasn’t who the Jets had become under Rex Ryan.
“That was last week, we’ve moved on. We got a win. That’s all we needed. These guys are winners. Sure they were frustrated. So what? They want to win,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “When we’re not winning, everybody’s upset. But, we’ll handle that and move on and those guys did a heck of a job tonight.”
But true to form, the Jets are already looking ahead. A short week brings San Diego to town on Sunday, with a chance for the Jets to once again hold a winning record. The win against the Dolphins didn’t just set things back on track, it restored order back to the Jets locker room.
And that brash, confident team is talking like they’re ready for takeoff.
“We’re not done yet. There are plenty of corrections to make and it just feels good to get a win. It’s nice to come into the locker room and not think, ‘Man we were so close’ or ‘Man we could have,’ and ‘I wish I would have done this or that,’” Sanchez said. “Sure, you’re going to feel like that, but when you get a win in the NFL, it’s great. And these guys deserve it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.