Braxton Berrios appeared on the Zoom screen for his meet-the-media session soon after the Jets’ 26-21 win over Jacksonville on Sunday, and he had changed. The helmet and uniform had given way to a Jets Santa hat and a brown and white Rudolph onesie.
"It’s Christmas," Berrios said. "It’s a full Rudolph, but then I didn’t want to put the hoodie on and I also had this Jets Santa hat handy."
The receiver/returner had run like a deer on this day after Christmas, so it seemed doubly appropriate for the occasion at MetLife Stadium.
Berrios helped the Jets move to 4-11, delivering 190 all-purpose yards and an electric TD.
* One carry for 3 yards.
* Five receptions for 37 yards, including a big third-down catch on a drive that led to a field goal and a five-point lead with 1:47 left.
* One punt return for 12 yards.
* And the really big stuff: Three kickoff returns for 138 yards, including one for a touchdown on a 102-yard dash in 11 seconds.
The Jaguars had just grabbed a 9-6 lead 1:52 into the second quarter.
The ensuing kickoff sailed toward the right side of the end zone. Berrios took it on a straight line, entered a crease and came flying out of traffic around the Jets’ 30. He was gone.
"It felt great to finally finish one this season, obviously," he said. "I think we pretty much ran it to perfection."
Skip to 3:04 left in the fourth quarter. The Jets were clinging to a 23-21 lead and had third-and-9 at their own 43. Zach Wilson found Berrios over the middle for a 12-yard gain. Berrios got flung down and came up beating his chest with excitement.
"I knew he was probably going to get smoked right there and Braxton knew it as well," Wilson said. "But there’s not another dude I’d want in that position besides him. I mean, that guy, he is tough."
Berrios has 38 receptions and is a first alternate for the Pro Bowl as a returner. He came in leading the NFL among qualified kickoff return men at 28.7 yards per runback, and he was averaging 13.5 per punt return.
But his contract is coming to an end.
"I honestly haven’t thought too much about it, truly," Berrios said. "Obviously, I’m here. I’d love to be here."