The Jets are celebrating an anniversary Sunday. Another one recently passed that they would rather forget.
It’s been just over a year since the Jets have had a winning streak, something they hope to change when they face the banged-up Colts at MetLife Stadium.
Joe Namath and other members of the Jets’ Super Bowl-winning team will be honored Sunday for the 50-year anniversary of the greatest moment in franchise history. Fans will receive a commemorative white towel to mark the occasion.
The Jets (2-3) have an opportunity to give their fans a reason to wave their towels and not feel compelled to throw them in with another poor performance following a win.
Impressive and dominant against the Broncos last week, the Jets will reveal whether they indeed have found some of that consistency they’ve been searching for when they try to take down Andrew Luck and the 1-4 Colts. The Jets last put together a winning streak in Weeks 3, 4 and 5 last year.
“We got to start stacking one on top of the other if we want to go anywhere,” coach Todd Bowles said. “You don’t want to be up and down every week. We got to establish some type of even flow, so we’re trying to get some wins stacked up.”
The Colts are beaten up, but they still have Luck. Back from shoulder surgery that forced him to miss all of last season, Luck is completing 66.5 percent of his passes and has thrown for 12 touchdowns. And he’s done it without two of his top targets, who will be out again Sunday.
Receiver T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring) will miss his second straight game and tight end Jack Doyle (hip) will miss his fourth. The Colts also have issues on the offensive line, as Luck will be playing behind the fifth different group in six games.
Indianapolis’ defense will be missing starting safety Clayton Geathers (concussion), lineman Denico Autry (hamstring) and backup safety Matthias Farley (hamstring).
The opportunity to even their record and end their winning streak drought are there for the Jets. But they’ve been down this road many times and have come up short. Since 2016, the Jets are 3-7 following wins.
“That’s something we’ve been trying to do as a team ever since I’ve been here — just trying to build a winning streak,” linebacker Darron Lee said. “Being a young team, it’s time to take that next step.”
Everything worked so well against Denver that it will be next to impossible for the Jets to duplicate that in the second game of this three-game homestand.
The Jets had their best offensive game under Bowles, amassing 512 yards, including several big plays. Isaiah Crowell, who will be a game-time decision with an ankle issue, rushed for a franchise-record 219 yards. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold had his first career three-touchdown game. The defense played inspired football.
In Week 1 at Detroit, the Jets had the same type of emphatic win. They followed that with a lackluster performance at home against the Dolphins, the first of three straight losses.
The Jets were down 20-0 in the first half of their home opener against Miami. It again raised questions about Bowles’ ability to prepare the team and keep them grounded, motivated and focused on the task at hand.
“We didn’t let our guard down,” Bowles said. “We’re 2-3 right now, so we have no guard to let down. We’re trying to stack wins on top of each other. If we can get to 13-3, then we’re saying something. But we’re so far from that, it is not even possible, so we’re going to go week by week and just try to play the opponent that we got.”
After last week’s victory, left tackle Kelvin Beachum said the Jets need to “grow up” and show some maturity by putting in extra work and building the type of habits that breed success.
The Jets showed a certain amount of pride by bouncing back from an embarrassing loss two weeks ago at Jacksonville. Now they have to prove they can have the same heightened urgency and focus after a good performance.
“Coach Bowles reiterated it, but we reiterated it amongst ourselves,” Lee said. “The last time we won a game, we went on a three-game losing streak. We’re not trying to have another repeat of that for sure.
“It’s not making the same mistakes that we made early on in the season and being able to build consistency and sticking with what we did last week and building on it.”
The Jets plan to use the same formula — run the football, take shots when they’re there and communicate on defense. They also believe lessons they’ve learned from the past will help them.
“Being conscious of what not to do per se: Don’t take your foot off the gas and don’t relax,” Lee said. “I felt like we did that as a team early on. It’s good that we had that little bit of adversity. Losing those three games snapped us out of it.”
The real measure will come Sunday. Can the Jets, celebrating the Super Bowl anniversary, put that other dubious anniversary behind them and celebrate their first winning streak in a year?