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Forcing four turnovers a big reason that Jets beat Colts

New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) scores

New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) scores a touchdown on an interception as New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) follows during the first half of the Indianapolis Colts at the NY Jets on October 14, 2018. Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman

Andrew Luck didn’t have much luck when his short pass deflected off the hands of Colts running back Marlon Mack and safety Jamal Adams before making a soft landing in the hands of cornerback Morris Claiborne. The Jets had a 17-yard pick-6 . . . 12 seconds into Sunday’s game.

“It gave us a boost,” Claiborne said of his first NFL interception return for a touchdown and the fastest score by the defense in franchise history.

The takeaways kept on coming for the Jets at MetLife Stadium. They intercepted Luck three times and forced a fumble, and the four Indianapolis turnovers resulted in 20 points.

In another sense, though, the defense struggled, yielding 301 passing yards and four touchdown passes by Luck, 428 total yards and a whole lot of points.

Yet the Jets won, 42-34, giving them a 3-3 record and their first back-to-back wins of the season. So the defense walked off with mixed feelings.

“This is one of those, like, bittersweet victories,” Claiborne said. “You played well enough to win the game, but you feel like you could’ve played a lot better. You never want to give up that many points, but sometimes those things happen.

  “At the end of the day, you’re going to be judged by did you win or lose?”

The Jets won in the turnover game, 4-2.

“Your win/loss probability percentage is directly related to your turnover margin,” Luck said.

The Jets made five interceptions in their 48-17 win over the Lions on opening night, so they are the only team with multiple games of at least four takeaways this season. In six games, they have 12 giveaways and 15 takeaways that have led to 45 points.

“Takeaways solve a lot of problems,” coach Todd Bowles said. “There are some things we have to fix. Takeaways aren’t one of them.”

Adams forced a fumble in the second quarter and linebacker Jordan Jenkins recovered, leading to a TD pass by Sam Darnold. The Jets had the lead at 17-13 and never gave it up.

“Just flying around the football, man, and just doing the little things the right way, and disguising and just trying to confuse the quarterback at times,” Adams said when asked about the reason for the good takeaway work this season.

Two plays later, Jets linebacker Avery Williamson picked off another deflected pass and ran it back 36 yards to the Indianapolis 22. That led to one of Jason Myers’ franchise-record seven field goals.

“We practice turnovers in practice,” Williamson said. “We keep stressing that.”

Luck kept the Colts in the running, but linebacker Darron Lee took an interception for a 25-yard ride to the Indy 25 with 7:59 left. That set up another field goal, making it 39-27.

“It was a great step in the right direction for us being a young team and trying to build some wins here and build consistency,” Lee said. “It wasn’t perfect, obviously. We will go back and get those things fixed up and get ready for next week.”

New York Sports