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Jets Q&A: Playoffs? Yes, 2-7 Jets still believe

Sam Darnold of the Jets throws a pass

Sam Darnold of the Jets throws a pass during the first half against the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Did the Jets really talk about making a playoff push after this game?

Yes, they did. No football player is going to say the season is over until his team is mathematically eliminated.

“We need every win from now because we still have a chance,” Sam Darnold said. “If we get on a roll here and we win out, we’ve got a chance at the playoffs. Guys know this and we’re excited to get back to work.”

After three straight bad losses dropped them to 1-7, the Jets needed this one for their own mental state, and Darnold said he believes they turned the corner with this victory. They play the Redskins next week, so they have a chance at a two-game winning streak.   

Why didn’t Le’Veon Bell finish the game?

Bell had been slowed by a sprained knee and ankle during the week leading up to the game, and he took a hard shot to his ribs that kept him down for a while. Bilal Powell carried the ball on the Jets’ last series.

“I was a little sore because I hurt my ribs earlier in the game,” Bell said. “ . . . I didn’t want to go in there and take too many more carries on my body.”

Bell had 18 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 34 yards. He said he will be OK to play next week.

“It was one of those situations where he had been taking some shots,” Adam Gase said. “With what we were running, we all thought that was the best thing for us to do.”  

How did the Jets hold Saquon Barkley to 1 yard rushing?

It was clear they were going to make Daniel Jones beat them. They were all over Barkley every time he touched the ball.

“That’s what we do best — stop the run,” defensive lineman Steve McLendon said.

Barkley carried the ball 13 times and didn’t have a single rush for more than 3 yards.

The Jets actually came into this game first in the NFL against the run, holding opposing backs to 3.13 yards per carry.

“A lot of pride,” Jamal Adams said about holding Barkley down. “That was our focus. He’s a great football player, probably one of the best backs in the league. I have a ton of respect for him. Holding him to 1 yard, that’s big. Who else has done that?”  

How did Nathan Shepherd reestablish himself?

The second-year lineman was on the bubble before the season after an unimpressive rookie campaign. Then he was suspended six games by the NFL. But with the trade of Leonard Williams and the way coordinator Gregg Williams rotates players in and out, Shepherd got his shot Sunday and he came through.

He recorded his first career sack on Sunday and had three tackles for loss — two more than all of last year.

“It felt amazing,” Shepherd said. “I’m just so happy to be back with my D-line, defense, my coaches. To be able to share this with them is amazing.”

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