The Jets’ awful play at the start of the season and the idea that they needed a coaching change seem like a distant memory.
Adam Gase’s team is officially streaking.
The Jets won their third straight game on Sunday, crushing the Raiders, 34-3, at MetLife Stadium. It’s their first three-game winning streak since Sept. 24-Oct. 8, 2017.
Don’t look now, but the Jets are 4-7 after scoring 34 points in three straight games. They’re 3-0 since CEO Christopher Johnson gathered the team days before they faced the Giants to tell the players there would be no coaching change.
Their next two games are against the winless Bengals and the two-win Dolphins, so what seemed laughable and implausible a few weeks ago suddenly isn’t far-fetched. If they continue playing this way, it’s possible the Jets will be playing meaningful games in mid-to-late December after all.
“I knew what this group could do,” Le’Veon Bell said. “And we’re not done yet. We’re still getting better.”
The Jets found some extra motivation from the fans inside MetLife Stadium. Jamal Adams said they “felt disrespected” by the many Raiders fans who booed the Jets when they came out for pregame warmups.
The fire was lit, and the Jets steamrolled the Raiders (6-5), turning a 13-3 game at the half into a rout with a 21-point third quarter. They kept a good offense out of the end zone and snapped Oakland’s three-game winning streak.
The Jets said they didn’t need a win over a good team to validate how they’ve been playing lately.
“For us, not really,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “But for the public and some of the fans and some of the naysayers, I would agree with that. We knew what we had. For other people, maybe.”
Sam Darnold and the offense played another impressive game. Darnold was 20-for-29 for 315 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown.
The defense continues to be game-wreckers, too. The Jets’ top-ranked rush defense (79.1 yards per game entering Sunday) held Oakland to 68. Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who entered No. 4 in the NFL in rushing with 923 yards, had 34 on 10 carries.
They also chased quarterback Derek Carr. Jon Gruden benched Carr late in the third quarter with the Jets up 31 points and replaced him with Mike Glennon.
Carr was 15-for-27 for 127 yards and an interception that Brian Poole returned for a 15-yard touchdown after a nice one-handed catch.
The Raiders’ only points came on Dustin Carlson’s 48-yard field goal on the game’s first possession.
“Honestly, we didn’t want to give up three points,” Adams said.
The Jets are riding high, but they know they haven’t accomplished anything yet. They dug a huge hole that they’re trying to fight their way out of with the help of a very favorable schedule.
“They’ve done a good job of sticking with it,” Gase said. “[They’re] just trying to make sure they do everything right on Sunday. Early on, it wasn’t really going our way, but guys stuck with it. They’re kind of seeing how it should look.”
The Jets produced a season-high 401 yards of offense.
Tight end Ryan Griffin caught his team-leading fifth touchdown pass. Robby Anderson caught a touchdown pass for the second straight week and followed it up by jumping in the stands for the second straight week. Bell had five catches for 59 yards and rushed 12 times for 49 more.
After scoring a touchdown on their first drive in the previous four games, the Jets appeared to extend the streak to five when Darnold threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. However, when it was reviewed, offensive pass interference was called on Daniel Brown. The Jets settled for Sam Ficken’s 24-yard field goal.
The Jets did reach the end zone on their next possession, marching 96 yards on 12 plays. Darnold capped the drive — which was helped by a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty — with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Ficken’s extra point made it 10-3.
The Jets opened the second half with Darnold throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Griffin to make it 20-3. The score was set up by a 69-yard catch-and-run by Braxton Berrios.
The defense then stood tall, stuffing fullback Alec Ingold on fourth-and-1 to end the Raiders’ next series, and the Jets wasted little time turning the big stop into points.
On first down, Darnold handed off to Bilal Powell running right and Powell flipped it to Jamison Crowder running left before Crowder flipped it back to Darnold, who completed a 30-yard pass to Anderson to the Oakland 9. Anderson held on despite a hard hit, and three plays later, Darnold hit Anderson for a 1-yard touchdown.
The unexpected rout was on.
“Guys are feeling good, more confident as we keep rolling on,” Bell said. “They want to taste that fourth win. We want to make sure we continue to strive after it and continue to stack wins.”