The way the Jets played Sunday might have given them the blueprint for what they need to do to be successful, and it certainly provided their fans hope that this won’t be another lost season.
Or it could have been another Jets tease.
Being consistent and stacking wins are the challenges the Jets face after their 34-16 victory over Denver. It was only four weeks ago when they had a dominant performance opening night in Detroit, and the Jets followed that with three straight losses. Each was worse than the other.
But the Jets played inspired football against the Broncos, ringing up 512 yards and playing suffocating defense. They played with passion and purpose. But it won’t matter if it happens only every four games or so.
“We got to grow up,” offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum said on a conference call Monday. “It’s the maturity game for us. It’s great to get a win. But just keeping things in perspective, we got to grow up. We got to find a way to string wins together and get on winning streaks instead of losing streaks.
"It’s really all about stacking. If we do that consistently, then we’ll be able to be in a position from a record standpoint that we desire.”
The Jets ran for 323 yards and Isaiah Crowell had a franchise-record 219 on just 15 carries. But Beachum said the Jets “left a lot of yards out there on offense.”
They had several long plays – Crowell had a 77-yard touchdown and a 54-yard run, and Robby Anderson caught a 76-yard TD pass from Sam Darnold. But Beachum said those plays are not the norm and that the Jets need to learn how to put drives together and sustain them.
"It always starts in practice,” Beachum said. “Practice makes perfect, but perfect practice is even better.”
Beachum said the players need to arrive early for meetings and workouts and stay late, and develop a rhythm that breeds success.
The Jets, who play the Colts Sunday at MetLife Stadium, showed they learned from their brutal Week 4 performance against the Jaguars. By all accounts, the Jets had more energy in practice, focused a little more and put in extra work. The defense held a players-only meeting Friday to improve communication.
The Jets have to show they learned how to prepare and play following a win, when they’re not as angry and fed up as they were Sunday. They have to learn from what they didn’t do following their Week 1 win.
“Just staying level-headed as a team and understanding that it’s a long season,” safety Jamal Adams said. “You got to come prepared and you got to come with your 'A' game. You can definitely fail if you don’t show up, so we just got to stay grounded and continue to work and continue to be good at the little things.”
The Jets have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive years and were 5-11 in each of the last two seasons. They had some impressive wins in that span, but too often they were teases. They know they will continue to be doubted until they prove they can consistently play well.
“You should [be skeptical],” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “If you’re on the outside looking in, you should. But we don’t care. We don’t care how you feel. Our plan is to keep working. Leave the outside noise out. You’re going to hear it because it’s around. But we’re not worried about that. Our mindset is simple: going out to win. Sometimes it don’t happen for us, but we’re not going to stop fighting.”