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Josh McCown’s third-down conversions key to beating Chiefs

The Jets got first downs on third-and-11, third-and-10 and third-and-9 against the Chiefs.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown  reacts after a two-point

Jets quarterback Josh McCown  reacts after a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

For the majority of the season, the Jets and third-down conversions have been unfriendly to each other. In Sunday’s 38-31 win over the Chiefs, the Jets and third downs got together.

The Jets converted a season-high 65 percent of their third-down plays (13-for-20) in the victory, in which Josh McCown completed passes to five different players.

“I think it’s a collective effort of everyone that gives us an opportunity to convert at a high level,’’ McCown said, “and that’s what we had.”

The Jets moved up the rankings as a result of what they accomplished Sunday. The Jets are tied for fifth in the NFL with 70 third-down conversions and 11th in third-down completion percentage at 40.2.

In the third quarter, the Jets converted five third downs, with McCown completing passes to Matt Forte, Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson and Chad Hansen. McCown got in on the act as he scrambled for 12 yards on a third-and-10. A holding call against the Chiefs also gave the Jets a first down.

In the fourth quarter, the Jets converted six third downs, which included a 51-yard completion to Kearse on third-and-7. It was McCown’s 1-yard sneak on third-and-1 with 2:15 remaining that proved to be the game-winner for the Jets.

Running the ball on third-and-short against the Chiefs was refreshing, considering the Jets didn’t attempt a running play on comparable down and distances the previous week in a loss to the Panthers. On first-and-goal from the 1, the Jets attempted three passes against the Panthers. Offensive coordinator John Morton called for a run on second-and-goal, but McCown checked out of it and attempted a pass.

On third-and-1, McCown threw incomplete to Forte in the back of the end zone. Morton said he didn’t second-guess any of the play calls, but when the Jets got to the 1 against the Chiefs, they kept the ball on the ground.

Todd Bowles said the key is to curtail third-and-longs. The Jets beat the odds and dealt with those situations remarkably well against the Chiefs. They converted on third-and-11, third-and-10, third-and-9, third-and-7 and third-and-6.

“Johnny Mo gave us opportunities to make plays,” McCown said. “And then whether it’s throwing the ball and Jermaine making a guy miss, Robby making a guy miss and Chad did his thing. Checking it down to the backs, Matt had a great one.”

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