The New York Jets head into their bye week after putting up some impressive wins over some of the league’s elite teams in the past several weeks.
Sunday’s 26-20 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but it was certainly a victory “Gang Green” could be proud of after a lackluster performance a week ago in Cincinnati.
Former Saint Chris Ivory provided the offensive spark for the Jets, rushing for 139 yards on 18 carries. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith only completed 8-of-19 passes while rushing for a touchdown, but the Jets defense once again rose to the occasion in shutting down the high-scoring Saints and quarterback Drew Brees.
The Saints had a chance to take the lead with under two minutes to go in the contest and New York nursing a 26-20 lead. But New Orleans couldn’t get anything going against a stingy Jets’ defense, as Brees rifled four incompletions from their own 10-yard line that closed out the first half of the Jets’ season on a positive note.
“We have a David versus Goliath mentality," Jets linebacker Demario Davis said. “Coach Rex said the main thing was to bounce back from Cincinnati. Don't hesitate, don't flinch. We told everybody that wasn't us. Then we went out and showed everybody who we were.”
Kicker Nick Folk booted four field goals on the afternoon, including a 45-yarder early in the final period that gave New York (5-4) some breathing room before the Saints’ final drive of the day stalled.
Brees and New Orleans (6-2) got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 7-3 lead after the Saints QB hooked up with Jimmy Graham for a 51-yard scoring play.
The Jets, however, fought back in the second quarter, as Ivory and Smith exchanged TD scoring drives – the latter with just 37 seconds left in the half, to give New York a 20-14 advantage.
The Saints kept it close on a pair of second half Garrett Hartley field goals, but New York’s defense came through with the critical stops they needed down the stretch to preserve the win.
“All I know is I've got a team that believes in itself all the way," Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan said. "It was a great team effort. We had some tough injuries, but we just kept hanging in there and found a way."
The Jets will break for a week before headed on the road for an AFC East divisional showdown at Buffalo upon their return.