The definition of resilience in Webster’s Dictionary is “the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.”
With everything they’ve dealt with during their first seven weeks of the season, Webster’s Dictionary might as well have a picture of the Jets logo next to the word resilience.
Especially after the Jets 13-10 overtime victory over the crosstown rival Giants on Sunday.
“This is just a tough-a– team, man,” Jets left guard Laken Tomlinson said. “It’s crazy how things can go throughout a football game. Plenty of opportunities for guys to lose faith.
“I don’t think anyone did, the whole 60 minutes. We pulled it through and it was a hell of a win for us man. Hell of a win for us.”
No NFL team has dealt with more adversity than the Jets through seven games. They lost their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, four plays into the regular season when he tore his Achilles during the season opener against the Bills. The Jets also lost their best offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker to the same injury when he went down during the victory against the Broncos on Oct. 8.
The Jets have also dealt with an inept offense and an abundance of injuries on both sides of the ball. But not only was Gang Green able to upset the Eagles on Oct. 15, they did it without its top two cornerbacks, Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed.
Sunday’s game against the Giants was frustrating for fans to watch, as it was an offensive struggle on both sides of the ball. However, the Jets found a way to gut out a tough win in overtime when they had a great deal of injuries.
The Jets lost defensive tackle Al Woods for the season as he tore his Achilles during the first half against the Giants. They also had two offensive linemen, center Connor McGovern (knee) and right guard Wes Schweitzer (calf), go down in the same game.
That forced the Jets to use Xavier Newman, a guard called up from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Giants when he took over midway through the second quarter. Newman took over during the second quarter first at right guard but later at center after Schweitzer was ruled out.
“Credit first to Keith (Carter), our O-line coach just staying composed,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “There was a lot of panic on the sideline and a big, ‘Shut-the-F–k up’ from his voice. ‘We got it, we’ll be fine.’
“Credit to Xavier Newman, who stepped up big time to going from guard as a practice squad call-up and then to play center. A lot of shifting along the offensive line. And overcome the first play, just fumbles the snap, QB-exchange.
“Credit to those guys to continue to fight and stick together and I thought, for the most part, we were able to keep Zach semi-clean. But no, to get out of this game, like I said, knowing there’s things we need to fix, especially with the offensive line with guys getting healthy, overall felt like it was the best-case scenario.”
Things certainly looked grim for the Jets on Sunday. They found themselves down 10-7 with time winding down, 24 seconds from losing an embarrassing game against the Giants in which their starting quarterback [Daniel Jones] didn’t play and their backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was sent to the hospital because of a rib injury. Tommy Devito replaced Taylor as he only completed 2 of 7 passes for -1 yards.
But like they have all season, the Jets found a way to pull out the victory against the Giants due to superb special teams play and some key plays by Zach Wilson in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I was talking to [Allen] Lazard about that because he was like, bro, this game was crazier than the Bills game,” Jets cornerback D.J. Reed said. “All of our games have been pretty crazy. Even two weeks ago against the Eagles, that game was crazy.
“I just told Lazard we are always going to be in it no matter what happens. No matter what went on the first three quarters. When the fourth quarter starts, we are always going to be in the game. We just have to keep pushing and just play the 60 minutes out.
“If we go to OT like today, the way we work during the week, we will be ready to play.”
What has kept and will keep the Jets in every game this season is their defense. All year, the Jets have had a bend but don’t break defense. That is why Gang Green is currently on a three-game winning streak and in the race for potentially a wild-card spot in the AFC.
In the process, the Jets, in coach Robert Saleh’s words, have embarrassed quarterbacks Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. The Jets defense held Allen, Mahomes and Hurts to a combined 719 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions as they were 2-1 during those three games.
Next week on Monday Night Football, the Jets defense will face another top quarterback in Justin Herbert.
In a 30-13 victory against the Bears on Sunday night, Herbert completed 31 of 40 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets defense will look for another excellent performance after holding the Giants to -9 passing yards, a franchise record.
“I’m truly blessed to be a small piece of this defense,” Gardner said. “We have other guys who do their job the best they can do it.”