Jets score two late touchdowns for stunning win over Browns

Brian Costello


By Brian Costello
nypost.com

CLEVELAND —  Robert Saleh will want to keep the receipt from this one.

His Jets team pulled off an epic, comeback 31-30 win over the Browns in front of a stunned crowd of 67,431 at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In the final two minutes of the game, the Jets scored two touchdowns and recovered an onside kick to overcome a 13-point deficit and pull off one of the most stunning victories in franchise history.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who many fans wanted benched after Week 1, found rookie receiver Garrett Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left  for his fourth touchdown pass of the game and the go-ahead score.

A few days after Saleh proclaimed these were no longer the “Same Old Jets,” his team backed him up and provided some evidence.

Joe Flacco celebrates after the Jets’ win over the Browns on Sept. 18, 2022.
AP

“[The Browns] left the door open just a crack,” Saleh said. “Just a crack … for our guys to break through was awesome.”

The Browns had seemingly won the game when Nick Chubb scored his third touchdown of the game, a 12-yard run with 1:55 left to play, after Jets cornerback D.J. Reed missed the tackle.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski had his children on the sideline, ready to celebrate.

The touchdown put the Browns up 30-17. But Chubb would have been better off falling down at the 1-yard line. The Jets were out of timeouts and the Browns could have run out the clock after the two-minute warning. The Jets coaches told the players on the sideline that the Browns had given them a chance.

Joe Flacco threw two touchdowns in the last 1:22 to lead the Jets to a win over the Browns on Sunday.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdowns in the last 1:22 to lead the Jets to a win over the Browns on Sunday.
Getty Images

“I’ve never been so happy for a missed tackle in my life,” Saleh said. “That was our only chance.”

Then, Browns rookie kicker Cade York missed the extra point. At the time, it seemed like a footnote,  but it ended up  a turning point.

The Jets got the ball back with 1:55 remaining and then the Browns gave the Jets a gift. The Cleveland secondary had a complete mixup and Jets wide receiver Corey Davis was running wide open. Flacco found him for a 66-yard touchdown and now the Jets were down 30-24.

“When I threw it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Flacco said. “It was a really weird feeling because of how quiet it got in there.”

The Jets then attempted an onside kick, with punter Braden Mann faking to his right and kicking left. Jets safety Will Parks drilled Browns receiver Amari Cooper, who was in the line of the kick, and then Jets special teams ace Justin Hardee jumped on the ball.

Browns running back Nick Chubb scored three touchdowns against the Jets on Sunday.
Browns running back Nick Chubb scored three touchdowns against the Jets on Sunday.
Getty Images

“Once that happened, there was no doubt that we were scoring once we got the ball,” Saleh said.

The Jets took over at their own 47-yard line with 1:22 on the clock. Flacco completed four short passes and the Browns committed a penalty that put the Jets at the 15-yard line with 25 seconds left and facing third-and-10. Wilson found a soft spot between the Cleveland linebackers and safeties and Flacco hit him for the touchdown.

“I had a smile inside,” Flacco said. “Their safeties are tight but they were playing pretty soft. We were trying to call a couple things to get in that hole behind the linebacker. This just gets you there pretty fast.”

The Browns had one last chance. Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambled for 21 yards to put the Browns at their own 46 with 12 seconds left and a chance at a long field goal. But then Jets safety Ashtyn Davis picked off Brissett and set off the Jets celebration.

Jets receiver Corey Davis scored a 66-yard touchdown with 1:22 remaining.
Jets receiver Corey Davis scored a 66-yard touchdown with 1:22 remaining.
AP

“I can’t believe we won, but I can though, because we work hella hard. I’m just proud of the guys,” Jets running back Michael Carter said.

It is truly hard to believe the Jets won this one. ESPN has a win probability percentage on its website. The Browns had a 99.9 percent chance to win the game with 1:17 left to play. Another from ESPN: From Week 9 of 2011 through week 1 of 2022, teams had lost 2,229 consecutive games when trailing by at least 13 points in the final 2 minutes.

The crazy victory came after a tumultuous week for the Jets. Following their Week 1 loss to the Ravens, there were calls for the Jets to switch to Mike White at quarterback,  but Saleh stood by Flacco. Then, Saleh told the media he was “keeping receipts” of those who were mocking the Jets for when things turned around. That led to criticism of the coach, who did not gloat when given the chance Sunday.

“We have to win a hell of a lot more than one game to cash in on those,” Saleh said.

Jets receiver Garrett Wilson celebrates after scoring a touchdown with 22 seconds left against the Browns on Sept. 18, 2022.
Jets receiver Garrett Wilson celebrates after scoring a touchdown with 22 seconds left against the Browns on Sept. 18, 2022.
AP

All along, the Jets have maintained that this team is different and that loss to the Ravens did not define them.

“From a media standpoint, y’all just doing your job,” Carter said. “Y’all want to be the best. But y’all take one loss way too seriously. I can’t blame y’all because I wasn’t here before, you know two years ago. It probably was a lot of losing, but that’s not my fault. That’s not our fault. We’re here to change that. Salute to all the guys who came before us and we respect them a lot, but we’re trying to win, we’re trying to win now.”

The win puts the Jets at 1-1 for the first time since 2018 and it snaps a 13-game losing streak in September and maybe, just maybe, this can be a turning point for the franchise.

“Shout out to coach Saleh. We’re riding with him,” Carter said. “Like he said, we’re keeping all receipts. We will enjoy this win. We do appreciate it, but it’s not the Super Bowl. It’s Week 2. We’ve got to win next week and then we’re going to try to put a couple more wins together and then who knows, we might look back in six weeks like hey, ‘we went six-for-six.’ ”



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