Jets delivering when needing it most is only thing that matters

The ball was floating excessive and much and deep, and most of the 66,578 people inside Acrisure Stadium absolutely believed one thing good needed to occur. Good issues occur to the Steelers on a regular basis, in spite of everything. Unhealthy issues occur to the Jets.

Kenny Pickett’s toss might have been the definition of a Hail Mary heave, however absolutely certainly one of Pittsburgh’s tree-tall receivers might pluck this out of the sky. Absolutely one of many Jets’ defenders might put his arms the place they shouldn’t be, hold hope alive. Absolutely the truth that the Jets had been 1-16 within the state of Pennsylvania all time — 1-10 towards the Steelers, 0-6 towards the Eagles — would repair, karmically, a correct ending.

However as a substitute the ball settled within the arms of Jets security Lamarcus Joyner at the back of the tip zone. For the second time in three weeks the Jets didn’t solely make a spectacular comeback on the street, one for either side of Lake Erie, they’d handle to stiff-arm a protracted path of unlucky historical past.

Jets 24, Steelers 20.

And now 2-16 within the nice Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“It wasn’t the prettiest sport ever,” Robert Saleh stated, “However we held up nicely.”

Possibly there’ll come a time when the Jets head coach will really feel compelled to touch upon the standard of his crew’s wins, however he’s nonetheless at that time in his profession the place amount is much extra necessary. After an prolonged spin within the wilderness, beneath three totally different head coaches and a gaggle of quarterbacks the place the Jets misplaced in nearly each approach conceivable — and some that defied description — making the form of big performs that win video games isn’t merely all the pieces.

It’s the one factor.

“In crucial conditions,” Saleh stated, “our guys stepped up.”

Robert Salah and Zach Wilson hug after the Jets beat the Steelers on Sunday.
USA TODAY Sports activities

They did, throughout the board. There was the child quarterback, after all, who confirmed some rust early, who can nonetheless ship textbook-perfect throws on one snap and horrific ones the subsequent. However Zach Wilson managed to chisel his first nice NFL reminiscence out of Western Pennsylvania granite, main two landing drives within the sport’s ultimate 7 ½ minutes.

“That was among the most enjoyable I’ve had enjoying soccer,” stated Wilson, who completed 18-for-36 on the day (after beginning 6-for-16) for 252 yards, including one landing throwing and one other receiving. “The feelings, the ups and downs, making an attempt to beat adversity, such a cool battle by the fellows.”

Mentioned Quinnen Williams, who had a sack and a sort out for loss on a high-quality day: “To see him having enjoyable on the market … that was superb.”

However Wilson wasn’t alone. The Jets’ perpetually persecuted offensive line regarded prefer it was teetering getting ready to disaster all day, however on the finish was capable of defend Wilson simply sufficient and cratered simply sufficient holes to permit for a first-ever massive day for rookie again Breece Corridor, who floor his approach to 68 yards dashing and the game-winning rating.

It was the Jets protection that set all of that up. For a number of anxious moments, it regarded just like the Jets had been going to do for Pickett what they did a number of years again for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, whose transient tenure as a Browns people hero started when he beat the Jets on a Thursday evening after getting promoted on the half. Pickett performed nicely, and his two landing runs allowed the Steelers to take a 20-10 lead.

However he additionally had a crucial rookie gaffe. With the Steelers on the Jets 36, the clock grinding down to three ½ minutes, he was pursued by Solomon Thomas and Jake Martin and threw a fluttering duck towards his tight finish, Pat Freiermuth.

Breece Corridor celebrates with teammates after scoring a landing within the fourth quarter.
Getty Pictures

However Freiermuth was blanketed by Sauce Gardner — (an apart: he’s the true deal) — the ball bounced within the air, and Michael Carter II pounced on it. These are precisely the form of momentum-upending performs the Jets have craved for years. Wilson and the offense honored it through the use of all however 16 seconds of the remaining 3:34 to punch it in.

“Such a fantastic feeling,” Williams stated. “Such a fantastic win.”

Now the Steelers might not fairly be the Steelers of current classic, beginning over with a brand new quarterback after 18 seasons of Ben Roethlisberger. However it’s turning into clear the Jets aren’t the Jets of current classic, both.

“There may be,” stated Braxton Berrios, the punt returner who additionally chipped in a crucial catch on the Jets’ first TD of the fourth quarter, “undoubtedly a tradition shift.”

At 2-2, it’s onerous to argue in any other case. There are specific NFL precincts — like Pittsburgh — the place 2-2 would possibly encourage disgust and dismay.

The Jets aren’t a type of choosy precincts. The Steelers are used to being Boardwalk — or at the least Pennsylvania Avenue — the Jets extra like Baltic Avenue. They took 2-2 fortunately again with them to the airport. And doubtless didn’t want the aircraft as soon as they bought there.

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