On Saturday, I started searching the internet for a single report of someone picking the Jets to win. I couldn’t find one. This is partly due to my searching skills and lack of commitment to the mission, but then again why would anyone have picked the winless Jets to beat the Rams? To travel across the country and to upend the NFL’s best defense with the NFL’s worst offense? And also the NFL’s worst defense.
Picking New York to win would not have been reasonable or logical. Then reason and logic failed to show up on Sunday, which is an outcome we should always be considering as possible, even when it seems impossible.
The Jets beat the Rams 23-20 on Sunday. Show me who predicted that.
In Saturday’s fan confidence poll, 82% of voters put “4 out of 4” in confidence.
As is common with statistics, Jared Goff’s final line in the box score barely reflects how inept LA’s offense was against a team that ranked 31st in points allowed, 30th in yards allowed, 27th in points per drive allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed. Goff’s numbers look fine — 22 of 34, 209 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception — but the Rams had just three points at halftime. They were just 2 of 11 on third downs.
That is perhaps not inexcusable as the job that the defense did against the Jets last-ranked offense. New York entered the game 32nd in points, yards, first downs, points per drive, yards per drive, scoring percentage and passing yards. LA’s defense came in ranked first in total yards and passing yards allowed, net yards per pass attempt allowed, points and yards per drive allowed, third in total yards allowed, second in first downs allowed, fourth in takeaways and third in rushing yards allowed.
The Jets managed 292 total yards (before they started to take a knee) and didn’t turn the ball over. The Rams have now turned the ball over at least once in all 14 games.
New York converted seven of 16 third down attempts and while the box score says Frank Gore only had 59 yards on 23 carries, he may have been the difference in the game. The Rams were unable to stop the 37-year-old on several key plays, including a five-yard run on third-and-4 that setup the Jets’ opening drive touchdown and a six-yard catch on third-and-6 that allowed the Jets to start taking a knee to win.
Sam Darnold got his first win of the season by going 22 of 31 for 207 yards with one touchdown and was only sacked two times. Adam Gase got his first win of the season by making smarter calls on Sunday than Sean McVay and his coaches.
Los Angeles seemed to get on a roll offensively only after Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams was pulled from the game with a head injury. Cam Akers finished with 15 carries for 63 yards, but had a fourth quarter touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty on right guard Austin Corbett. Goff was sacked on the next play and the Rams eventually settled for a field goal when they seemed to be gaining an advantage offensively in the fourth quarter.
Initially the Goff sack had been ruled as an incomplete pass but after being overturned, the Rams faced third-and-15 instead of third-and-10. If they had been closer, either it’s possible they could have converted on third down or drawn close enough to decide to go for it on fourth down rather than kick the field goal.
That didn’t seem to be an issue for Los Angeles when they forced a three-and-out with only 1:02 run off the clock on the ensuing drive, but then a 22-yard run by Akers was wiped out with an illegal blocking penalty called on Tyler Higbee.
Needing four yards for a first down, the Rams called two deep passing plays on third and fourth down of their final drive and both fell incomplete. When the Jets got the ball back, they were able to run all 3:54 remaining on the clock down to seal the win. Gore gained all 21 yards on the drive.
In a couple of weeks, Gase will be unemployed and McVay will be coaching in the playoffs. That’s not a dunk on Gase, it’s simply a matter of probabilities and I reference it only for the reason that based on what we just witnessed, it is hard to believe that it is true. The only thing I keep coming back to is that nothing on Sunday follows logic or reason.
The Rams are 9-5 and next week can be back in first place in the division with a win over the Seahawks.