The New York Jets won their first game of the 2022 NFL season in improbable fashion Sunday, rallying for a 31-30 victory against the Cleveland Browns. And Jets quarterback Joe Flacco and coach Robert Saleh agreed that a decision made by Browns running back Nick Chubb set the wheels in motion for their comeback.
With the Browns leading 24-17 in the fourth quarter, the clock winding down to the two-minute warning, the Jets without a timeout and the ball on the New York 12-yard line, Chubb swept left and powered over a defender into the end zone.
You’d think the touchdown would’ve deflated the Jets. But it had the opposite effect.
“At one point you’re sitting on the bench and they have the opportunity to run the clock out, especially in the way they were moving the ball,” Flacco explained. “Obviously, when he scores, you’re like ‘OK, that’s not what he’s supposed to do.’”
Translation: the Jets believed Chubb should’ve stayed in bounds and allowed himself to be taken down after picking up the first down. The Browns then could have run out the clock.
Garrett Wilson shares what WR coach Miles Austin told him after Nick Chubb scored:
"They just gave us our only chance." pic.twitter.com/0lpEJKvJUT
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 18, 2022
Instead, they scored, Caden York missed the extra point and the Jets, down 13 points, had some life.
“We had the benefit of getting the opportunity on that last touchdown from Chubb,” Saleh explained. “It just gave us an opp. … Proud of (the Jets), just the resolve to regroup and when we got that opportunity to take advantage of it and make something spectacular happen.”
From Week 9 of 2001 through Week 1 of 2022, teams had lost 2,229 consecutive games when trailing by at least 13 points in the final 2 minutes.
Until today. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) September 18, 2022
It took the Jets two plays and 33 seconds to knock seven points off the Browns lead. After a nine-yard completion, Flacco hit a wide-open Corey Davis for a 66-yard touchdown down the right sideline. The extra point made it 30-24 with 1:32 to play.
The Jets then executed a successful onside kick. Braden Mann kicked the ball to his left, Will Parks hit a Browns player and batted the ball towards the middle of the field and Jets special teams captain Justin Hardee recovered at the New York 47.
“Once that happened, there was no doubt we were scoring once we got that ball,” Saleh said.
Onside kick… JETS HAVE IT!
They have a chance to go take the lead with a TD and extra point!
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/ETwNpTjhCF
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 18, 2022
A methodical 12-play drive engineered by Flacco, AKA “Joe Cool,” included three first downs through the air. Flacco then hit rookie Garrett Wilson on a third-down pass over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown with 25 seconds on the clock. It was Flacco’s fourth TD strike of the game and Wilson’s second touchdown of the afternoon.
SOURCES SAY GARRETT WILSON IS HIM#NYJvsCLE on CBS | @GarrettWilson_V pic.twitter.com/l79cp2OIvg
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 18, 2022
Greg Zuerlein nailed the extra point to give the Jets a 31-30 lead. Ashtyn Davis sealed the deal by intercepting Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett on the final drive.
It was the fourth-largest fourth-quarter comeback in Jets history. And they believe it was all set up by one fateful Nick Chubb decision.