Not every game can be a 60-minute domination, but sometimes, a team can be defined by the way it responds to adversity.
The New York Jets probably should have dominated the Washington Redskins from start to finish, but in picking up a 34-20 win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, the Jets proved they don't need to play perfect to come out with a clean, convincing win.
The Jets entered their locker room facing a three-point deficit at halftime, down by a score of 13-10. They went on to score 24 unanswered points, blanking their opponent in the third quarter for the fifth straight time this season.
Quite frankly, though, their adversity could have been much worse. The Jets turned the ball over three times in the first half (two fumbles, one interception), so they were fortunate to be down by only three points at halftime.
That's thanks to the Jets defense, which held the Redskins to fewer than 10 yards on three of their seven first-half possessions and forced four punts and two field goals while allowing just one touchdown in the process.
The Jets were fortunate to be where they were at the half, but they took their fortune into their own hands the rest of the way out. That's the mark of a team with playoff potential.
"Everything ain't gonna be pretty, guys," Bowles told his team in the locker room after the game, per the Jets' Twitter account. "You're going to face some adversity. It's how you respond to it which is going to make us a good team. That's what the hell we did today."
It also helps when the adversity is created by some of the team's best playmakers; wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall were each responsible for a fumble in the first half—uncharacteristic mistakes for the Jets' top two wide receivers. In fact, it was Decker's first fumble since 2013 and only Marshall's fourth fumble since 2012.
|Jets halftime scores|
The only key playmaker who stayed mistake-free was running back Chris Ivory.
That goes to show it only takes a few miscues to completely throw a team out of whack, but it also shows that a few turnovers—no matter how costly they may seem—do not necessarily ruin a team's chances of victory.
This game could also serve as a barometer for the Jets' ability to overcome adversity. To this point, the Jets hadn't faced many uphill battles this season. They trailed by seven in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns and came back to win.
That was peanuts compared to the adversity the Jets faced in Week 3, though, when they were down 24-0 in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. They fought back to lose by just seven points, but their effort was too little too late.
The Jets will have to overcome hardship this season if they want to make the playoffs—whether those tribulations are in the form of injuries, deficits or losses.
In that sense, the Jets have already shown an ability to get back on track after being knocked off course. Their disastrous, disappointing loss at home to the Eagles was followed by a convincing, resounding win over the Dolphins in London—and the Jets were without both Decker and Ivory in their loss to the Eagles. That being said, the Jets have had a lot of good fortune with regard to injuries this year, and they're also getting healthier.
There's a good chance the Jets will face some adversity in Week 7, when they travel to Foxborough, Mass. to take on the New England Patriots. In that regard, this game served as a nice warmup for that game. If the Jets can weather the initial storm of Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, they'll at least be in position to make a game out of it in the second half.
Who knows, they could even come out with a win.
Even if they don't, though, they will have another chance to respond to adversity the very next week. If they answer the bell the way they did against the Redskins, they should stay on course as a surprise playoff contender in 2015.