But think about it. What was most unusual and exceptional about this Jets victory?
"I think I’m more pleased with the fact that we had some really good, long drives," QB
"That's how you win football games," WR
This was our first game in 40 years and only our second game since the 1970 season that we had four scoring drives of 79-plus yards in length. And that's pretty remarkable.
The only other such game is well-known by Green & White historians. It was the legendary Joe Namath-Johnny Unitas shootout at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, won by Namath and the Jets, 44-34, in 1972.
Namath, in the process of firing six touchdown passes that day, engineered possessions that traveled 86, 79, 71, 79 and 80 yards. The four longest drives set the standard that in the succeeding four decades was equaled only on Sunday.
But let's widen the parameters some. How many Jets games featured four scoring drives of at least 75 yards in length?
Three more games join the list, and the most notable of them is another milestone in our history — the 51-45 overtime win over the Dolphins at Shea Stadium in 1986. That was the day Ken O'Brien found Wesley Walker with four touchdown strikes, which remains the franchise record for most TD catches in a game.
But besides the passes were the touchdown drives — 83 yards in the first half, fourth-quarter 80-yarders to forge the tie, then the 78-yard drive crowned by Walker's game-winning 43-yard reception. (Not to mention a 73-yard TD march also in this game.)
Sunday's game may or may not mark Smith's ascent into a smoothly professional, non-rookie quarterback. It may or may not support head coach Rex Ryan's contention after the game that "I told you that this team is on the climb, it’s on the rise. It was pretty clear, at least to me, that’s what we saw today."
But the long Sunday drives taken against the Cleveland Browns could be where these assertions picked up speed.
Here are our five games since 1970 in which we had four scoring drives of 75 yards:
|JETS' LONG-DRIVE SUNDAYS|
|Sept. 24, 1972||@ Baltimore||86, 79, 79, 80||4 TDs||Jets 44-34|
|Sept. 21, 1986||vs MIAMI||83, 80, 80, 78||4 TDs||Jets 51-45 OT|
|Nov. 14, 1993||@ Indianapolis||80, 75, 83, 98||3 TDs, FG||Jets 31-17|
|Nov. 23, 2008||@ Tennessee||76, 78, 80, 75||3 TDs, FG||Jets 34-13|
|Dec. 22, 2013||vs CLEVELAND||80, 79, 81, 80||3 TDs, FG||Jets 24-13|