Adam Gase was one of the Jets during the week who allowed that playing the Giants in the regular season was a special event, not just for the fans but for everyone who works at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
But when the Jets finally put their 34-27 comeback win over the Giants in their W bag and Gase addressed reporters, he couldn't agree that it "meant a little extra" to him to beat his team's MetLife Stadium mates.
"I'm glad our guys played well," the head coach said in as short an answer as you'll hear him offer.
For Gase, as always, it was more about the Jets, not their opponents.
"Anytime you win a game, that's why we're doing it," Gase said. "These guys have put in so much work and been consistent in practice. Just for them to ... you could feel it during the game. We were playing cleaner. There was a lot better execution. Guys were focused on one series at a time, which is great to see. I don't think we've always done that, but tonight we did."
It was a good team win, and there were many areas of his team for Gase to appreciate. QB Sam Darnold, for example. Just missing Vyncint Smith on that second-quarter fleaflicker was painful, but what really mattered was that after giving the ball away nine times in the Jets' three-game losing streak, the second-year signal-caller committed no turnovers against the Giants.
"That's a big deal," he said. "It's been a couple of weeks in a row where he's walked out of these games frustrated with what has happened with the turnovers and missed opportunities. For him to play a game like that is valuable to his growth."
In general, Gase was happy with the way the offense "tried to mix it up" and bounced back "after we went into a lull for a while" to put 20 second-half points (seven courtesy of Jamal Adams' Daniel Jones pickpocketing) in the second half after going up 14-0 on their first two drives of the day.
But the defense drew raves from Gase, and why not? They did give up four touchdown passes to Jones, the Giants' rookie QB, and his receivers, a product of the rash of recent secondary injuries. But they paid Jones back with six sacks, their most in a game this season.
And the defense absolutely squashed Saquon Barkley and the Giants' rushing offense. Barkley had an unreal rushing line of 13 carries for 1 yard and the Giants, thanks to three Jones scrambles, gained 23 yards on 17 carries. The 23 yards was tied for the seventh-least rushing yardage in a game by a Jets opponent all-time, and the 1.35 yards allowed/carry (by the NFL's No. 1 rushing defense in yards allowed/carry coming in) was tied for the fifth-best mark in a game in franchise history.
"I thought our defense did a great job of putting some things together, especially with Darryl [Roberts] going down early in the week," Gase said. "Those guys did a great job of rallying and executed the game plan for the most part. I know we have some things we have to clean up."
See Best Images from the Matchup Against the Giants
The most successful cleanup for the green team today was getting back on the winning track in a close game. Gase entered the season as the NFL head coach with the best record from 2016-18 in games decided by eight points or fewer, 20-6 (.769 winning percentage). He was 1-2 in those games before today, meaning that the five other losses were by more than eight points — a lot more.
"He can handle anything," Darnold said of his coach. "It's not fun, but it's something you've just got to have blinders on. The safest place for us is that locker room and that building that we have. For him, it's just about continuing to grind and making sure that the game plan is right, and for me it's the same thing, just making sure I'm right for the game and nothing else matters."
"There wasn't a change on the sideline," Gase said of the 5:29 of the second half that the Jets lost their early lead before regaining it for good. "Guys were really dialed in to what was going on, one series at a time. That's a big step for us. Sometimes we're worried about the end result, and I don't think we were today. We just worried about what was coming up."
And because the Jets took care of business against the Giants, they're not as worried about what's coming up next on the schedule, a short trip to play their final NFC foe of 2019, the 1-8 Redskins coming off their bye at FedEx Field.