Jamal Adams said during the week that Sunday's Jets-Giants game was a big event for him personally. He wasn't kidding.
"It was really special, obviously," Adams said in the Jets' joyous MetLife Stadium locker room after he led the considerable defensive effort in the 34-27 win over the Giants, the team his father, George, played for three decades ago. "There were a lot of stories on it. My dad definitely had on the green and white, or black, should I say, for tonight.
"He's definitely going to be happy when I get home."
Adams should enjoy the win a little longer, too. His stat line and achievements in this game made it clear that he rose to the occasion, not just to lead the Jets out of their 1-7 funk but to deliver a blow to his father's old team as well.
The centerpiece of No. 33's game came on the third play of the third quarter, after the Giants had crept to within 14-13. Adams blew in on the blitz, hit Big Blue rookie QB Daniel Jones hard, ripped the ball from his grip and took off on a joyride into and around the north end zone with his 25-yard fumble-return touchdown.
It won't rival Babe Ruth's called shot in the 1932 World Series, but certain fans who wear green and white (or black) or red, white and blue will remember that Adams told head coach Adam Gase and teammates on the sideline that he was going to do just what he did.
"Yeah, I did. I told him I'm going to make the turnover, it's going to be special," Adams said. "Obviously, that's just my mindset, that's how I go out every Sunday, Monday, whatever it is. I'm trying to be the best in the field, trying to be the best in the league, whatever it is, and I just hold myself [in] that high regard."
"I just saw him in the end zone and I said, well, I guess he was right," Gase said. "He was doing what he always does. He gives you everything he has from the start to the end. It was great to see him impact the game the way he did, especially coming out of the first half."
The first half gave a taste of what Jamal had in store in the second. On the Giants' first series of the game, Adams forced his first Jones fumble of the day, a true stripsack that bounced loose before RB Saquon Barkley saved it for the visitors at their own 8.
That's two stripsacks in one game by a Jets DB. When's the last time that happened? The last Jet to do it was CB Drew Coleman, who relieved Ben Roethlisberger of the ball twice in the 2010 regular-season win at Pittsburgh. The last to do it at home? It's possible Adams is the first, since no DB got two strips in a game, officially after 1982 or unofficially from 1963-81 when sacks and strips were sometimes hard to discern from play-by-plays.
Adams is also tied for the most sacks, strips aside, by a DB in Jets franchise history at 2.0. One more and he would've tied the league mark.
LB Jordan Jenkins was one who was impressed with Adams' game, not to mention a little envious. Even though Jenkins also had two of the six sacks of Jones, he had his eye on adding to his own stripsack total, only to see his friend from the deep middle pick them off instead.
See Best Images from the Matchup Against the Giants
"The first sack Jamal got, I was really happy for him," Jenkins said. "And I was like, 'I can't believe you just did that,' because I was coming in to finish and take half the sack. ... Second time, same thing happened again. I said, 'Man, why ain't nobody blocking this dude? He keeps coming down for a reason. Block him! Don't slide protection to us.'
"He may talk a lot, but if he keeps doing that, I can deal with it."
Added DL Steve McLendon, "He played a good game today. I give credit to him, but I don't boost his ego. That's not what I do. I keep him humble and keep him working. That's what he will do."
Trouble is, Adams had another distinction from his mad play all over the field. With his nine tackles plus his two sacks, two forced fumble and one touchdown, he became the first NFL defensive back to clear 5, 2, 2 and 1 in those four categories respectively since 2000. The only other DB to come close was Orlando Scandrick, who did it for the Eagles against the Jets this season but only had four tackles.
When it was all said and done, though, Adams was very happy to talk about his team and not about his individual deeds this day.
"Obviously, this season's been tough," he said. "Through all the adversity, all the negative stuff the past two weeks, I'm just happy for this group, that we jell together, we stay together. It didn't bother our locker room because I've seen a lot of reports of other players saying we have a lot of outside noises. We block it out, we go to work each day, we come out here and have fun.
"We practiced and we came out here and showed it."