Games like the Cleveland Comeback come along once a season if that. Punter, fake-punt passer and onside-kick magician Braden Mann captured it for a lot of his Jets teammates after the 31-30 victory when he said, "That was the coolest game I've ever been a part of."
However, we're referring not only to the win itself but to the statistics and trivia that it generated. Winning teams usually have more of these "rich" games, and we're hoping the Green & White are on that track in 2022. Meanwhile, here are a few more fabulous factoids that we hadn't broken out or done justice to during the week.
One stat we've charted from the Titans of New York days in 1960 is scoring performance in the last two minutes of halves. Teams practice two-minute drills nearly every day in training camp and at in-season practices. But rarely do teams do what the Jets did at Cleveland in scoring three touchdowns, 21 points, in the last two minutes of the first and second halves combined. The first-half TD came on Breece Hall's reception for his first pro TD, the second-half scores on the TD catches by Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson.
In fact, it's so rare that this is the first time the Jets have done it. Their previous mark for two-minute-drill points: 18 (three in the first half, 15 in the second) in the 21-17 win at Tampa Bay in 2000, a.k.a. "the Flashlight Game."
More Flacco Findings
The two late TD drives were made possible by "calming force" Joe Flacco. Some more tidbits on Joe Cool's performance:
■ His 309 passing yards vs. Baltimore (increased by 2 yards after a scoring change) and his 307 at Cleveland make him the first Jets QB since Josh McCown in 2017 (vs. CAR, vs. KC) to clear 300 yards in back-to-back games. And if he can roll another 300, the football gods willing, Sunday vs. Cincinnati, he would become only the second QB in franchise history to pass for 300 yards in three consecutive games. Ken O'Brien is the first and only, in 1985 (@ MIA, vs. TB, vs. NE).
■ Flacco's key stats vs. the Browns of 300-plus yards, 4-plus touchdown passes and no interceptions are another oddity. He's just the third QB in Jets annals to achieve that line, joining Joe Namath (343-4-0 @ SD in 1967) and O'Brien (431-4-0 @ SEA in 1986).
The Rookie Rises
A lot of electrons were expended two weeks ago on how underused Wilson was at the start of his NFL rookie debut. Yeah, like that was going to last. This week we highlighted how Wilson became the first rookie in franchise history to total 100-plus receiving yards and two-plus touchdown receptions in one game.
It's equally important to note that he can rack up not just yards but big plays, such as he did on the 15-yard strike over the middle from Flacco with 22 seconds left. With that play Wilson became:
■ the first Jet since 2018 (Elijah McGuire) to score a touchdown in the final two minutes or in overtime.
■ the first Jets rookie to score a TD in the last two minutes/overtime since WR Eddie Hunter ended the final 1987 replacement game with an 8-yard TD pass from Pat Ryan to beat Miami 37-31 with 34 seconds left in OT.
And while Emerson Boozer (tie vs. SD in 1966) and Wesley Walker (loss vs. BUF in 1977) also showed clutch-play ability as rookies, neither of their scores led to in victories.
Don't Forget the D
The Jets defense yielded rushing yards and points to the Browns but stiffened when needed in the final quarter.
They got their only sack of Browns QB Jacoby Brissett with just under five minutes left but it helpfully moved the home team from its 42 back to midfield and prevented a Cade York FG attempt. Carl Lawson got half of that sack (Quinnen Williams the other half), giving him his first sack as a Jet. It also extended his streak (dating to 2020 with Cincinnati) to seven straight games with at least one QB hit.
And let's not forget backup S Ashtyn Davis, who had exactly one defensive snap in the game — and turned it into the final nail in the Cleveland coffin by intercepting Brissett. Davis became the first Jet with a game-sealing INT (in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter with his team leading by one score) since CB Marcus Williams at Dallas in 2015.
Special Teams, Special Plays
Summing up Mann's day, he was the Jets' first punter to complete a fake-punt pass, to Jeff Smith for 17 yards, since Lachlan Edwards found the aforementioned Marcus Williams for 31 yards vs. Jacksonville in 2017. And Mann was the first Jets kicker to execute a successful onside kick in a victory since the early Seventies — Bobby Howfield did it twice, in 1971 and again in '72, both times at home vs. the Bills.
We'll wrap up with accolades for Legatron. Greg Zuerlein bounced back from his rough opener in green and white with a perfect placement game:
■ His 57-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter tied the franchise record for FG distance set by Chandler Catanzaro, in 2017 ... in Cleveland ... at FirstEnergy Stadium ... kicked toward the same end zone ... after being placed down at virtually the same left hash spot by then-holder Edwards.
■ And Zuerlein of course drilled the go-ahead extra point, after Wilson's TD tied the score at 30-all. Jets kickers have converted a number of game-winning FGs over the years, but the last to kick a game-winning extra point was John Hall, after an Anthony Becht TD pass from Vinny Testaverde, with 59 seconds left for the 29-28 SNF win at Indy in 2001.