With Sunday's 34-19 victory over the Washington Redskins, the Jets have now responded with their backs against the wall in consecutive weeks. After the disappointing loss in Denver in Week 11, they've committed themselves to running the table. So far, so good.
"We were caught a little off guard at that point," said LG Matt Slauson. "It was difficult to deal with. Everybody has done a terrific job of bouncing back. We have a lot of games left, and we can still do this."
At 7-5, the Jets join the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos as AFC teams with the same record. It is a muddled playoff picture, and all the above teams are still alive. The Green & White know what is at stake but refuse to look ahead. They choose to make their journey with small steps.
"As a group, we know we have to be 1-0 each week," said DT Sione Pouha. "Every man is more accountable to themselves and each other. I think every person in that locker room took it upon themselves to get in extra film study and practice."
The loss to Denver may prove to be the turning point in the Jets season. Embarrassed and confused, Slauson said the Jets certainly felt the pressure after falling to the Broncos.
"For me, I told myself I can't worry about things I can't control," he said. "I have to focus on doing my job, and hopefully everyone else will, too. Recently, everyone has done a really good job of getting their job done the best they can."
Slauson and his fellow offensive linemen can certainly say they have done their job. They have allowed a grand total of zero sacks since the loss in Denver and have led the way for a rediscovered rushing attack.
"We said, 'OK, we're in a bad spot, let's get back to basics,'" he said. "As an offensive line, we shouldn't worry about what the defense is doing. The defense shouldn't be worrying about the special teams. We're worrying about our own units, our own positional groups."
That sense of accountability to self and teammate has led the Jets to consecutive come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter. While they would rather win a game comfortably, those of the comeback variety count all the same.
"It's not the preferred way to win," said Pouha. "But if you find yourself behind, our preferred way is to overcome that situation. It's not the situation you always want to be in, but you want to finish strong. How you react to that situation is what causes you to win or lose games."
In Washington, the Jets pulled ahead of the Skins with a 30-yard touchdown strike from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes with less than five minutes to play. A week ago, Holmes caught the gamewinner at MetLife Stadium against the Buffalo Bills.
His late-game reliability is has "Sanchez to Holmes" becoming a common fourth-quarter phrase again.
"We don't play to try to win the game in the fourth quarter. We try to win throughout the whole game," said Holmes. "When it comes down to the fourth, we want to be the team who prevails. I don't think anybody stresses at that moment. If we're given the opportunity, we're going to take advantage of it."
The Green & White have taken advantage of those opportunities twice in the last two weeks. At a time when the team could easily have pushed the panic button and drifted into obscurity, it's bouncing back.
"I would say it's a sense of urgency to get things done," said Pouha. "We feel the need to get these wins. After that game, we've been able to respond with urgency but also with the fact that we're not just going to fold under pressure."