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John Franklin-Myers, Jets Defense Get Feelgood Bounceback Win over Texans

JFM Atones for Penalty vs. Miami by Starring with 2 Sacks & an INT in Front of Friends & Family in Houston


Sometimes those TV movie scripts are corny and obvious and yet somehow satisfying, whether they come out of Hollywood, CA, or Hollywood Park, TX.

"My house is about 30 minutes from here," Jets defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers said after the Jets' 21-14 verdict over his "hometown" Texans late Sunday afternoon. "Shoot, I had 50 people in the stands maybe. It was great to play in front of them. They don't have the chance to come to New York very often."

So JFM came to them, and he came into this game with a need for atonement a week after his roughing penalty on Tua Tagovailoa helped the Dolphins move to their fourth-quarter go-ahead-stay-ahead touchdown.

"I think that's just a standard I hold myself to," Franklin-Myers said. "I know that just cant happen, a mistake like that that potentially costs us the game. That just couldn't happen. I'm thankful for my coaches and the position they put me in, and my teammates, they just put me in a great position, and I just made the routine plays routine."

Which is JFM's way of saying, "Aw, shucks, I'm no hero. I was just doing my job."

That's not what head coach Robert Saleh said of Franklin-Myers' major contribution to the Jets' major defensive turnaround, in this game and in particular in the second half.

"He's worth his weight in gold, JFM is," Saleh said. "To much given, much expected, right? He has a very high standard for himself. I know he was beating himself up all week for that play. But he comes out every single practice working his butt off and then he takes it to Sunday."

That's just what Franklin-Myers did inside NRG Stadium. He had a tipped behind-the-line interception of Tyrod Taylor — it looked almost as if he stole the play from Shaq Lawson, who had a similar swat-and-grab of Joe Burrow in the now-long-ago win over Cincinnati — that led to the Jets' early 3-0 lead.

Then he had two sacks of Taylor, the first of which didn't prevent the Texans' first TD but the second of which helped force a 3-and-out that led to the Jets' all-important late-second-quarter TD to get them back within 14-11.

Let's forget that his three big plays all came in the first 22 minutes of the game. Franklin-Myers became only the third Jet to have two sacks and a pick in the same game, the first to do it in 36 years and the first defensive lineman to do it ever. The other Jets defenders to execute that tough trifecta were S Russell Carter in a 21-17 home win over Buffalo in 1984 and LB Lance Mehl in a 24-3 road W at Green Bay in 1985.

But JFM isn't one to talk himself up. He instead wanted to bask in the glow of his fellow D-linemen, who had four of the five sacks of Taylor (the other DL sacks went to Quinnen Williams, for a team-leading 6.0, and practice-squad elevation Ronnie Blair, who got his first Jets sack after racking up 10.5 sacks for Saleh's San Francisco defense from 2017-19.

"You see some guys on film, when they go against a running quarterback, just kind of don't rush or get timid rushing," Franklin-Myers explained. "We just rush. We play off each other, we play together well, we kind of know what each other's going to do. So that helps us out when we play a guy like this, because we're all over the place, we're playing off each other and we're making plays."

For sure, Franklin-Myers had lots of help as the Jets defense, which had been under the gun for giving up gobs of points and yards in a four-game span, settled into a great rhythm as the game went on to slowly crush the life out of Taylor and the Texans' low-ranked but dangerous offense.

And these are a few of the achievements the defense made against the desperate Houston offense:

■ The Jets allowed the Texans 202 total yards, the lowest by an opponent since the Dolphins had 168 at Miami in 2018.

■ The D allowed Taylor and the home team a mere 45 yards in the second half, the lowest by an opponent since that same Dolphins team managed 34 second-half yards in '18 and the least by an opponent at home since the Jets held the Bills to 36 second-half yards in their win in Toronto in 2009.

■ The Bills were sacked out of field goal range on Quinnen Williams' 19-yard tossing of Taylor in the third quarter, then couldn't get any closer in the fourth than for a 55-yarder by Ka'imi Fairbairn that sailed wide left. The scoreless second half was the defense's first since 2019 and the first in a road game since the 2016 OT win at San Francisco.

"That's what it's all about," LB C.J. Mosley said. "Eleven guys on the same page, ready to work, ready to give it their all. It's that moment of invincibility when you're with your brothers on the field. ... It was just a fun game, honestly."

"If we can execute on that level that we executed on today, we can be a dominant defense," Quinnen Williams said. "We've got to be consistent week in, week out and not let this be a one-hit wonder."

The Jets can demonstrate their grasp of that consistency with their next two movie scripts, coming up back home at MetLife Stadium the next two Sundays against the Eagles and Saints.

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