The message from Jets head coach was loud and clear Monday afternoon, about 24 hours after the Jets' incredible, improbable rally as they scored 13 points in 93 seconds late in the fourth quarter in Cleveland for their first victory of the 2022 NFL season.
"Now the challenge is can we do it again," Saleh said.
The Jets (1-1) will find out as early as Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) come to MetLife Stadium, licking their wounds after having lost last February's Super Bowl and a game at the Green & White last season. For now, however, Saleh and his players took a quick look back at Sunday's amazing victory and ahead to the next task.
According to ESPN, the Jets were the first team in 21 years to erase an opponent's 13-point lead in a game's final two minutes -- a span of 2,229 games.
"I know that was a stat, 21 years ago," Saleh said. "That's awesome it happened for our side. I was talking to [Green Bay head coach] Matt LaFleur before his Sunday night game, saying I've been part of wins on a Hail Mary, a loss on a Hail Mary, a win in the Super Bowl and a loss in the Super Bowl. I've been a part of some crazy, crazy games.
"If you put your head down for a second, you can get kicked in the rear. The jubilation is to be expected, but now it's time to move on."
The victory ended a string of 13 consecutive losses in September by the Jets, and while there is a sense of relief at not starting the season 0-2, the coach -- and by extension his players -- are trying to stay on an even keel.
"The toughest thing to do in this league, especially when you haven't had success, is how to learn how to deal with success and moving on to shift your focus so you don't get complacent," Saleh said. "When you're trying to build a winning culture and organization, the sense of urgency to get it done, to repeat it week in and week out, is always the challenge, especially with a young roster. But it's easier to have teachable moments after wins like this."
The victory at Cleveland was an encouraging mix of old -- 37-year-old QB Joe Flacco -- and new --the Jets' collection of six 2022 draft picks who all played notable roles in the game.
"It was awesome in the locker room, all jumping around," TE Tyler Conklin said. "And I'm watching Joe, he's jumping higher than anyone, hitting the ceiling. After that performance I'm happy for him, happy for him to have gone out there and show everyone he's still Joe Flacco and could still do this."
Tackle George Fant, who helped keep Flacco upright (limiting the Browns to a pair of sacks), said he didn't see much of the stellar performance by Wilson. But Fant knows the young man, who caught 2 TD passes including the game-winner, has a bright future.
"I didn't really pay attention too much watching film of him in college," Fant said. "But the guy made some plays, some big plays. He's going to be an elite pass catcher, the plays he made yesterday definitely were impressive.
"I just think a guy like him, to come in here as a rookie with the opportunity to make some plays, for the coordinator and quarterback to trust him and to get the ball in his hands means a lot for him. I'm eager to watch him grow, I'm looking forward to it."
Saleh, too, is bullish on the performance of his young players, a group that includes second-year men like Brandin Echols and Ashtyn Davis (who iced the game with an interception), an UDFA like Tony Adams and an important pickup like Will Parks (who helped turn the late onside kick into a success).
"As I said, you have to focus on the moment," Sale said. "It's Victory Monday, and still the players got in here to rehab, lift weights. The coaches put out comments for them to read, watch tape, learn from mistakes."
On the defensive side, Saleh and lineman John Franklin-Myers see room for improvement. The Jets only got to Cleveland QB Jacoby Brissett for a single sack (shared by Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams) while yielding 30 points and 405 yards of total offense.
"We have to pick it up the D-line pass rush opportunities, we have to get quarterback down," JFM said. "We had opportunities that we just missed, but we have to get him down. Make routine plays routine, continue to be consistent, but we have to get him down."
See the best images from the come-from-behind 31-30 victory over the Browns in Cleveland.
Some Quick Hits Via Saleh:
- On QB Zach Wilson, who continues to rehab after sustaining a right knee injury in the first preseason game: "He'll be in practice and he's progressing well. We like the way he's moving and will ramp him up more, re-evaluate and make decisions." Saleh said the "earliest" Wilson could return is Week 4 at Pittsburgh. "We're confident. He's looking really good." He also said injured TE C.J. Uzomah will work out this week; adding that the team emerged from the Browns game without any significant injuries to report.
- On Echols spelling Sauce Gardner for a few plays, and breaking up a pass in the end zone: "He started all last year. I'm very comfortable going to him, he knows the rules, he's been there and done that. He's already seen a lot of football and he's only in his second year. It was great last year playing all those guys. Ahmad was out a few plays, but I don't think anyone panicked. I know he can do the job."
- On Davis, who sealed the win with an interception: "He prepares so hard in practice, asking questions, doing all he should as the next man up. He gets in limited reps and he executes it perfect [playing like a centerfielder]. I trust a guy like him, does things the way he's supposed to. That's why he's here. Tremendous character."