It’s been seven seasons since the New York Jets had a top 10 offense in the league.
During the first two weeks of the season, Gang Green has shown it has the potential to do so in 2022.
Although it’s a small sample size, the Jets currently rank ninth in the NFL in total offense, averaging 391 yards per game. In the thrilling 31-30 victory over the Browns Sunday, Jets quarterback Joe Flacco, who is starting for Zach Wilson due to injury, did something no other player has done in 16 years.
Flacco is the first Jets quarterback to pass for over 300 yards in back-to-back games. The last Jets quarterback to do so was Chad Pennington in 2006.
So what will it take to get this type of offensive performance consistently?
“Sustaining,” Jets left tackle George Fant said. “We started out really good and we had our highs and lows. But that’s the ebbs and flow of the game.
“They’re going to make some plays, those guys get paid too. They’re going to make plays here and there. Just being able to sustain that and keep throwing punches and not really worried about what happened, just the next play.
“We will go back and clean everything up later. Once we get to the point where we are putting everything together and everybody is hitting on all cylinders, I think that’s the next step for us.”
The Jets offense struggled to put points on the board in their 24-9 loss against the Baltimore Ravens Week 1. Flacco threw the team’s lone touchdown to Tyler Conklin with 1:04 left in the game. What a difference one week makes, as they looked like a completely different unit against the Browns.
In just the first half, the Jets scored 14 points and racked up 178 yards of total offense. But Gang Green’s offense exploded in the fourth quarter thanks to Flacco and rookie Garrett Wilson, who finished with eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
By the time the clock hit all zeros, the Jets not only came back from down 13 with 1:55 left to defeat the Browns, but their offense put up 402 yards and converted 8 of 15 third down attempts.
“Day by day, earn your moments, go to bed better than when you woke up,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “If you have that mindset, you trust the result on Sunday is going to be what you want.
“It is a discipline, that consistency and trying to get used to playing with that consistency is always a difficult thing. I think we have the right guys and the right mindset to continue to build on it.
“We just have to go show it to ourselves again that we can stack up multiple days and win in multiple weeks.”
It remains to be seen if the Jets offense can consistently put up points. Their next opportunity to do so will be against a Cincinnati Bengals team that has gotten off to an unexpected start.
After representing the AFC in last year’s Super Bowl, the Bengals lost their first two games of the season to the Steelers and the Cowboys, who are without starting quarterback Dak Prescott.
Cincinnati’s defense isn’t the leading cause of its slow start to the season. The team is currently seventh in yards allowed (302). Conklin said it’s up to the Jets to turn the page and try to duplicate this performance against the Bengals.
“Attention to details every single week,” Conklin said. “It’s a hard league to win in.
“It’s a great feeling to get a win this week, but it’s a new week and we have to go back to the drawing board and hone in on the little things. Just keep getting better because when we get a win, you do so many things on the field, but there are also so many little things that need to be fixed.
“I think every week, we can build on the good things and get better at the things we need to get better at and the sky’s the limit for this offense.”
DEFENSE LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK NEXT WEEK
As good as the Jets offense was against the Browns, their defense was below par.
Cleveland gained 405 yards against Gang Green’s defense, including 87 yards and three touchdowns from running back Nick Chubb. Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper also recorded nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Now the Jets will face the task of slowing down the three-headed attack of quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase this week.
“Great quarterback, great skill positions,” defensive end John Franklin-Myers said about the Bengals offense. “They put a lot of money in the offensive line this year.
“They’re struggling now, but we know what they’re capable of and everyone knows what they’re capable of. Just a great opportunity for us to go out there and put our best foot forward.”