The Jets did the seemingly unthinkable on Sunday. They received.

In maybe the most important upset of the season, the previously winless Jets (1-13) knocked off the Los Angeles Rams (9-5) in convincing vogue, constructing a 17-point lead within the third quarter after which holding off the Rams’ high-powered offense to win their first recreation of the season, 23-20, in Inglewood, Calif.

The Jets’ victory, their first for the reason that remaining week of final season, got here after a tumultuous 2020 marketing campaign that has seen the workforce juggle quarterbacks, fireplace their defensive coordinator and fend off requires Coach Adam Gase to be despatched packing. Amid all of the distress, together with the league’s worst offense, Jets followers took solace within the risk {that a} winless season might safe the primary decide within the N.F.L. draft subsequent spring. Now that’s unsure.

In beating the Rams, the Jets fell behind within the race for the highest decide in subsequent yr’s draft, one thing that may go away their win-starved followers with blended emotions. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who misplaced to the Baltimore Ravens by 26 factors on Sunday and are additionally 1-13, would maintain the tiebreaker within the draft over the Jets if the groups finish the season with the identical file. It’s a nightmare situation for Jets followers who’ve tried to discover a silver lining in all of the shedding.

Given their knack for blowing winnable video games, the Jets’ victory on Sunday was as unbelievable as any this season. The Rams, who’re battling the Seattle Seahawks for the N.F.C. West crown, have been 17-point favorites enjoying on their dwelling area. The Jets have been blown out by the Seahawks final week in Seattle, and needed to crisscross the nation this week. No less than on paper, they need to have been exhausted.

However the Jets scored on their first drives of the primary and second halves and held a 13-3 lead at halftime. The Jets’ offense wasn’t flashy and appeared largely intent on not making errors. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold shook off early jitters, finishing 22 of 31 passes for 207 yards and one landing, and led the Jets on three drives of 10 or extra performs to make use of large chunks of the clock and hold the Rams’ offense off the sphere.

“It means the world to us to return in right here, back-to-back West Coast journeys, we weren’t capable of keep on the West Coast due to Covid,” Darnold mentioned after the sport. “We did our jobs this week.”

The Jets grew to become the first winless workforce in N.F.L. historical past to win on the street in opposition to an opponent with 9 or extra victories.

Different winless groups received their first video games even later within the season than the Jets did; most just lately the 2016 Cleveland Browns notched their first (and solely) win of their fifteenth recreation.

The Jets have had scrapes with victory just lately. Two weeks in the past, they misplaced to the Las Vegas Raiders on the second-to-last play of the sport. However on Sunday, they performed not like a workforce tanking to get the primary decide in subsequent yr’s draft — as some determined Jets followers have been banking on — however like a younger workforce that lastly didn’t harm itself.

The Jets have been 7 of 17 on third downs, working again Frank Gore ran the ball 23 instances for 59 yards and one rating, and extensive receiver Jamison Crowder caught six passes for 66 yards.

The Jets’ protection was the larger story, holding Rams quarterback Jared Goff to 209 yards passing. Rookie cornerback Bryce Corridor intercepted Goff halfway via the second quarter and returned the ball to the Rams’ 22-yard line. The Jets added a area aim 5 performs later.

Earlier within the quarter, J.T. Hassell blocked a Rams punt that led to a different Jets area aim.

On the ultimate drive of the sport, with the Rams out of timeouts, Darnold withstood a fierce cross rush and accomplished a 6-yard cross to Gore for a primary down. After the two-minute warning, the Jets did one thing they hadn’t accomplished since final season: The offense lined up within the victory formation and Darnold took a knee thrice to expire the clock and seal the win.

However the Jets being the Jets, they frightened that they could nonetheless fail to salt away the sport.

“I don’t suppose I paid consideration to the victory formations as a lot as I did this recreation as a result of I used to be simply ensuring we have been good, didn’t need something happening,” Gase mentioned after the sport. “It’s been some time since we’ve been in that.”





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