Jets must take momentum from unlikely win over Browns
Use it. Don’t lose it.
The Jets must remember the winning feeling of euphoria they raced off the field with Sunday in Cleveland and use it as fuel for the future, beginning with Sunday’s home game against Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati.
The Jets cannot waste Sunday’s remarkable 31-30 comeback victory over the Browns. They cannot allow that to be one fleeting moment. Avoid being a one-hit wonder, a flash in the pan. The Jets need to sustain what they did against the Browns, crave that feeling again and again.
The Jets — head coach Robert Saleh with his “receipts’’ rant last week and his players, too — talked about having the confidence that they can (will) be a winning team. Sunday’s victory, as improbable as it was, gave them tangible evidence that they can win.
Now they’ve got to build on it or they’ll reduce the significance of Sunday’s win.
“Losing can be contagious, but also winning can be contagious,’’ linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “You could just feel that energy when we came in [to the locker room after the win in Cleveland]. This win was really for our young guys. They balled out. I hope this game lets them know that we need them to play like that every single week to get to where we want to go. It’s going to take everybody, especially the younger guys.’’
Leave it to one of the youngest guys of all on the roster, second-year running back Michael Carter, to speak some of the sagest words of all in the aftermath of the win.
“We look to enjoy this win — we do appreciate it, we appreciate it a lot,’’ Carter said. “But it’s not the Super Bowl. It’s Week 2. We’ve got to win next week and we’ve got to try to put some momentum together and then … who knows? We might look back in six weeks and say, ‘Hey, we went six for six.’
“We’re a confident group. We had unwavering confidence [Sunday], and instead of just having confidence we exuded it.’’
Carter, in no disrespectful way at all, chided those who portrayed the sky falling after the Jets lost their season opener to the Ravens.
“I know you [reporters] have a job to do, but you all were taking one loss a little too seriously,’’ he said. “I can’t blame you. I wasn’t here two years before. But [the previous losing] is not our fault. We’re here to change that.’’
It, of course, is going to take more than one win to change that narrative, but Sunday was a good place to start. The Jets played a representative game against the Browns, particularly on offense and special teams — the two units that ultimately won the game.
But, until 90 seconds remained in the game, it looked like it wasn’t going to be good enough as the Browns had pulled away late in the fourth quarter before committing a calamity of mental errors that opened the door for the Jets to pull off the victory.
The trick for Saleh this week is, while encouraging his players to soak in the win, to also make sure they realize they were on the brink of being 0-2 and that the play has to be even better this week.
The Giants managed to handle the prosperity of their season-opening upset victory at Tennessee with a second consecutive win Sunday against the Panthers — albeit an ugly win, but a win nonetheless to get to 2-0.
“The toughest thing to do in this league — especially when you haven’t had a lot of success — is to learn how to deal with success and move onto the next page,’’ Saleh said Monday.
Defensive tackle John Franklin-Myers called Sunday’s win “a great step of confidence’’ for a young team trying to figure out how to win.
“These guys got to understand what it feels like to win; they got a taste of it,’’ he said.
“You’ve got to learn how to win,’’ tight end Tyler Conklin said. “That’s something all team teams have to do. [Sunday] was a step in the right direction to prove that to ourselves that we’re never out of a game and no matter the situation is we can win it. That the first one to get the momentum going. We knew we could do it and we went out there and we proved it.
“Now keep building the momentum.’’
Use it. Don’t lose it.
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