Jets top Browns with magical comeback as time expires

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Jets quarterback Joe Flacco passes against the Cleveland Browns during the first half.
Jets quarterback Joe Flacco passes against the Cleveland Browns during the first half.
AP Photo/David Richard

The Jets capped off a miraculous comeback to beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday 31–30, as they overcame a 13-point deficit with less than 2 minutes to go and won their first game of the season. 

Cleveland scored a touchdown with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter, though their kicker Cade York missed a crucial extra point — putting the Browns up by 13. 

With the Browns celebrating on the sideline with an all-but-guaranteed victory, Joe Flacco found wide receiver Corey Davis for a 66 yard touchdown pass on a breakdown from the Cleveland defense, which put them within a single score. 

Forced to perform an onsides kick with just 1:22 remaining, Greg Zuerlein kicked 12 yards, and Gang Green managed to recover the ball to give the team a chance to come back. 

Veteran Joe Flacco did not disappoint. 

Flacco marched the team down the field with a 9-play drive and found Garrett Wilson over the middle for a touchdown with just 22 seconds left in the contest. A successful extra point put the Jets ahead by a single point, and that would be enough to capture the win. 

“I love the way this feels,” said head coach Robert Saleh. “I’m just proud of the guys. We didn’t quit.” 

“Once the onside kick happened, there was no doubt we were scoring once we got that ball.”

Brown quarterback Jacoby Brissett tossed an interception on their final drive, and Flacco took the field to kneel-out the clock and take a victory. 

In addition to catching the game-winning pass, Garrett Wilson, the rookie wide receiver, had a solid game, where he caught for 102 yards on 8 receptions, and brought in the first two touchdowns of his NFL career — first on a 2 yard fade pass from Flacco in the middle of the second quarter to temporarily tie the game, and later to win the matchup with time expiring. 

The rookie suffered a back injury when he was hit by Martin Emerson Jr. on an incomplete pass to the sidelines in the third quarter — but he ultimately returned to the game. He made his mark on the team, and proved his worth after being drafted as the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

“He’s got grit, he’s a dynamic football player,” said Saleh. “he’s gonna be a stud for a long time.”

Fellow rookie Breece Hall, who the Jets selected in the second round of the draft as the first running back off the board, also had a solid afternoon, as he ran for 50 yards on 7 carries, and caught a 10 yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds of the first half — marking his first NFL touchdown, and re-tying the game at 14 after the first two quarters. 

The Jets defense looked, at times, to be disorganized, as they allowed the Browns to find some deep passes while Gang Green defenders looked confused about their positioning. 

Rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner in particular made some important mistakes — nearly giving up a six-yard touchdown that was overturned on review due to the receiver’s foot being out of bounce, only to get burned on the very next play when Amari Cooper caught a touchdown pass from Brissett while Gardner clearly lost his man. 

Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson attempts to catch a pass in their Week 2 matchup against the Browns.
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson attempts to catch a pass in their Week 2 matchup against the Browns.AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The Jets defensive line, though, put up another solid performance after they were the bright spot of the team’s Week 1 loss to the Ravens, as they continuously brought significant pressure against Brissett, and made some crucial stops on third down towards the end of the game.  

The Browns finished with 413 total yards, while thee Jets ended the game with 417. 

The win will be welcome news for the Jets, who move to 1–1 on the season, and give new hope for fans at MetLife Stadium who were looking for the young core of Gang Green to step up and preform early on. 

For more coverage of the Jets, head to amNY.com.