For the New York Jets, Sunday provided a Christmas miracle.
For a majority of their fans, it was more of a nightmare.
The Jets (1-13) shocked the football world in Week 15, upsetting the Los Angeles Rams (9-5) 23-20 on the road for their first win of the season — avoiding becoming just the third team in NFL history to go 0-16. But in the process, they lost their stronghold on the No. 1 pick of the 2021 Draft and with it, a clear path to Clemson standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jacksonville Jaguars would own the top pick of the selection process if the season ended today.
For the Rams, they became just the fifth team since 1978 to lose a game they were favored by at least 17 points in.
In typical Jets fashion, they did it in nail-biting, heart-stopping fashion as New York nearly blew a 20-3 second-half lead, allowing the Rams to get to within a field goal in the last moments of the game as the hosts flipped the script of a first half that was dominated by Gang Green.
The Jets leaped out of the gates once again on Sunday evening, but this time, they actually maintained the hot start — even if they didn’t take full advantage of their opportunities.
As they’ve done during their previous seven games, the Jets got points on their opening drive, extending a franchise record when Sam Darnold hit running back Ty Johnson for an 18-yard score.
Completely stymying Goff and the Rams’ offense, the Jets blocked a punt deep inside Los Angeles territory when JT Hassell stampeded through the line to swat Johnny Hekker’s kick. With possession at the 27-yard-line, they only gained six yards for a Sam Ficken field goal.
On the Rams’ very next drive, Goff was picked off by Bryce Hall on the Los Angeles’ 47-yard-line and returned it down to the 22; but again, the Jets could only muster a field goal.
Still, the 13-0 scoreline provided the Jets with their largest lead of the season deep into the second half. But using the hurry-up offense, the Rams finally found some offensive momentum to quickly drive down for a field goal in the final minute to end the half with an iota of positivity.
It quickly evaporated, though, as the Jets continued to defy logic.
Opening the second half with possession, New York embarked on a methodical 11-play, 76-yard drive that ate up over six minutes of the clock to extend their lead to 17 when Frank Gore punched it home from a yard out.
The Rams finally responded, its offensive hitting a frenetic stride, with an immediate answer just over two minutes later when Goff hit Robert Woods for a 15-yard score with 6:09 left in the third.
After a Jets field goal put them up 23-10, the Rams quickly pulled to within six by going 75 yards in just 2:52, getting to within a possession with 13:47 left in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles came up with a quick stop — undone by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Trevon Wesco — to get possession back just over a minute after tight end Tyler Higbee’s score.
A drive that ate up more than five minutes of time, however, resulted in a 42-yard field goal that brought the Rams to within a field goal with 6:35 to go.
It took the Jets just 20 seconds to go three-and-out, running the play clock down an additional 40 seconds before punting away. Braden Mann’s kick was angled to the left sideline for Nsimba Webster, who broke free and looked destined to score, but the Jets’ punter stopped him at the Jets’ 43-yard-line to limit the return to 34 yards.
The defense followed suit, forcing a turnover-on-downs with Marcus Maye making the decisive fourth-down swat to preserve the Jets’ slim lead with 3:54 to go.