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Jets Living on the Edge


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Jets living on the edge

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last updated: Wednesday October 20, 2010, 10:18 AM

The Record

The Jets had their own reality TV show during the summer.

They also had a contract impasse with Darrelle Revis that turned into a soap opera for several weeks.

But lately, they’ve been like an action-adventure cliffhanger-type series.

In the past four weeks, other for a blowout of winless Buffalo, the Jets have won three games in which the outcome was uncertain after the two-minute warning. The latest high-wire escape came Sunday when they parlayed a correct, but gutsy call of a pass interference penalty on a fourth-down play with 1:16 left, into a game-winning touchdown against host Denver to improve to an NFL-best 5-1.

Before that, they beat Minnesota by nine with Dwight Lowery’s touchdown on an interception sealing the win in the final two minutes, but only after Brett Favre had overthrown a wide-open Percy Harvin on a play that could have the brought the Vikings to near midfield, trailing by two.

And before that, the Jets held off the Dolphins by eight, but only after surviving Miami’s fourth-down throw into the end zone in the final minute.

Sunday’s victory was the first of those three in which the Jets had to rally in the fourth quarter and it marked the first regular-season fourth-quarter comeback victory for second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez.

After the win over Denver, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said, "That’s championship football. That’s [the mark of] a resilient team right there. When it’s looking dark in the fourth quarter and nobody is giving you a chance to win at all, and you find some kind of way to pull it off, that’s championship football."

But Cotchery knows it can be dangerous to live on the edge like that.

"My best way to put it is you don’t want these type of games, but you need them," he said. "You need them and they help you out in the long run. When you fight through that adversity and you find ways to win games throughout the year, it builds your character as a team. We know what type of guys we have in this room."

And perhaps these close victories have helped build confidence. Cotchery said there wasn’t any panic in the huddle when the Jets took over at their own 20 with 3:55 left, trailing the Broncos, 20-17.

"Before that last drive," he recalled, "everybody in the huddle was clapping, like this is what we want. We went down and got a touchdown."

But while coach Rex Ryan indicated Monday he believes the Jets are the best team in the NFL, as shown by their record, he let his players know there is room for improvement as they left for their bye week and some R&R.

"I really believe our defense will get better," Ryan said. "I think our offense will get better as well. Our special teams have been pretty good, but we were talking today about it and of course [special teams coordinator Mike] Westhoff was like, ‘Oh, I know we can get better.’

"That’s the mentality that they take," Ryan added. "We talked about it last year, about challenging our team to get better in the off-season [and] finding a way. I think we did that physically [in conditioning]. Now, we’re trying to do it collectively and as a unit. That’s what you want to do, just keep going. You either improve or you get worse."

The Jets expect to keep improving. If they don’t, they could find themselves on the wrong side of those cliffhangers.

E-mail: pelzman@northjersey.com

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