The New York Jets' disappointing Week 8 loss to New England rekindled the belief that Gang Green was more a mirage than marvelous to open the season. Heading into Week 9 against Buffalo, most expected the Jets to get shellacked by the cream of the AFC East.
Instead, the Fightin' Salehs discombobulated Josh Allen, Zach Wilson avoided the backbreaking interceptions, and the offense made plays down the stretch to secure a 20-17 upset.
"Everybody outside of this locker room didn't think we had a chance, but it's been the same story all season for us," tight end Tyler Conklin told ESPN. "Everybody kind of thinks it's going to be the Same Old Jets, right? Last week was, 'Oh, the Same Old Jets.' ... Guess what? We're not the Same Old Jets."
When New York fell behind 14-3 on Allen's second TD run midway through the second quarter, the Jets could have packed it in against an excellent Buffalo team. After a Wilson fumble wiped out a long red-zone drive early in the third quarter, it felt like the Same Ol' Jets might be unveiled after all.
But the New York defense bounced back, largely thanks to its youthful talent. Sauce Gardner intercepted Allen, setting up a 7-yard TD from Wilson to running back James Robinson to give the Jets a 17-14 lead.
The defense bowed up again in the fourth quarter, holding the Bills to just a field goal. From there, the run game took over. Michael Carter (12/76/1) and Robinson (13/48) combined for 124 yards and a TD on 25 carries. The Jets rushed for 174 total yards on the day, moving them to 6-0 on the season when they run for 90-plus yards.
"I know a lot of people are going to be surprised, right?" head coach Robert Saleh said. "I don't think there's a person surprised in the locker room."
Added Saleh: "We don't flinch. We're too young to flinch."
The most significant difference between Week 8 and Week 9 was Wilson not forcing the issue. He set a career-high with a 72.0 completion percentage and a season-high 101.1 passer rating. That's the type of distributing QB the Jets need him to be. If Wilson continues to play within the offense and the defense remains a force, the Jets won't precipitously fall out of the playoff race.