FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have been outstanding at times, lucky at others and coming up with victories any way they can.
After edging the Denver Broncos in a game they appeared about to lose, the Jets (5-1) enter their bye week with a five-game winning streak and the NFL’s top record.
“Absolutely,” coach Rex Ryan said Monday, “it’s hard to say that we’re not the best team in the league.”
That’s what the numbers say, as far as wins and losses, but Ryan recognizes that his team has flaws. The Jets have won despite a few subpar performances, but, as Ryan says, that’s the mark of a good team.
“We made plenty of mistakes, a ton of mistakes, playing on a short week and a tough place to play, yet we never gave up faith,” Ryan said. “We just thought it was our day anyway. I think that’s the type of mentality we have.”
If not for a one-point loss to Baltimore in Week 1, New York could be talking about an undefeated record right now. Not that Ryan and the Jets are planning any parades — yet. They know a few bounces here and there, or a call or two the other way, and they could be in the middle of the pack.
“We use these opportunities and wins such as those as, ‘OK, we came out with a victory, but there are some things we can do better,’” left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson said. “We’re not going to fool ourselves with just thinking that because we won, we’re where we need to be. No. Hey, this is an opportunity to say let’s look at what we can do better, how we can improve and we weren’t penalized with a loss.”
But the Jets have had to hold their breath a few times lately.
On Sunday, Mark Sanchez launched a long pass on fourth-and-6 from the Broncos 48 late in the fourth quarter that tipped off Santonio Holmes’ hands and could have ended the game. But Renaldo Hill grabbed Holmes’ face mask, resulting in a penalty that set up LaDainian Tomlinson’s winning 2-yard TD run with 1:13 left.
“All those things happen for a reason,” Holmes said, “and thankfully, the official was right there to make a great call.”
Dwight Lowery sealed a win for the second straight week, recovering a fumbled snap with 35 seconds left in New York’s 24-20 victory Sunday — six days after returning an interception by Brett Favre and ending Minnesota’s chances at a comeback bid.
“You learn from games and you improve, and as long you do that, you’re going to be fine,” said Lowery, nicknamed “The Closer” by his teammates. “We’ve been doing that every week. We roll with the punches a little bit, as well.”
With so many things going their way on the field lately, a bye-week break seems like a bit of a momentum killer.
“When you win five games in a row, you kind of just wish you keep playing, to be honest with you,” Ryan said.
Many of the players said they aren’t thinking about the streak and how a break could disrupt that.
“A season can go a million ways,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “Right now, we’re 5-1 and we’re going to try to take this energy when we get back off the bye and focus on the last games we’ve got for the rest of the season. We’re going to try to win every game and improve our record as much as we can.”
There’s certainly a bit to work on. The Jets have hardly been dominant this season, aside from a 38-14 win at winless Buffalo three weeks ago. The defense is still improving and is ranked 14th overall, while the offense is 17th and coming off a game in which Sanchez threw his first two interceptions.
Revis is also trying to return to his All-Pro form as he recovers from a strained left hamstring that sidelined him for two games and has affected his play in the Jets’ last two games.
He’ll stay back and receive treatment at the Jets’ facility while most of his teammates visit family and friends during the break. Revis, the key to the defense, wants to be completely healthy for the second half of the season.
“I wish I could just snap my fingers and it could happen, but this is a long process right now for me to get there and I’m working my butt off, too, to get there,” he said. “In due time, I will be 100 percent and be ready to go.”
Meanwhile, the Jets will have a week to reflect on a successful first six games before they get back and try to finish the season as the NFL’s best.
“To be 5-1, this is where we expected to be at as a team,” safety Jim Leonhard said. “We felt like we had the talent and the character to have success and this is where we feel like we deserve to be. But, we’re not going to get too excited about it or pat ourselves on the back too much.”
Notes: Ryan will spend part of his break on a two-day trip with his family, and will also attend a reunion in Baltimore on Saturday for the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl team. … TE Dustin Keller was scheduled to have an MRI exam on an injured wrist. … LB David Harris “smashed” his nose, but Ryan said it wasn’t broken.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.