EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Jets’ roller-coaster season has been predictably up and down.
Win one week, lose the next.
It’s a trend that has been strange and inexplicable. So, when the Jets pulled off a 26-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, they were just sticking to the script. Anyone could have seen this one coming, right?
“We embrace the challenges, this team,” tight end Konrad Reuland said. “We truly believe we can beat any team we line up against.”
As long as it’s an odd-numbered week, of course. The Jets are 5-0 in those games, and 0-4 in even-numbered weeks.
Next up in Week 10 for the Jets: the bye week.
Perfect timing, right?
“This just in, we’ve been win one, lose one, win one, lose one the whole season,” coach Rex Ryan said. “We’re going to lose to the bye week, there’s no question in my mind. I’ll tell you that right now.
“Hopefully, we’ll get back around, but we’re going to lose that game.”
All kidding aside, the Jets (5-4) have moved into the playoff conversation despite alternating wins and losses. They tied the 2005 New England Patriots for the longest such string to begin a season, according to STATS.
After losing 49-9 to Cincinnati a week ago, Chris Ivory ran for 139 yards and a touchdown against his former team, New York had seven plays of at least 19 yards, and Ryan’s defense held Drew Brees and the high-scoring Saints to six points in the second half.
“I don’t want to take away from the Jets,” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. “They did a very good job and deserved to win the game.”
Interceptions by Demario Davis and Antonio Cromartie and a fourth-and-inches stop highlighted New York’s solid defensive performance against the Saints (6-2). Nick Folk remained perfect this season by kicking four field goals, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith had no turnovers for just the second time.
“The way that we played last week, I don’t think that is reflective of the type of team that we are,” Smith said.
Here are five things to know from the Jets’ stunner over the Saints:
SLIGHT BREES: The Jets’ defense made it an uncommonly tough day for Brees and the Saints.
Brees was 30 of 51 for 382 yards with two TDs to Jimmy Graham, but was also intercepted by Demario Davis and Antonio Cromartie and sacked twice. The Saints seemed out of sync for much of the game, using all three first-half timeouts on offense in the opening quarter.
It didn’t help that Marques Colston (knee) didn’t play, and versatile running back Darren Sproles (concussion) left in the first quarter.
“We hit on some good plays and put together some good drives (early on), but overall, there were times we shot ourselves in the foot,” Brees said. “They would get good pressure or get us off rhythm.”
STAND-INS: Who were those guys making plays for the Jets on offense?
Santonio Holmes (hamstring), Jeff Cumberland (concussion) and Kellen Winslow (suspension) were out, and Jeremy Kerley left in the second quarter with a possibly serious left elbow injury. The leading receivers were: Greg Salas (two catches for 57 yards), Zach Sudfeld (2 for 46), Josh Cribbs (2 for 6) and David Nelson (1 for 19) — none of whom were on the roster as of a few weeks ago.
“Those guys stepped up to the plate,” Smith said, “and did a tremendous job for us.”
MOTIVATED IVORY: The Jets’ running back downplayed going against his former team for the first time.
But he showed a little extra burst while plowing through the Saints.
Ivory dealt with hamstring issues in the summer and earlier in the season, and was surpassed by Bilal Powell as the No. 1 back. After showing nice speed on three long runs, including a 52-yarder, Ivory might have established himself as the Jets’ go-to guy.
“We know if he’s healthy, this young man has the ability to be a punch-you-in-the-face type of back,” Ryan said.
SIBLING RIVALRY: With their father Buddy watching at MetLife Stadium, the Ryan twins — Rex and Rob — went up against each other.
And, Rex came out on top again.
“All right, I beat my brother again,” Ryan opened his news conference. “Just kidding.”
Well, Rob probably wasn’t laughing. The Saints’ defensive coordinator fell to 3-7 against him and 0-3 since Rex took over as coach of the Jets.
FOLK HERO: The Jets’ kicker improved to 23 for 23 on field-goal attempts, moving him one away from Jay Feely’s team record for consecutive makes.
Folk converted from 39, 21, 47 and 45 yards, the fifth time in his career he has made four or more field goals, and third time with the Jets.
“He’s been automatic for us,” Reuland said. “That’s a huge weapon to know every time he walks out on the field, we have three points.”
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