CLEVELAND – The Jets have never been so happy to see a touchdown scored against them.
Browns running back Nick Chubb had scored on a 12-yard run to give Cleveland a 30-17 lead with 1:55 remaining and yet the Jets sideline was buoyant with hope.
It was a hope that the Jets would convert into a remarkable 31-30 comeback victory.
“They scored and the echo on the [coaches’] headset was that they gave us a chance, let’s see what happens, ” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “I’ve never been so happy for a missed tackle in my life. ”
The Jets were done and dusted. The Browns were leading 24-17 and in complete control of the end of Sunday’s game at First Energy Stadium. Cleveland had possession of the ball deep in Jets territory and the Jets had desperately burned all three of their timeouts before the two-minute warning.
Had Chubb knelt down inbounds after getting the first down instead of scoring, the Browns could have just run out the clock.
“If Chubb goes down at the 1-yard line, they win the football game, ” Jets center Connor McGovern told The Post afterward. “Once he scored and I saw 1:55 on the clock, I said, ‘We have an opportunity here.’
“I couldn’t imagine being a running back and seeing the end zone and just going down. I don’t know if I could do it, just to see that end zone and everything you do to work to get to that end zone. ”
Saleh and his coaches immediately began chattering over the headsets about the new life they had.
“We had the benefit of getting the opportunity on that last touchdown from Chubb, ” Saleh said. “It gave us [a chance]. We had an opportunity to take advantage of it and make something spectacular happen. ”
Boy, did they do that.
Three plays into their next possession, the Jets cut the Browns lead to 30-24 on a 66-yard Joe Flacco TD pass to Corey Davis with 1:22 remaining in the game.
Then Justin Hardee recovered an onside kick by punter Braden Mann.
“There was no doubt that we were scoring once we got the ball, ” Saleh said.
They did, taking the 31-30 lead on a Flacco TD pass to Garrett Wilson and the point after with 22 seconds remaining.
Chubb declined to speak to reporters after the game. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski fell on the sword, blaming himself.
“That is a scenario where that is on me to communicate that to the huddle, ” he said. “We have done that before. Having said that, we need to close the game out. Everything that happens on the field is my responsibility. I am not going to hide from that and I am not going to point fingers. ”
Saleh said he’ll use that as a teaching moment for his own team.
“I’m sure coach Stefanski is very, very detailed, ” Saleh said. “I’m sure that’s very detailed in his vocabulary di lui and I’m sure it was just one of those moments. ”
It was a moment the Jets so desperately needed.
Incredibly, after the Jets went ahead and backup safety Ashtyn Davis picked off Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett to seal the game, Jets linebacker CJ Mosley had no idea they’d won the game because he hadn’t noticed that Cleveland kicker Cade York missed the extra point after the Chubb touchdown.
“I thought it was a tie game, ” Mosley said. “I didn’t realize they missed the extra point. When Ashtyn got the interception [and went down]I was like, ‘No, we need more yards to get a field goal.’
“Everyone was celebrating and once I figured it out it was just a great feeling. ”
All thanks to that Chubb touchdown.