Braden Mann, New York Jets
Braden Mann, New York Jets, Getty Images

A Jets punt led to … points?

True to the star-crossed nature of the New York Jets‘ franchise, a punt might turn out to be one of the most vital plays of the season. This time, however, a de facto fourth-down surrender turned out to be the most lucrative play of their first half in Cleveland.

Facing a 7-0 deficit and a short fourth down at the cusp of the hosting Browns territory, the Jets lined up for a Braden Mann punt. But with the mythical creature Brownie the Elf residing at the 50-yard-line, the Jets pulled off some magic of their own: Mann, said to be injured leading into the visit to First Energy Stadium, found Jeff Smith for a 17-yard-gain, one that set the Jets up for a potentially game-changing sequence.

Armed with a fresh set of downs and prime real estate in Cleveland territory, the Jets needed seven plays to earn the final 37 yards to paydirt in a sequence that spanned the end of the first quarter and the early stages of the second. Breece Hall ate away ate a good part of that with a 23-yard gain. Garrett Wilson finished the job, earning his first NFL touchdown on a two-yard, third-and-goal toss from Joe Flacco.

The first-round pick Wilson appropriately scored in his homecoming to Ohio, where he starred for the famous Ohio State football program in Columbus for the past three years before the Jets made him the 10th overall pick last spring.

This was the second fake punt of Mann’s career: last December, he was called upon to complete a five-yard fourth down rush against Jacksonville, but fell one yard short.

The Jets and Browns remained knotted at seven in the latter stages of the first half.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email:
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