Israel Abanikanda, New York Jets
Israel Abanikanda, New York Jets, Getty Images

A Cleveland comeback will likely do nothing to deter the enthusiasm of New York Jets fans

Same old New York Jets.

Of course, it’ll take much more than dropping the Hall of Fame Game to take Jets fans off their collective high. Gang Green’s depth stars had some solid showings, particularly in the first half, more than enough to overcome a 21-16 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, partly headlined by former Jets stars Darrelle Revis and Joe Klecko, were among the many witnesses to the unofficial kickoff of the 2023-24 NFL campaign.

Cleveland’s first drive went 44 yards in nine plays, but they forced into a lengthy field goal upon entry into Jets territory thanks to Bryce Huff‘s sack of Kellen Mond. The ensuing 49-yard attempt from Cade York fell short.

An exchange of punts ensued, with Cleveland’s Corey Bojorquez pinning the Jets at the five. Zach Wilson then found Malik Taylor for a 57-yard gain, which set up the first score of the night.

The Jets didn’t progress much further after getting out of the shadow of their own end zone, but Greg Zuerlein‘s 54-yard field goal gave them the first unofficial points of the 2023-24 NFL season.

On the very next Cleveland play from scrimmage, Jamien Sherwood forced a fumble from Anthony Schwartz, which was recovered by Javelin Guidry. Granted a short field, the Jets earned another triple as Zuerlein scored from 44 yards out.

Another punt exchange followed, after which the Jets expanded their lead to two possessions. Chazz Surratt’s interception of Kellen Mond set up another short field and rookie Izzy Abanikanda cashed in with a 10-yard scoring run that made it 13-0.

Cleveland’s comeback began when the Browns embarked on a 17-play, 71-drive, a three-yard scoring pass between Mond and John Kelly II.

A quick drive headlined by Tim Boyle under center allowed the Jets to get one more Zuerlein field goal, this one from 53 yards away.

The second half featured a takeover from Cleveland’s rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson: after collaborating with fellow UCLA alum Demetric Felton for a 16-yard tally that narrowed the gap to two (the capper of a 93-yard drive), Thompson-Robinson found Austin Watkins for a 22-yard scoring pass that gave Cleveland its first lead of the night.

New York (0-1) got in Cleveland territory on their final drive, but another would-be Chris Streveler hero drive fell short on a game-sealing interception, giving Cleveland (1-0) the comeback victory.

The Jets resume their preseason slate on Aug. 12 when they head to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers (4 p.m. ET, WCBS).

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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1 month ago

as usual the offense couldn’t move the ball on running plays, and the defense couldn’t stop the run!

1 month ago

Watched Becton on his every down. He was flexing his knee after the first play and took himself out early. Worriesome. However, the reps he had while he did play were very good. Max Mitchell was another story. Thought he got pushed around too much by backups and lost his footing multiple times. Wish JD would stop worrying about Cook and find us a tackle somehow. Also, Saleh has to nip this penalty crap in the bud now. Needs to get tough.