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Remembering 5 of the greatest comebacks in NY Jets history

Vinny Testaverde, New York Jets, Buccaneers, 2000
Vinny Testaverde, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets have a history of some great comebacks

Who doesn’t love a great New York Jets comeback story?

Those have been few and far between over the last 13 years of playoff futility. When the Jets fall behind, more often than not, it’s for good. Still, one shining moment from recent history can be fondly remembered even in a lost season.

could just list all of the big comebacks in Jets history, one by one. However, I wanted to limit it to five, so I used the following criteria:

  • It’s from 2000 or later. Older comebacks are boring.
  • It was a comeback from a big fourth-quarter deficit.
  • It’s memorable in some other way.

My article, my rules. Without further ado, here are five of the best comebacks in Jets history (in chronological order).

Keyshawn revenge game (2000)

Keyshawn Johnson gave a name to diva receivers. After the Jets drafted him No. 1 overall in 1996, he proceeded to lead them in receptions and receiving yards from 1997-99, including back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 1998-99. Still, Johnson was apparently disgruntled that he didn’t get the ball enough. The Jets traded him to the Buccaneers for two first-round picks in the 2000 offseason.

Johnson faced the Jets only one time as an opposing player, and it was in that 2000 season. For most of the game, he appeared to have the upper hand, as the Jets trailed 17-6 at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, though they had the ball at the Tampa six-yard line. Vinny Testaverde threw a screen out wide to Curtis Martin, who broke two tackles and rumbled into the end zone for a six-yard touchdown. Testaverde then completed the two-point conversion to Laveranues Coles to make it 17-14.

The Jets had all three of their timeouts remaining, but they needed their defense to come up with a stop. Mike Alstott gained three yards on first down. On second down, Alstott gained a couple of yards, only to be stripped of the football by Marvin Jones. Victor Green recovered the fumble for the Jets, who set up at the Tampa 24 with 1:39 to go and two timeouts remaining.

Martin gained six yards on first down. On second down, Testaverde handed it off to Martin, who threw an option pass to Wayne Chrebet. Chrebet caught it in the end zone for a touchdown, and the extra point made it 21-17 Jets with 0:52 remaining.

On Tampa’s next drive, John Abraham strip-sacked quarterback Shaun King on first down, and the Jets recovered to seal the victory. The Jets got revenge against Johnson for forcing himself out of New York.

Monday Night Miracle (2000)

One of the greatest comebacks in NFL history has its own name: the Monday Night Miracle. Weeks after the Jets got their revenge over Keyshawn Johnson, they trailed the Dolphins 30-7 to start the fourth quarter. Fans were heading to the exits in the Meadowlands. Miami had a 99.1% win probability.

The first touchdown the Jets scored was fluky. Testaverde lobbed a ball up to Laveranues Coles into double coverage. The ball juggled off Sam Madison’s hands into Coles’ one outstretched arm. Still, after the Jets missed the two-point conversion, Miami had a comfortable 30-13 lead and a 97.9% win probability.

The Jets then got a defensive stop and took over at their own 37. They drove downfield, and Testaverde capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Wiggins. The score was 30-20.

The Jets forced a three-and-out on Miami’s next drive and got the ball back on their own 18 with 7:35 remaining. Passes to Coles and Chrebet helped the Jets drive into field goal range, and John Hall nailed it to make it a one-score game, 30-23.

Miami’s next drive culminated in a sack by Bryan Cox on third-and-20, and Matt Turk came out to punt from his own end zone. A bad punt gave the Jets possession and Miami’s 39-yard line. Two plays later, Testaverde threw a ball to the left corner of the end zone, and Chrebet dove for the touchdown catch. The extra point tied the game at 30.

Even then, Miami still had a 58% win probability. They returned the ensuing kickoff into Jets territory. On the first play from scrimmage, Jay Fiedler threw a 46-yard touchdown to Leslie Shepherd, giving Miami a 37-30 lead with 3:35 remaining.

On the Jets’ next drive, they methodically drove downfield, with passes to Martin (twice) and Anderson, a run by Martin, and another pass to Anderson setting them up with first-and-goal at Miami’s three-yard line with 0:47 on the clock. Testaverde threw a jump pass on second down to tackle-eligible Jumbo Elliott, who juggled it several times before corraling it. The extra point barely made it through, and the game was tied again.

The game went into overtime tied 37-37. Miami won the toss and started at their own 37. On third-and-five, Fiedler threw an interception to Marcus Coleman, but Coleman fumbled and Miami recovered, giving them a new set of downs. However, Fiedler threw another interception to Coleman in Jets territory, giving the Jets the ball at their own 33.

On third-and-three, Testaverde hit Chrebet, who turned upfield for yards after catch to the Miami 32. On second down, Testaverde nearly threw an interception, but the ball just hit the ground. The drive stalled at Miami’s 23, setting up a 40-yard field goal for Hall. Hall snuck it through the left upright, and the Jets won 40-37 in overtime.

Opening game vs. Big D (2011)

There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the opening game of the Jets’ 2011 season. They were coming off back-to-back losses in the AFC Championship Game, and it was during the prime of the Rex Ryan era. The game was on Sunday Night Football on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Rex was going against his brother Rob, the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys.

The Jets trailed 24-10 to start the fourth quarter. Touchdowns by Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones for Dallas were not offset by the Jets’ lone touchdown to Dustin Keller.

A 28-yard pass to Santonio Holmes started the Jets’ drive, which culminated in a 24-yard back-shoulder touchdown from Mark Sanchez to Plaxico Burress, making it 24-17. However, on the Cowboys’ next drive, a 65-yard catch-and-run from Tony Romo to Jason Witten set them up with first-and-goal at the Jets’ 3-yard line. However, on third-and-goal, Romo dove for the end zone and fumbled, and the Jets recovered.

Sanchez connected with Burress for a 25-yard pass, followed by a 19-yarder to Keller. However, Sanchez was then strip-sacked, and the ball was recovered by Dallas on the Jets’ 47 with 6:08 remaining in the game. Still, Dallas moved backward on their drive and couldn’t convert a third-and-22. Mat McBriar came in to punt, but Joe McKnight came straight up the middle to block it. Isaiah Trufant picked it up and ran it in for the touchdown, and the Jets tied the game with 5:00 to go.

Dallas stalled on third-and-one on their next drive, and the Jets got the ball back on their own 22 with 1:52 remaining. They went three-and-out, and Dallas got the ball back at their own 41 with 0:59 left in the game. On first down, Romo rolled to his right and inexplicably threw an interception right to Darrelle Revis, who returned it to the Dallas 35.

On the next drive, Sanchez nearly threw an interception, and the Jets went three-and-out. Nick Folk came in to try a 50-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining. He nailed the kick, giving the Jets a 27-24 lead, their first of the game.

The Cowboys were called for a key offensive pass interference on their next drive, forcing them to try a lateral play. It failed, and the Jets won 27-24.

Mike F’n White (2021)

This Week 8 game lives on in Jets and NFL lore. Mike White stepped in for his first career start on Halloween. The Jets were 1-5, while the Bengals were 5-2. The Jets trailed 31-20 with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

White methodically moved the ball downfield, completing passes to Elijah Moore, Michael Carter, and Keelan Cole. The drive culminated in a dump-off pass that Ty Johnson took 19 yards, and after a Jets challenge, it was ruled a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Jets trailing 31-26.

On the first play of the next Cincinnati drive, Shaq Lawson leaped to bat a Joe Burrow pass up in the air and intercepted it with 4:32 remaining in the game. On second down, Mike White found a wide-open Tyler Kroft in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. This time, the Jets went with the Philly Special on the two-point conversion, and Jamison Crowder found White in the end zone for the conversion. The Jets led 34-31 with 3:45 left in the game.

Burrow drove the Bengals to midfield on his next drive, but a third-down sack by Sheldon Rankins stalled the drive. The Jets got the ball back at the two-minute warning. On first down, a pass to Johnson went nowhere, but Cincinnati cornerback Mike Hilton was called for unnecessary roughness. With 1:36 remaining, the Jets faced a third-and-one from their own 44. White’s quarterback sneak was successful, allowing the Jets to kneel down and run the rest of the clock.

White’s 405-yard, 3-touchdown performance was enough to have his jersey sent to the Hall of Fame. The Mike White legend was born, and it lived for another year and a half in New York.

Comeback in Cleveland (2022)

This one is so recent that it’s easy to remember. After Nick Chubb ran the ball into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, Cleveland took a 30-17 lead with 1:55 remaining in the game. The Browns then had a 99.7% win probability, per ESPN. However, Cade York missed the extra point, leaving the Jets’ deficit at 13.

On second-and-one on the Jets’ next drive, Joe Flacco found Corey Davis wide open for a 66-yard touchdown on a blown coverage by the Browns. That brought the Jets within 30-24 with 1:22 remaining.

Braden Mann attempted an onside kick to the left side. Will Parks had the first crack at it, but the ball went through his hands. Eventually, Justin Hardee came out of the pack with the football, and the Jets got it at their own 47.

Flacco hit Carter on second down for a 14-yard gain and then found Garrett Wilson on second down for 11 yards. The Jets then faced third-and-10 from Cleveland’s 15. Flacco took the shotgun snap and fired a bullet to Wilson on the post route for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining. Because of York’s earlier missed extra point, Greg Zuerlein’s extra point put the Jets ahead, 31-30.

On Cleveland’s desperation drive, Jacoby Brissett ran the ball to the Browns’ 46. On the next play, though, Brissett did not see Ashtyn Davis roaming the middle of the field, and Davis picked him off to seal the deal.

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Scott Bieber
Scott Bieber
17 days ago

Does it say something concerning about my life choices that I was at all five of those games?

28 days ago

From a probability standpoint, the giants game last year has to be close. But given how ugly of a game it was, I can see leaving it off.

Special shout out to Morestead tho.

Last edited 28 days ago by dudizt
28 days ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Fair point but what was there win probability when Gano lined up for the kick? Just a crazy comeback in that aspect.