New York Jets pull off shocker, defeat Los Angeles Rams for first win of 2020 season

Andy Vasquez
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The New York Jets pulled off the most shocking upset of the NFL season on Sunday — a game that might be remembered as one of the most stunning results in the history of the league.

Their players were thrilled on the field at SoFi Stadium, after they beat the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams 23-20 for their first win of the season in their 14th try.

And in typical Jets fashion, they made their fans miserable, because it could very well cost them the No. 1 pick in next April's NFL draft and the chance to draft Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.

With the win, both the Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-13. And the Jaguars have now jumped ahead of the Jets for the top pick in next year's draft because of the tiebreaker: Jacksonville has a weaker strength of schedule.

It's a shocking result that could change the course of history for the Jets franchise, for good or bad — we'll have to wait and see. But this was a long time coming for the Jets, who had near-wins against the Broncos, Patriots and Raiders before finally getting the job done against the Rams, a result that was impossible to conceive before this game began. 

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Ty Johnson celebrates his touchdown against the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

The Jets were just coming off their worst loss of the season, a 40-3 thrashing in Seattle last week. They flew back east and then back to Los Angeles because of the COVID protocols made it impossible to stay out west.

And then, despite being 17-point underdogs, they never trailed against the Rams — who entered the game with the best defense in football.

The Jets set the tone with a game-opening touchdown drive. The defensive line made it a difficult day for Jared Goff, especially Quinnen Williams who had a sack and was generally disruptive the entire game.

Sam Darnold had his best game of the season, finally, completing 22-of-31 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.

And the Jets showed some grit in getting the job done. They lost Williams late in the game to a head injury and the defense still got a big stop in the final five minutes to put the Jets in position to win the game.

And then they got it done with a two big first downs, with Darnold finding Frank Gore with a short pass to seal the victory just before the two-minute warning.

Missed opportunities

It seemed like it would be the same old story for the Jets. Missed opportunities early that would cost them late.

The Jets built a 17-point lead — their largest of the season — in the third quarter. But they should have been up my much more long before that.

They marched down the field for a touchdown on their opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, the score at the beginning of the second quarter when the Jets got two great chances to take complete control of the game. They blocked a punt on the first Rams possession of the second quarter and had an interception on the Rams' second drive.

The Jets started both of those drives inside the Rams' 30 yard line. And yet they could gain only a combined 21 yards and had to settle for field goals both times.

They also squandered an opportunity to go into halftime with a bigger lead. The Jets ran the ball inside the two-minute warning, deep in their own territory, and the Rams seemed content to run down the clock. But then the Jets threw the ball on second down and the pass fell incomplete. And they ended up punting the ball to the Rams who converted a field goal before halftime to take some momentum into the break.

But the Jets somehow overcame all of that to get the win. And they deserve credit for it.

Andy Vasquez is the Jets beat writer for Follow him on Twitter @andy_vasquez.

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