Adam Gase and Jets prove Sean McVay right in shocking upset over Rams
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass in front of Ram's defender Sebastian Joseph-Day in the first quarter of the Jets' 23:20 victory on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
Sean McVay has a big heart. Last week, the Rams manager made an extremely unusual decision while watching a tape in preparation for a game against the winless New York Jets. He phoned Jets trainer Adam Gase that morning and gave him a few words of encouragement.
"He called me at 7.15am our time," said Gase after Sunday's game. "I sit there and can't believe he's already in the office. It's 4:15 am [Los Angeles]. I answer because I know he's up and wants to say something. He just said," Look Get the tape on and these guys play hard for you. I know things didn't go the way you wanted them to. But just let the guys grind and push them on. "
After a breathtaking surprise - a 23-20 Jets win - it was Gase who made the speech.
By beating a Rams team that is incredibly inconsistent but likely to make the playoffs, the Jets dodged the outrage to become the third NFL franchise to finish 0-16.
"I'm happy for our boys," said Gase. “If you watch them at work every day, you can see how hard they compete in games. They deserve it. I mean, they deserved it some time ago. We let a few of them tear us away, and to finally end a game - even against a good team - it says a lot about the kind of character we have in this locker room. "
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, three teams with 0-13 or worse achieved their first win against an opponent with a winning record.
In 2011, the 0-13 Indianapolis Colts - who went through the season without Peyton Manning - beat the 7-6 Tennessee Titans.
In 1962 the 0-13 Oakland Raiders beat the 9-3-1 Boston Patriots.
And now the 0-13 Jets have beaten the Rams, who were 9-4 and would have secured a place in the playoffs with a win.
It's the jets, so of course good things come with bad. With the win they gave Jacksonville the insider track of the No. 1 draft picks. The teams have identical records and should both lose their last two games the Jaguars would win the tiebreaker based on the strength of the schedule.
The Jets' win over the Rams on Sunday could make their chances of hitting number 1 in the 2021 NFL draft and picking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence more difficult. (Brian Blanco / Associated Press)
The prize is likely Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and on the way to the Rams game, all the signs indicated that the Jets traded former USC star Sam Darnold, number 3 in 2018, in favor of Lawrence. Well, that plan could be broken.
The Jets end with a home game against Cleveland, then in New England. Jacksonville is hosting Chicago and will be in Indianapolis for the finals.
Darnold still has a year left on his rookie deal, and it's clear the Jets won't exercise his option for year five, 2022, which would guarantee them an estimated $ 25 million. While his career hasn't turned out as he'd hoped, Darnold would be a sought-after player in the open market for a team approaching a quarterback transition.
Sunday was his first game in Los Angeles since leading USC to a win over UCLA at the Coliseum three years ago, though he said he hadn't thought much about the locale. He was just happy to finally win a game.
"It's the greatest feeling in sport to freeze the game and know we had it," he said. "It's the best. ... I think that was the greatest thing for us to be able to do it all and see it come true. It was an incredible feeling."
Rams, who runs back Cam Akers, is attacked at the goal line by Jet cornerback Arthur Maulet. The run was canceled on Sunday in the fourth quarter by a holding penalty. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Conversely, the Rams must be deeply concerned. Throughout the season they've shown that the team looks really good when things are going well, but this group has yet to show that it can get out of hand when what they're doing doesn't work.
This is a recipe for a one-off playoff appearance, if the team gets there at all.
Meanwhile, salt in the wound defeated the Rams: NFC West rival Seattle defeated Washington on Sunday to secure a post-season berth for the third straight year.
For a team that took their first win in Week 15, victory is a celebration.
"You come and watch us man, and it doesn't look like a 0-13 team," said Frank Gore, 37. "These young kids - I'm not going to call them kids - these young men come in and fight, and we finally have one. "
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
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