The Jets’ refusal to get excited about being close to the Vikings speaks volumes

The effort was great to see. The intensity showed that the team was clearly coming into their own. The fact that a 17-point deficit later was 36 inches away from a possible victory was great.

All of those things were encouraging signs for the Jets on Sunday in Minnesota.

But there was one thing, far and away, above and beyond, that was the most important part of the Jets’ emotional and thrilling results. 27-22 loss to the Vikings at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and it’s best summed up in the words of the men whose quest for three hours was cut short.

Quarterback Mike White: “We’re definitely not in a moral victory.” Moral victories don’t count in the NFL.”

Cornerback Sauce Gardner: “We shouldn’t have let this slide.”

Receiver Garrett Wilson: “It’s frustrating as hell. We have to finish that.”

On and on, throughout the locker room and postgame arena. That’s the attitude of the Jets now. That’s normal. It is not enough that the Jets (7-5) have won one more game this year than they have won the last two seasons combined. The players on this list didn’t sign up for baby steps, the same way they refused to accept the gray and green uniforms of the “Same Old Jets.”

“If we play like that,” said head coach Robert Saleh, “we’ll win more often than not.”

But Saleh, whose account the club fully accepted, added: “It wasn’t good enough today.”

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Mike White and Kirk Cousins ​​after the Vikings beat the Jets on Sunday.

It wasn’t good enough as the defense struggled in the first half, giving up 20 points in the first 30 minutes as the Vikings led 20-3 late in the half. It wasn’t good enough for guilt visited the red zone six times and came away with just one touchdown, dangerous percentage. It wasn’t good enough because Braxton Berrios had the game in his hands, a few steps beyond the goal line, but he couldn’t squeeze it down.

It was a game that left the home crowd of 66,973 roaring and cheering for the Vikings and celebrating their continued hold on first place in the NFC North.

And it was a game that left the Jets 53 salty and eager to prove, in seven days in Buffalo, that they are part of the NFL’s best, as it looked toward the final 30 minutes on Sunday.

“I’ve got to make that play,” Berrios cried of the game, with 1:43 left, in which he fumbled, then dropped, a fourth-down pass from White in the end zone. “There was. Mike put it where he could. I have to go down with that one.”

It was a locker room swimming in accountability, ironic given that one of the season’s most iconic moments happened two weeks ago when Zach Wilson volunteered to throw on his QB1 jersey to work on the sidelines by refusing to even take a breather after that heartbreaking loss in New England.

It’s enough to see why Saleh has little choice but to make a change at quarterback, even if you don’t include White. so far he has maximized his opportunity with back-to-back games of 300-plus passing yards.

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Garrett Wilson steps up to catch the Jets.

Not only did Wilson sound like a spoiled child pointing fingers at everyone; that by all evidence he was the only one in the room who would even think of pointing the finger at anyone other than Bill Parcells’ old friend, “The Guy in the Glass.” It makes a cohesive team. And one you have to believe, it will be seen next week at Orchard Park, it will be a battle.

“We can handle anything,” Gardner emphasized.

“This group,” said White, “has fought their tails off.”

“Today,” Garrett Wilson said, “was the definition of a game of inches. Over and over and over again. “

Thirty-six of them, in fact, with the Jets sitting in the shadow of the Vikings’ goal line, in a signature win spot. It didn’t happen. However, instead of feeling the satisfaction of a well-fought effort, they instead chose the feeling of longing for another chance at it. Next Sunday, they will get their chance.

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