How Will Parks, Justin Hardee orchestrated Jets’ onside kick

CLEVELAND — Will Parks found Justin Hardee as the two went onto the field for the Jets’ onside kick attempt with 1:22 left in the game.

“We were going out for the play and my guy Will Parks was like, ‘Man, I’m going to smack Amari Cooper. I’m going to keep the ball alive for you all,’ ” Hardee said.

That is what Parks did and Hardee was able to jump on the ball and give the Jets’ offense the chance it needed to win the game. Nine plays later, the Jets were in the end zone and the point after gave them a 31-30 lead. It was all set up by Hardee and Parks recovering Braden Mann’s spinning kick.

“Once the ball was twirling around, all I saw was the guy that was supposed to be catching it got hit and then another guy and it bounced off a few hands but once it touched my hands it wasn’t going nowhere else,” Hardee said.

Mann said the Jets work on onside kicks every week and have a variety of them. On this one, he faked to his right and kicked to his left. Instead of a high, hopping kick, he spun it along the ground.

“It was a crazy play,” Mann said. “It was a really good job by Will Parks and Hardee outside, jumping on it. That’s not an easy job to have. They have a good chance of getting knocked pretty good. It was a great job of them keeping it in play and Hardee jumping on it.”

The onside kick was not Mann’s only contribution. He had two punts inside the 20 and also completed a 17-yard pass to Jeff Smith on a fake punt in the first quarter that gave the Jets some momentum on their way to their first touchdown. This came a week after Mann had a 20-yard punt in the loss to the Ravens. Mann was not taking any bows on Sunday, though.

“It was really cool to get a win with everybody,” Mann said. “It was a great team win, great complementary football at the end of the day.”

Kicker Greg Zuerlein made a 57-yard field goal to tie the game 17-17 with 14:19 left in the game. The kick tied the Jets’ record for longest field goal. Chandler Catanzaro hit a 57-yarder in 2017, also in Cleveland.

Rookies Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall each scored their first career touchdowns. … CB Bryce Hall was a surprise inactive. … S Ashtyn Davis made the game-sealing interception on his only defensive play of the game, per ESPN.

Joe Flacco, the Jets 37-year-old quarterback, completed 26 of 44 passes for 307 yards with four TDs and no INTs. He threw two TDs in the final 1:22 to help engineer the comeback victory. 

Browns running back Nick Chubb inexplicably scored on a 12-yard run with 1:55 remaining in the game, the Browns already leading by a TD and the Jets out of timeouts. Had Chubb knelt down before reaching the goal line the Browns could have clinched the game. By scoring he gave the Jets the only sliver of hope they needed. 

Unsung hero

Jets rookie receiver Garrett Wilson had a career day in only his second NFL game, catching eight passes for 102 yards and two TDs. Wilson caught a 15-yard TD pass with 22 seconds remaining in the game to win it — after dropping a critical third-down pass to end a series earlier in the fourth quarter. 

Key stat

2 Sacks the Jets allowed against a heavy pass-rush team that features Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Each was held to one sack and didn’t blow up the Jets’ offense. 

Quote of the day

“Winning in the NFL is like a drug. Not that I have experience with drugs, but it is addicting. It’s a powerful thing.’’ 

— Jets quarterback Joe Flacco

This content was originally published here.

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