This was a growth game for these young Jets: an opportunity to finish. And they took advantage of it.
The Jets beat the Chiefs 38-31 on Sunday and improved to 5-7 with four games left in this rebuilding season, including a winning trip to Denver (3-9) next week.
Sunday's elastic victory – the Jets lost 14-0 in the first quarter and 31-30 until they were 2: 15 – it was a moment of relief for the Jets, who three times earlier this season squandered an advantage in the last quarter and they lost. They blew another lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but they recovered and won.
If the Jets can go on like this, maybe they have developed the killer instinct that coach Todd Bowles said they needed so much, then it will be a great testament to Bowles coaching work in 2017. The Jets' ownership see a steady growth of this young team. On Sunday he provided it, as the Jets matched his total victories from last year's disaster of 5-11.
"It just shows what kind of team this is," said outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, referring to the Jets returning to win against the Chiefs. "This is a game that we should pay attention to, when we should think about how to win in the fourth quarter."
The Jets led 27-24 to enter the fourth quarter on Sunday and 30-24 until the Chiefs scored a touchdown with 9:13 to play. The Jets responded immediately with a touchdown campaign of 14 plays and 75 yards that lasted 6:58. And then his defense got a final position.
"It gives him a lot of confidence [forward] and he can breathe a sigh of relief before moving on to next week," Bowles said. "To go out with one of these finally, it's refreshing."
Although he was not yet ready to proclaim that his team had grown.
"It will be a process," he said. "We're still growing, and we're going to grow again next week, but to keep from shuddering and fighting to the end, it's a credit to them."
Make no mistake: This was an awesome game for the Jets, especially on offense.
They won 488 yards and scored the most points since 2015, Bowles' first season at work. The Jets ran for 157 yards, converted 13 of 20 third attempts, and held the ball for 42:49, compared to only 17:11 for the Chiefs. The Jets did not allow a sack.
Sunday's Jets recorded their second-best possession time in a regulation game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. They ran 85 plays on offense, their highest since 2003.
"I would not necessarily say it's a game in growth, "said defensive end Leonard Williams. "I feel we have shown throughout the year that we can play, but I think it shows we can finish, we show that we can play with the best, this game really shows us that we can finish when we want."
The Jets finally finish against Chiefs
Rookie safety Jamal Adams said, simply, "We can build this."
Cornerback Morris Claiborne, a veteran, knows that the Jets can always go back. They are a young team and (as a result) inconsistent. But Sunday's victory over the Chiefs (6-6, and losers of four straight games) at least provides a template to finish victories.
"It's whatever we do," Claiborne said of the impact of the triumph in the future.
Darryl Slater can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DarrylSlater . Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.