Jason Myers kicked a franchise-record seven field goals, Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes, and the New York Jets held on to beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 on Sunday to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year.
Morris Claiborne returned the first of three interceptions thrown by Andrew Luck for a touchdown as the Jets (3-3) moved to .500 by taking advantage of mistakes by the short-handed Colts (1-5), who lost their fourth straight.
With Joe Namath and the 1968 Super Bowl-winning team celebrating its 50th anniversary, Darnold was 24 of 30 for 280 yards, with TD throws to Terrelle Pryor and Chris Herndon and an interception to give New York its first back-to-back victories since taking three in a row in Weeks 3-5 last season.
Myers hit field goals from 30, 48, 32, 37, 45, 37 and 45 yards to break the Jets record previously held by Jim Turner (1968) — the kicker for the Super Bowl champions — and Bobby Howfield (1972).
Luck was 23 of 43 for 301 yards with touchdowns to Marcus Johnson, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope and Chester Rogers, the last coming with 1:51 left to make the score close. Neal Sterling recovered the Colts’ onside kick to seal the win for the Jets.
The Colts were playing without several starters, including wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, defensive linemen Denico Autry and Margus Hunt, tight end Jack Doyle, safety Clayton Geathers and right tackle Denzelle Good.
Trailing 13-10 in the second quarter, the Jets forced a turnover when Jamal Adams knocked the ball out of Robert Turbin’s hands and Jordan Jenkins recovered.
Darnold converted two third-down plays on the ensuing drive — 19 yards to Robby Anderson and 7 to Jermaine Kearse — to get the ball to the Colts 10. Darnold zipped a pass to Pryor in the front of the end zone for a 17-13 lead with 2:35 left before halftime.
New York took advantage of another turnover by Indianapolis to add to its advantage. Luck’s pass to Ryan Grant deflected off the receiver’s hands and right to Avery Williamson, who returned the ball 31 yards to the Colts 22.
After Myers’ 48-yarder, the Colts went three-and-out and the Jets got the ball at their 28 with 42 seconds left before halftime. Darnold hit a series of passes and, with 18 seconds left, found Kearse in the middle of the field for 23 yards. Myers booted a 32-yarder as time expired to put New York up 23-13.
Darnold came out firing to open the second half, scoring on a terrific play design — a fake wide receiver screen — to a wide-open Herndon for a 32-yard touchdown. It was the first TD of the rookie tight end’s career.
Luck answered right back, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ebron to cut the Colts’ deficit to 10.
After Myers’ 37-yarder, the Colts came right back, with Luck throwing a 2-yard pass to Swoope to cut the deficit to 33-27 just 8 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Myers added a 45-yarder, giving the Jets scores on six straight possessions.
Luck was trying to answer again when Lee picked him off on third down to give the Jets the ball at the Colts 25. Four plays later, Myers’ 37-yarder made it 39-27.
On the Colts’ second play from scrimmage, Luck threw short to Marlon Mack, Adams tipped the pass into the air and Claiborne grabbed it, zipping 17 yards into the end zone 12 seconds into the game.
Luck and the Colts rebounded on their next drive with a 34-yard catch by Johnson to tie it at 7.
Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, dealing with an illness, was on the field before the game. It was not immediately certain if Rodgers was in his usual role of running the Jets’ defense during the game, or if Bowles did so for the second straight week.
Isaiah Crowell had 40 yards rushing on 13 attempts after setting a franchise record last week with 219 on 15 carries. He dealt with an ankle injury all week and was questionable to play.
Colts: Turbin left with an injured right shoulder after his fumble and didn’t return. … Grant injured an ankle in the second half and didn’t return. … Johnson injured his right ankle late in the game and was helped to the locker room.
Jets: WR Quincy Enunwa injured an ankle on his fumble in the second quarter and didn’t return. … S Marcus Maye left with a hand injury in the third quarter.
Colts: home vs. Buffalo next Sunday.
Jets: home vs. Minnesota next Sunday.
Source: The Associated Press