EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets pulled off the type of victory that even Broadway Joe could appreciate.
With Joe Namath and the 1968 Super Bowl-winning squad watching , Jason Myers kicked a franchise-record seven field goals, Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes, and the 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.
“The game wasn’t perfect, by no means,” coach Todd Bowles said. “With the growth of the team, we probably would’ve lost this one a year ago or a couple of weeks ago. So, to win ugly, for us, is a pretty good thing.”
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.
“It’s one of those bittersweet victories,” Claiborne said. “You played well enough to win the game, but you feel like you could’ve played a lot better. You never want to give up that many points.”
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.
“We’re definitely back in the thick of things,” Darnold said. “But at the same time, we’re not satisfied.”
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).
“It’s more important that we got the win,” Myers said, “but being able to help out and do what I can that way, that’s what’s most important to me.”
Myers’ 24 total points are the second-highest single-game total by a player who did not score a touchdown in NFL history. Only the Titans’ Rob Bironas, who holds the mark with eight field goals in a game, had more: 26 on Oct. 21, 2007.
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.
It all had Luck pondering whether it’s tough finding the joy in football.
“At times, especially when I do things — stupid is the only word that comes to mind,” he said. “We do some silly things to ourselves, but when it comes to having fun playing, I’m having fun playing.”
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 when 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 Darron 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.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” Luck said. “I feel a bit like a broken record. Talking about it is the easy part. It’s doing it. It’s living it.”
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, who has not been coaching the last two weeks while dealing with an unspecified illness, was on the field before the game and watched from a box in the stadium.
“He was a casual observer,” said Bowles, who called the defense for the second straight game.
The Jets tweeted out a video of a happy Rodgers breaking down the team in the locker room after the win.
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 and was seen wearing a cast after the game. He’ll have X-rays. … Bowles said Pryor injured his groin late.
Colts: home vs. Buffalo next Sunday.
Jets: home vs. Minnesota next Sunday.
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