GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Breece Hall, Quinnen Williams and the young New York Jets are making a convincing statement to the rest of the NFL.
They aren’t the same old Jets who haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2010 season, the league’s longest active drought.
Hall ran for 116 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, and Williams had two of New York’s four sacks against Aaron Rodgers as the Jets won their third straight, 27-10 over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
“It just shows that we’re trending upwards,” said Hall, a rookie second-rounder who has quickly become a key playmaker in the offense. “I feel like a lot of people expected that it would be a surprise if we won this game, but we expected to come in and win this game.”
Their confidence was apparent from their exuberance.
Hall celebrated his fourth-quarter touchdown by doing his own version of a “Lambeau Leap ” into a collection of Jets fans.
“We actually had all talked about it before the game,” Hall said. “We were like, whichever one of us scores, we’ve got to do the ‘Lambeau Leap.’ Brax (Braxton Berrios) got the first one, but I don’t think there were any Jets fans on the side that he scored. So when I scored, I had to do it.”
Jets rookie cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was seen after the game modeling one of the cheesehead hats typically worn by Packers fans as he walked around Lambeau Field.
Gardner said afterward that some Jets fans had given it to him.
“Just being able to play against somebody like Aaron Rodgers, that was a true blessing,” Gardner said. “I said I grew up playing Madden and he’s always been on Madden since I can remember. Running off the field with that cheesehead thing, with cheese on my head, that was a crazy feeling right there. I’m never going to forget that.”
The Jets (4-2) are off to their best six-game start since 2015, when they also were 4-2 before finishing with a 10-6 record.
They’re feeding off the mindset of their coach.
“Just keep giving them body blow after body blow after body blow and just keep hitting them,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “Just keep hitting them in the mouth. O-line just keep pushing and leaning on them. And we felt like if we could just keep taking them down the deep water, they’ll find out they can’t swim. It was just a mindset.”
Eventually, the Packers sank.
Green Bay (3-3) has lost consecutive regular-season games within the same season for the first time since coach Matt LaFleur’s arrival in 2019. The Packers fell 27-22 to the New York Giants in London last week.
The Jets, whose offensive coordinator is LaFleur’s younger brother Mike, outrushed Green Bay 179-60 in a game during which Zach Wilson was just 10 of 18 for 110 yards.
Rodgers was asked after the game if he felt the Packers’ season was getting a little wobbly with the team falling to .500.
“We’ve got to be realistic of where we’re at,” said Rodgers, who went 26 of 41 for 246 yards with a touchdown. “We’ve played a couple of subpar games the last two. We’ve got to play better. But wobbly? Only if people are breaking rank. I think it’ll be interesting to look at the comments from all of our guys and coaches, and hopefully we stick together.
“That’s the important thing. Until I see us breaking ranks, I’m not going to say there’s any wobbliness going on.”
Rodgers had injured his right thumb while getting sacked as he prepared to throw a Hail Mary pass on the final play against the Giants. The thumb prevented Rodgers from practicing Wednesday.
He said after the game his thumb was “a little sore” but added that it only impacted him on “maybe a couple (of throws), but not too many.”
New York broke a 3-all tie and pulled ahead for good by scoring two touchdowns in a span of less than 2 1/2 minutes in the third quarter.
Berrios gave the Jets the lead by scoring on a 20-yard end-around. After New York stopped Green Bay on its next possession, Michael Clemons blocked a punt and Will Parks got the ball and raced 20 yards into the end zone.
The Packers got back in the game as Rodgers threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard later in the third.
New York quickly resumed control.
Hall scored on his 34-yard burst to open the fourth quarter to make it 24-10, the longest run from scrimmage in the young career of the rookie second-round pick from Iowa State.
“It was supposed to be a reverse pass,” Hall said. “I was supposed to pitch it to Garrett (Wilson), but I felt the D-end was too far upfield so I couldn’t get the pitch off. I just saw daylight and just let my natural ability take over.”
The Packers entered Sunday having won 20 of the last 21 home games Rodgers had started against AFC teams, including 11 straight victories.
But the reigning MVP had a frustrating afternoon against the Jets’ promising young defense.
“We feel like our D-line matches up from an advantages standpoint versus anybody, whether that’s cocky or unguided confidence, whatever it is,” Saleh said. “We love our D-line. We think they’re a rolling ball of butcher knives, and there’s a lot of them that can play at a high level.”
They’re starting to realize just how high they can go.
“We see where we can go when we do the things we need to do,” Williams said.