Good morning, I’m Kevin Sweeney, filling in for Dan Gartland. It was nearly an enchanted night for Jets fans.
In today’s SI:AM:
Chiefs Escape Feisty Jets
After how poorly the Jets’ offense had played in two weeks with Zach Wilson as the starting quarterback, few anticipated the Jets finding a way to hang around with the defending champion Chiefs.
But in a Sunday Night Football clash that at times seemed to be billed more as a chance to see Taylor Swift cheer on Travis Kelce than an actual football game, Wilson and the Jets gave Kansas City all they had. After falling behind 17–0 early, the Jets rallied to tie the game at 20 before eventually suffering yet another gut-wrenching defeat.
The key play came midway through the fourth quarter. With the Jets driving near midfield down 23–20 with a chance to tie or take the lead, Wilson fumbled a shotgun snap, and the ball was recovered by Chiefs lineman Tershawn Wharton. It was the only big mistake of the game in what was otherwise a banner performance for the much-maligned QB, who completed 28 of his 39 passes and threw a pair of touchdown passes. That gave the ball back to Kansas City, and the Chiefs managed to maintain possession for the final 7:24 thanks to a pair of key Patrick Mahomes scrambles and a controversial defensive holding call that erased a Jets interception.
There isn’t much room for moral victories given the loss drops the Jets to just 1–3, but outside of the fumble, it was a promising performance from Wilson. As Robert Saleh said postgame, the Jets will win plenty of games if they get that version of Wilson consistently. And Kansas City escapes New Jersey at 3–1 despite some uncharacteristic Mahomes turnovers and a few lapses defensively.
Other notes from a busy NFL Sunday:
- If your favorite team lost this weekend, at least you can be grateful you’re not a Bears fan. Chicago blew a 28–7 home lead to the Broncos after a comedy of fourth-quarter errors (including a bizarre choice to go for it on fourth down with a chance to take the lead with a field goal). At least it improved its odds of landing Caleb Williams in 2024, right?
- The Bills made a statement, shredding apart the Miami defense in a 48–20 blowout victory that saw Josh Allen account for five touchdowns. That result could end up being fairly important in the AFC East race.
- Texans fans have to feel good about young QB C.J. Stroud. He has now led them to back-to-back upset wins, this time beating the Steelers handily and looking good while doing it. Houston needs only one more win to match its total from all of last season.
- Meanwhile, the legend of Rams rookie Puka Nacua continues to grow. He tallied 9 catches for 163 yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime, and is now clearly outpacing Cooper Kupp’s record-setting 2021 season from a receiving yards standpoint.
- And finally, Christian McCaffrey continues to play like Superman. He added to his streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown in style, with four scores (three rushing, one receiving) against a Cardinals defense that had no answers. MVP is a quarterback’s award these days, but McCaffrey’s impact as both a runner and pass-catcher should at least put him in the conversation.
The best of Sports Illustrated
- Conor Orr goes in-depth on a calamitous loss by the Bears, the latest signal that the organization’s planned rebuild has failed.
- There wasn’t much postseason drama on the final day of the baseball regular season, but Emma Baccellieri fills you in on what you might have missed … including Buck Showalter’s stepping away from the Mets.
- Europe officially has won the Ryder Cup yet again. That prompted this outstanding column from Alex Miceli on the need for an American overhaul on how it approaches the event.
- Pat Forde hands out awards for the first full month of college football, including love for Caleb Williams and criticism of LSU’s rough start.
- Gilberto Manzano answers whether the Bills are the best team in football after their romp of the Dolphins. Plus, his thoughts on the struggling Falcons offense.
And more from Orr, this time on the Chargers, who earned what could be a season-changing win by holding off the Raiders at home.
The top five…
…things I saw this weekend:
Who is MLB’s all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman? (Today is the anniversary of when he passed Ryne Sandberg to move to the top of that list.)
- Robinson Canó
- Craig Biggio
- Chase Utley
- Jeff Kent
Friday’s SIQ: MLB announced on this day in 2004 that the Expos would be moving from Montreal to Washington. Which of the following cities was not a finalist to host the franchise before Washington was announced as the winner?
- Portland, Ore.
- Monterrey, Mexico
- Las Vegas
Answer: Nashville. As uncertainty around the fate of the Expos grew, several potential ownership groups pitched themselves to MLB. According to an Associated Press article, the other contenders were Las Vegas; Norfolk, Va.; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Ore.; and Northern Virginia.
In 1996, Monterrey hosted MLB’s first regular-season games outside the U.S. and Canada. When the Expos were looking for another city to play some of their home games in the 2004 season, Monterrey pitched itself as a potential host before eventually losing out to San Juan, Puerto Rico. MLB returned to Monterrey in ’18 for three games between the Dodgers and Padres, followed by four games the next year.