The Jets' defense dedicated Sunday's 34-16 win over the Denver Broncos to defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who was absent due to what head coach Todd Bowles called a "serious illness."
"We had a brother down, and that was our message," safety Jamal Adams said, according to the New York Post's Brian Costello. "We wanted to play for him. I know he is smiling right now. [I'm sure] he was excited the way we played, and we can't wait to get him back."
Bowles called plays in Rodgers' absence on Sunday, and the Jets sacked Broncos quarterback Case Keenum four times and held them to 10 points through three quarters. They stopped the Broncos on third down 10 of 14 times and prevented them from converting on their lone fourth-down attempt.
"It was hard, but we do what we gotta do to win," Bowles said, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. "The coaches did a great job helping me out all day long…. The first time around on such a short week with everything happening, it was tough."
The 49-year-old Rodgers could miss multiple weeks, according to Bowles, and while he was not with the team in person on Sunday, he was with the players in spirit.
"When we found out, it definitely hit home," linebacker Darron Lee said. "At the end of the day, for all of our young careers, he's always believed in us. We always want him here. You obviously want to make your teammates proud and your coaches proud. He's here in spirit. We know he's going to fight through. We definitely got this win for him."
The Jets did not reveal specifically the illness with which Rodgers is dealing, but each player lended his support.
"Everybody took this game a little more personal just because of the situation that's going on with Coach Kacy," cornerback Morris Claiborne said. "(It) made someone watch a little extra film. That situation made somebody do something a little extra. We were able to put it all together at the end of the day."