EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When the loudest cheers of the night early on were for the guy with the t-shirt cannon, it is a bad sign, even if it is preseason. But the New York Jets turned those mocking cheers from a terrible first quarter into some legitimate enthusiasm at MetLife Stadium on their way to a 30-22 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
A safety by rookie defensive end Leonard Williams got the Jets on the board, followed by a touchdown drive and then a field goal on their next two series. The touchdown, a 33-yard rumble by running back Chris Ivory capped off a 73-yard drive that was the first touchdown of preseason for the Jets.
The Jets, at one point down 14-0, rolled off 30 straight points to level their preseason record to 1-1.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall emerged as a prime target in the game, showing strength and power in the open field including a 30-yard catch midway through the second quarter. It was also a good game for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who finished 13-for-19 for 118 yards and was sacked once.
But while there was plenty to cheer about in the second and third quarters, it was a sloppy game from the Jets, who had 17 penalties that cost the team 125 yards.
1. Starting Defense Struggles – A 60-yard pass reception from Matt Ryan to the fullback keyed the Falcons opening drive of the game as the Matt Ryan led-offense went 85 yards in six plays. The drive was efficient for the visitors and sloppy from the Jets. Besides Quinton Coples being beat for the big gain by Collin Mooney, there was a holding call on Darrelle Revis that gave the Falcons a fresh set of downs inside the red zone. On the next play, Terron Ward went four yards off tackle for a 7-0 lead.
Last week in Detroit and this week in their second preseason game, the defense struggled to make plays on their opening drive and they looked overall like a team still stuck in minicamp. There was some improvement this week but still a lot of work to be done.
2. Williams Shows He's the Real Deal - A couple of big plays where he negated runs at the line of scrimmage and one-and-a-half sacks, one that was a safety, showcased why this rookie can be so special. His burst off the line is tremendous and he uses his long wingspan very well.
There's a reason why he was the top player on many teams draft boards, and he showed why on Friday night with a very solid performance against the Falcons.
He finished the night with five tackles, three for losses.
3. #QuigleyForProBowl – A sign of how bad things were for the Jets early in the game is that, once again, punter Ryan Quigley was one of the standouts of the opening two quarters. He had a 52-yard punt in the second quarter and four pinned punts inside the 20-yard line. Quigley has looked good in training camp and seems to be getting better each year.
Now the Jets bounced back to score 30 unanswered points but Quigley still showed increased leg strength and some good directional punting.
He averaged 44.8 yards on nine punts.