The bounce back never happened. After a bad road loss to the Raiders last weekend, the Jets never got the strong start they needed to get soaring. Instead, they endured a disastrous first quarter where they got physically outplayed and outhustled. Sunday night’s 34-17 loss to the Ravens was a disappointing game and with a trip next weekend to Foxboro, Mass. to take on the Patriots, a season of promise could be spiraling into mediocrity.
Three positives ...
1. McKnight Goes Special
Down 7-0 after the Jets had a turnover on the opening play of their first drive, Joe McKnight took the ball seven yards deep in his own end zone and worked his way through the heart of the Ravens’ kickoff coverage for a huge special teams play. McKnight’s individual heroics were the only sign of life in the first quarter from a Jets team that conceded 165 yards of total offense and fell behind 17-7.
2. Harris Breathes Life
It had gotten ugly midway through the second quarter, with the Jets down 27-7 and the game seemingly out of control. But then David Harris stepped forward to pick off Joe Flacco and return it 35 yards to breathe some life into the Jets. The defense then forced a three-and-out and on their next drive, Nick Folk hit a 40-yard field to make the score 27-17. The Jets suddenly had a pulse.
3. Maybin He’s Good
Aaron Maybin, who was picked up this week after he was released just prior to the Week 1 season opener, came in and made his presence felt. In the first quarter, the outside linebacker applied pressure off the edge on Flacco, forcing a hurried pass from the quarterback. Then in the third quarter, Maybin again burst off the edge and forced a fumble, leading to a turnover. Formerly considered a bust, all that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is asking of the first-round pick to do is run forward really fast and towards the quarterback. And it seems to be working.
Three negatives ...
1. Sanchez Gets Blindsided
Apparently, the New York defense didn’t see any game film of free safety Ed Reed, despite the fact that Jets head coach Rex Ryan talked up Reed all week long in his press conferences. But on the Jets’ opening possession — the very first play, in fact — Reed lined up on the line, to quarterback Mark Sanchez’s blindside. There was no disguise, no stunts, nothing hidden – it was obvious to everyone in the stadium that Reed was going to rush the quarterback. Yet somehow, Reed got through the line unaccounted for and forced a fumble that Jameel McClain took six yards for a Ravens 7-0 lead. It was a microcosm of the Jets’ night.
2. Plax’s Miscue
Down 20-7 early in the second quarter, the Jets needed to build a little momentum and it looked like they were on the right path when wide receiver Plaxico Burress hauled in an 11-yard reception for what would have been just the second first down of the game for the Jets. Instead, the play was called back when Burress unnecessarily had a face-mask penalty to negate the play. It was a boneheaded move by Burress to put a drive where the Jets needed something positive into a hole. Three plays later the Jets would punt.
3. Spinning Their Own Webb
It looked like maybe a former blowout had actually become a game. Down 27-17, the Jets had the ball in Baltimore’s half after Maybin’s forced fumble. Off play-action, Sanchez rolled out and locked-in on Santonio Holmes. As was the case in Week 2 when he locked-in on his two interceptions, Sanchez didn’t look at his other reads. Lardarius Webb stepped got to the ball before Holmes and return it for a momentum-changing 73-yard touchdown. The game, now at 34-14, was effectively over.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.