It has all the makings of a trap game.
The Jets face a Jaguars team that, though there may be numerous
question marks about their offense, is undoubtedly a team that can give
the Jets fits. For proof of this, they need only look back two years ago.
On one of the last plays of the final drive, the Jets pulled their defenders back to allow running back Maurice Jones-Drew to score, with the hope that they would get the ball back with time for one last offensive chance.
The Jets were without a timeout and were willing to concede their lead 22-21 lead to stop the clock.
Jones-Drew instead scampered nine yards and pulled up along the goal line, taking a knee. This play let Jacksonville kick the game-winning field goal as time expired, giving them a come from behind win on the road.
“That was probably the only significant thing I remember from that game,” nose tackle Sione Pouha said. “I’ve got short-term memory with a loss.”
It was the type of game the Jets want to forget, but would be wise to review.
Jacksonville out-muscled New York and opened giant holes for Jones-Drew, who had 123 rushing yards and a touchdown. For a team that prides themselves on their physicality, it was a humbling performance.
“They handed it to us; they imposed their will on us. They ran the ball better than we did, they were more physical than us,” Ryan said. “We’ll let the video do the talking.”
It has been a talking point this week, even as the Jets choose not to dwell on a game two years old. Ryan has spoken with his team about the need to be physical and step up this time. They can’t be out-muscled by a Jaguars team that takes pride in their hard-hitting defense and smash mouth running game. It is an identity that is the mirror image of the Jets.
“They’re like us, they like to run the ball and that offensive line opens things up for them by being physical. They are a physical team,” guard Brandon Moore told Metro. “And that’s one thing Rex mentioned to us about two years ago was that they were more physical then we were. It is a point of pride for us and we need to match it and beat it this year.”
The Jaguars forced three turnovers in that game two years ago and limited Mark Sanchez to just a 59.3 quarterback rating — one of the lowest of his three-year career. Generating a good pass rush repeatedly put Sanchez under pressure and filling the gaps helped limit running backs Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene to just 3.7 yards per carry.
So while the Jets know from experience that their opponent on Sunday wants to impose their will on the game, there is also a wariness of their own emotional high. The dramatic Week 1 comeback win over Dallas was not only a terrific lift for the team, but it was played amidst the ceremony of a nation remembering the Sept. 11 attacks. This week it would be easy for an emotional letdown.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.