The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that it was another winnable game.
All three of these dropped games were against teams that could be in the postseason. The Jets have the toughest first half schedule in the league and a 1-3 start shouldn’t be terribly surprising for a team that is still rebuilding.
If the Jets offense can improve slightly, and cut back on the turnovers, they could be a better team. Factor in two bad calls by the officiating crew in Week 3 and this team could just as easily be 2-2 or 3-1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and the Jets are in a bad spot right now.
But positives emerged in this loss, even if it is a tough one for fans to swallow.
1. Ivory strong
Running back Chris Ivory had nine carries for 51 yards on the game’s opening drive, compared to just one rush for one yard for Chris Johnson. But despite his hot start, Ivory inexplicably did not get a touch on the Jets’ next two drives. Without Ivory, the offense stalled and he would emerge later in the second quarter to key their ability to move the ball again. He finished with 84 yards on 17 carries and added two catches for 16 yards. Ivory brings hard, reliable running to the table and right now he is the only player in the backfield that seems to get consistent yardage. He might be the team’s best option on offense right now.
2. Pass rush dominates
Don’t blame the defensive line for the loss. They sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford four times and limited the Lions to 88 rushing yards, much of which came late in the game. The Lions had just 3.3 yards per carry, a stat that shows how one-dimensional the Jets made Detroit. An inept offense and constantly playing with a short field hurt the defense. If cornerback Dee Milliner can not only be healthy but return at a high level, this Jets defense isn’t too far away from being good.
3. Jace is (almost) an ace
After struggling with a bad drop in the loss to the Bears, rookie second-round pick Jace Amaro rebounded nicely against the Lions. His numbers weren’t huge, but he was second on the team with five catches for 58 yards. Amaro got open in the zone and held onto the ball when Geno Smith found him. His route running was solid on Sunday as well. Given the issues throwing the ball down the field, the Jets need Amaro to become reliable. He actually put up bigger numbers than Eric Ebron, a first-round pick in this May’s NFL Draft and the top tight end selected.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.