New York Jets: What Good Can Be Taken out of Their Loss to the Ravens?
Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and lost three fumbles as the Jets offense only managed to record 150 yards.
New York also committed nine penalties for 69 yards, and the Ravens dominated the time of possession, controlling the ball for an unbelievable 37:28 minutes compared to the Jets' 22:32.
The Jets' offensive line was pushed around all night, and at one point Ryan was forced to use Wayne Hunter, Vladamir Ducasse, and Matt Slauson all at the same time. Sanchez was hit time and time again, and was unable to get into a groove for a second straight week.
Ryan has been known to run his mouth, but he usually backs it up on the field. However, last night's game caused a lot of fans to lose hope in his team. One fan blogged on the Jets' game cast, "Big mouth can't back it up. Again."
However, all hope is not lost for the Jets.
Despite being down 27-7 early, the Jets managed to get to within ten before Sanchez threw the interception that was returned for six points. Some good can be taken out of last night's debacle, and here are some key points that may help the Jets as the season progresses.
1. Antonio Cromartie
Antonio Cromartie hasn't had a great season in 2011, and he needed to perform at a high level against Baltimore to get the media off his back.
Cromartie did just that, holding rookie Torrey Smith to just one reception for one yard. Cromartie and Revis held Joe Flacco to just 163 yards and zero touchdowns, and the once-dominant one-two punch in the Jets secondary seems to be back in action.
Cromartie also managed to limit his penalties, as he only got called for one holding call for five yards in the first quarter. Cromartie had four penalties against the Raiders last week, and has held the Jets' defense back because of it in 2011.
Flacco has been known to be an accurate quarterback in his career, yet Cromartie was key in holding the Ravens to a season-low in passing yards. If fans take anything out of this game, it should be the impressive rebound of Antonio Cromartie.
2. Joe McKnight
One of the Jets' only bright spots came early in the first quarter, when Joe McKnight returned a kickoff 107 yards to tie the game 7-7.
The kickoff came after Mark Sanchez was stripped by Ed Reed on the Jets' first play from scrimmage and the ball was returned for a touchdown. The Jets needed a spark to keep themselves and the fans in the game, and McKnight delivered.
Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff has always been tough on McKnight, who struggled to make the team his rookie year and almost played his way out of a job. Yet 2011 has been a huge year for McKnight, who not only has this touchdown but blocked a punt against Dallas during the Jets' huge comeback win in their home opener.
The departure of Brad Smith in the offseason and the recent injury to Antonio Cromartie have left a void in the special teams unit. However, as ESPN New York Jets writer Rich Cimini tweeted, "the Jets have found their kick returner."
3. Aaron Maybin
The Jets' defense certainly bounced back well from the 34-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders, in which they were run all over and couldn't stop running back Darren McFadden.
The biggest Achilles' heel for New York the past two seasons was the pass rush, which has failed to get to the quarterback and force bad passes or turnovers. In light of their lack of speed, Rex Ryan decided it was time for Aaron Maybin to get a second chance.
Maybin, who was brought in by the Jets after a disappointing career in Buffalo, has great potential to be a good pass rusher in a defense that thrives on blitzing. He showed last night that he could play at the professional level, recording his first career sack and forcing a turnover that at the time seemed to help the Jets get back in the game (before the Sanchez interception).
One of the big stories coming out of Baltimore last night was the loss of linebacker Bryan Thomas, who was on crutches and in a boot after suffering an ankle injury and leaving the game. Although there is currently no timetable for his return, it doesn't look like he will be playing any time soon.
Current backup Jamaal Westerman has struggled to keep up with NFL offenses, as seen by his missed tackles against the Raiders two weeks ago. Maybin has a chance to not only start on this defense, but play at a high level and help the Jets get back to their successful pass rush.
If last night's game was any sign of the future of Aaron Maybin, it was certainly a strong start.
4. Sione Pouha
Sione Pouha has been a consistent backup for the Jets since being drafted in the third round of the 2005 draft. He was constantly overshadowed by bust Dwayne Robertson and, most recently, Pro Bowler Kris Jenkins.
When Jenkins retired in the offseason after suffering another significant injury in 2010, Pouha finally got the chance to become a starter for the Jets after six years.
Pouha had struggled through the first three games of the season, only racking up six tackles against the poor offensive lines of Dallas, Jacksonville, and Oakland. However, in last night's game he finally got into gear.
Pouha recorded a team-high eight tackles against a tough Ravens offensive line, doubling his season total and also recording a tackle for a loss. In the middle of a defensive line that includes a rookie in Muhammad Wilkerson and middle of the road end in Mike Devito, Pouha must step up to lead a run defense that is currently the worst in the AFC.
They were also to contain Ray Rice and Ricky Williams, which is something not many teams have done in 2011. Pouha impressed a lot of people yesterday, and he is someone who may play a big role in the run defense's success this year.
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