It was pretty tough, but the New York Jets found a way to top their debacle of a game against the Oakland Raiders.
The Jets got beat down and abused by the hellacious Baltimore Ravens defense, losing 34-17 in a game that featured just one offensive touchdown combined from the two teams.
With their offensive line on life support, the Jets struggled on nearly every offensive snap to protect Mark Sanchez, who was hit ten times and strip sacked twice, losing three fumbles and getting beaten down nearly every time he touched the ball.
The Ravens scored three defensive touchdowns, and despite an anemic offense that the Jets did an excellent job on all night, (especially after the first quarter) Baltimore rolled.
I think it’s fair to say that the Ravens are the team to beat in the AFC. This team made Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers turn the ball over seven times in their Week 1 matchup. This is an elite defense with almost no flaws. They’ll be tough to beat come January.
But the Jets defense rebounded big time after their uncharacteristic bad game against Oakland, and that’s very encouraging as the Jets get ready to face the New England Patriots next Sunday.
Sure, Joe Flacco is no Tom Brady, that’s pretty obvious. But holding the Ravens running game, led by Pro Bowler Ray Rice, to 2.5 yards per carry is a huge statement for the Jets after their leaky game in Oakland.
However, the Jets will now be without starting outside linebacker Bryan Thomas for the season after he tore his Achilles in the first half against Baltimore.
Thomas, the longest tenured Jet, is the second Jet to tear his Achilles in as many weeks after tight end Jeff Cumberland was injured in Oakland.
Now the Jets will have to piece together their edge rushing talent and make sure they can scheme around not having the big man out there to set the edge and keep contain, which is something he was very good at.
Jamaal Westerman, Aaron Maybin, Garrett McIntyre and Josh Mauga are all internal candidates to get more snaps in replace of Thomas. Neither of them are the caliber of player Thomas is.
Westerman and Maybin are better suited for a designated pass rusher role and will probably get exposed on running downs. Maybin did have his first carer sack on Sunday, but both of them are unlikely to do much as every-down linebackers.
McIntyre is recovering from a concussion and it’s not yet known if he’ll play on Sunday.
Mauga is interesting because he is an inside linebacker and has shown some pretty good ability in snaps he’s gotten over the years. He’s been working at outside linebacker in practice, and either he or Bart Scott could move out to that spot in a pinch if needed.
Right now, Ryan isn’t naming a starter, and it’ll be interesting to see who ends up getting the extra snaps. Bryan Thomas is an unsung hero on that Jets defense. Now it’s time for somebody to step up.