The NFL's August theme is "Back to Football," and the Jets' mantra for the season is "Bring It Home." But on this night the Green & White could have supplied a subtitle, something catchy like "Hard Knocks II," emphasis on the "Knocks."
The Jets came into their preseason opener, a Monday night date deep in the heart of Texas, missing three starters on their offense — center
And after a decent first quarter by the "ones," the Jets' second team didn't fare as well in the second frame as a strip sack of the temporary No. 2 QB, rookie
Call it dramatic tension. The Jets' backups climbed off the deck and came back from a 10-point deficit with 13 unanswered points — two field goals by guys named Nick sandwiched around McElroy's first pro touchdown pass and
However, the Texans responded late with what appeared to be rookie T.J. Yates' 28-yard touchdown strike to fellow rookie Lestar Jean past the defense of Jets rookie CB
On the first play after the two-minute warning, Chris Ogbonnaya capped a strong night for the home side with a 1 -yard slash off tackle and the Texans had their 20-16 edge.
Yet the Jets nearly pulled out in the final minute when McElroy found
“I hate losing, my team hates losing,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “I don’t care if it’s preseason or not."
Despite all the ups and downs, the Jets' second-half stars deserved perhaps a half-bow:
Four plays later, on third-and-goal, McElroy showed his celebrated accurate arm and Patrick Turner demonstrated his vise grips for the 2-yard score that made it 13-all with 5:56 left in the third.
And McElroy led the Jets 30 yards to the Houston 22,
"It was good just to get back on the field," said
All in all, the Jets' debut had some low points but some redeeming qualities. Not an award-winner yet, but worthy of a second episode. And that will come Sunday night in their first game of the season in their new home, New Meadowlands Stadium, against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Jets started this last game of the first preseason weekend on defense, and a fine three-and-out the first possession it was. On first down, S
And finally the offense took over. Sanchez wasn't taking any seven-step drops but he also wasn't handing off behind his rebuilt offensive line, completing his first four passes, two to
An exchange of possessions later, the Jets received another injury blow at center as Turner came up with a lower leg injury and was carted off the field. In came Center No. 3,
With two series apiece under their belts, the first teams sat down and the "twos" came on for both teams. For the Jets offense, that meant rookie QB Greg McElroy made his pro debut. It didn't take long before the Jets could say, "Houston, we have another problem."
This time Vlad Ducasse, shifting from RG to RT, gave up a strong outside rush to Jesse Nading, who sacked McElroy and forced a fumble that DE Tim Jamison recovered at the Jets 14. The Jets' second unit almost got a huge fourth-and-inches stop at their 5, but "almost" didn't cut it on this drive. The Texans took the gift field position and big first down and converted into the game's first TD, a Matt Leinart flip to RB Chris Ogbonnaya on a play in which the safeties seemed to fall for a Leinart playfake. With 7:45 to play in the half it was 10-3, Houston.
McElroy almost committed another disastrous giveaway when his underthrown pass for Kerley was picked off by CB Antuan Molden and returned deep into Jets territory. But Molden was caught grabbing Kerley's facemask at the line, so the Jets retained possession. However, that drive, mired at second-and-28, stalled and the Texans took it close enough one more time for a Rackers 47-yard field goal.
"I did, I felt a lot better in the second half," McElroy said. "I played a lot more confidently going through my progressions. I felt a lot more comfortable."
The last play of the first half was a sack of McElroy, making the Jets 1-for-6 on third-down conversions and giving the Texans a 13-3 lead to take into their Reliant locker room.
Kerley's returning was the highlight of the first half for the Jets. He had two KO returns out of the end zone for 65 yards and two punt returns, his first going for those 11 yards. On offense the TCU product had three catches for 20 yards and an 8-yard loss on a well-smelled-out end-around. ...
Jets game captains tonight were Sanchez, Holmes,
Photos: Jets vs Texans