It took the first 45:42 of their game against the Washington Redskins at New Meadowlands Stadium, but the Jets' starting offense finally got a bit of a bounce, meaning a touchdown drive.
But was it enough to give the Green & White "ones" confidence and momentum heading through next week's trip to Philadelphia, where they aren't expected to play a lick as a group, and into the Sept. 13 season opener against Baltimore?
In the words of head coach Rex Ryan, "We'll see."
The Jets' 15-play, 82-yard touchdown drive to
"We did some good things rushing the ball," Ryan said of the
The Jets finally did that with the touchdown, out of an empty backfield on the second play of the fourth quarter and it capped the prettiest drive since, well, since their only other touchdown drive of the preseason in the opener at NMS against the Giants.
It featured Sanchez completing six of eight passes for 62 yards, including four to Keller for 41 yards. It gave the hosts an 11-9 lead (after
It ended a 15-series touchdown-less drought by the first offense.
"The only good thing about it," said Sanchez, who finished 13-for-21 for 139 yards, "is that the last two games might not have left a good taste in our mouths. All the good energy we've built up, you take that away for two weeks and I think we'll be hungry."
"It's a good thing that the ones kind of ended the preseason with a nice long drive," said tackle
The negatives were those turnovers. The first offense had two, the first on a Sanchez red zone interception by D'Angelo Hall — on another ball intended for Keller.
"It was a mistake, a costly mistake," Ryan said. "It took points off our board and got them out of a hole."
Then came a
The first defense, meanwhile, was, if not perfect, effective again in its work through three quarters. The Redskins ones had no touchdowns, three field goals and 171 yards. For the first three preseason games the first defense had 15 series, on which they allowed 19 points, including one 1-yard TD "drive," a tame 4.0 yards per opponents' offensive play, and five three-and-outs plus, tonight, their first safety in any game since 2003.
The Jets' standouts were spread around the unit: Pace had a D-leading five solo tackles and a forced fumble on the hosts' only sack of the first half, rookie
But Pace left in the third quarter with a foot injury and did not return. After the game, Ryan said his top OLB "has something with his foot. I would expect him too be out a few weeks. ... That's a big loss, there's no doubt, but we're fortunate because we have a lot of depth at that position.
If you expected the 14th-year pro to flinch at this, expect something else.
"It's what I do, man. I've been doing this a long time," Taylor said. "I wouldn't walk around telling everybody I'm a 'situation guy.' If Calvin did get hurt, that's terrible, but it's my job to step up and help. Can I do it? Yeah, it's what I do."
What can the Jets do to get ready for the onrushing season? One thing they won't do, Ryan said, is to deviate from their Eagles plan.
"It hasn't changed one bit," the coach said. "We'll start working with the ones getting ready against Baltimore. Then the twos and our backups will get ready to play Philly."
The Jets' specialists had another mostly strong night.
Nick Folk extended his FG streak to 7-of-8 before coming up a few yards short from 62 yards to end the first half, then bounced a PAT off the left upright. Had Folk hit from 62, it would have been the longest FG in any game in franchise history. The longest kick remains John Hall's 59-yarder at Philadelphia in the 2001 preseason.
Tomlinson's second touch of the game was significant in a couple of respects. LT's burst off LT went for 43 yards, from the Jets 7 to midfield — the Jets' longest preseason run since, well, since
Green & White captains tonight: Holmes, Folk, LB Jason Taylor, QB Mark Brunell and WR Laveranues Coles, who of course played for the Redskins in 2003-04. ... Three injured players didn't dress for the Jets: LB Josh Mauga, S Donovan Warren and G Charlie Tanner. ... Actual attendance tonight was 50,508.