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3 Takeaways | Jets Defense Focused on Turnovers After Loss to Falcons

Xavier Gipson Emerging on Offense; Dalvin Cook Continues to Flash 


The Jets (4-8) lost to the Falcons (6-6) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Here are three takeaways from Week 13.

Strong Defensive Performance

The Jets defense played another lights-out game, holding the Falcons offense to 194 total yards. It's the third time this season the defense has held an opponentto fewer than200 yards (Giants and Chargers).

QB Desmond Ridder threw for 121 yards and 1 touchdown, and completed 44.4% of his passes (12 of 27). The Green & White secondary, led by CBs D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner, allowed 1 reception to a wide receiver – an 8-yard catch by Drake London.

"I definitely thought we played great defensively," said Reed, who had an interception called back because of an illegal contact penalty. "Obviously, we got to get the ball. We didn't have any turnovers, so that's definitely an emphasis. We had a couple calls. I had mine that got called back, which was unfortunate.

"I wouldn't consider [the safety] a turnover, but talking about in the field of play, but we definitely pride ourselves in getting the ball, so we have to figure out ways to get the ball more."

Up front, Jermaine Johnson continues his breakout season. Johnson, drafted No. 26 overall in 2022 out of Florida State, had 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits and 2 tackles for loss. He now has a team-leading 6.5 sacks, 4 more than his rookie season.

"Today was one of the first times you could really tell that guys just didn't want to line up in front of him," DL John Franklin-Myers said. "You watch 90 percent of his reps and he was on the dominating end. He is playing better as the year goes, and you can't say enough good about him."

Gipson's Role Expansion
Amid the Jets offensive struggles against the Falcons, undrafted rookie WR Xavier Gipson had a career-high 77 yards on 5 catches, both of whichled the team. Entering Sunday's game, Gipson, whose role on offense has recently increased, totaled 82 yards on 7 catches this season.

His 36-yard reception in the second quarter helped lead the Jets to their first scoring drive of the game that resulted in a 27-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-5. He later had a 25-yard catch on the team's final possession that put the offense at their 37-yard line as the group tried to surmount a comeback.

"I'm learning, trying to keep climbing, but I definitely have a lot more growing to do," Gipson said. He added of his development: "Realizing the gameplan and just playing faster. My game speed is faster and just playing within the play."

Dalvin Beginning to Cook
Jets RB Dalvin Cook continues to come on and flash the spring in his step. Cook, signed in August, had 5 rushes for 30 yards in the first half for a 6.0 average. On his first four touches (3 runs, 1 reception), he converted two first downs with an 11-yard catch-and-run and a 14-yard run.

Cook's fourth attempt went for 7 yards but resulted in a fumble that the Falcons recovered at the Jets' 47-yard line. Six plays later, the Atlanta scored the only touchdown in Sunday's game, a 20-yard pitch-and-catch from Desmond Ridder to TE MyCole Pruitt.

"It was very disappointing because it was one of those mad fumbles," Cook said. "I thought I was down and one of the legs came up and slipped it out of my arms, one of those crazy things. But I feel great, man,

I'm ready to roll. I'm ready to put it on the line for the guys, I feel great."

Cook finished with 9 carries for 35 yards, but HC Robert Saleh said the fumble did not affect his usage in the second half.

"I felt like he's been running the ball really well," Saleh said. "He looked really good in practice. He's looking good. Getting those guys more carries between him and Breece [Hall], you have to convert third downs to be able to give yourselves some extra opportunities in the run game. We ran it 25 times, but there were so many more opportunities we could have had if we could just a way to be more efficient."

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