Defense Puts Up Historic Sack Numbers in Loss

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Although the Jets suffered an agonizing one-point loss to open the season, the defensive line flourished as they recorded six of the team's seven sacks against the Bengals. Here's how significant Sunday's performance was:

  • The seven sacks set a franchise record in terms of home openers.
  • The sack barrage tied for the most in franchise history on opening day (1966 at Miami).
  • It also marked the first time since 1964 the Jets recorded more than five sacks in a season opener at home.

Second-year defensive lineman Leonard Williams led the charge in the trenches, registering a career-high 2.5 sacks and he was half of a sack shy from equaling his 2015 total.

"It feels good, but I don't want to let it get to me," he said. "I want to just keep playing and keep building up on the season and keep moving forward."

The USC product picked up where he left off as he recorded two sacks in the preseason. Williams also praised defensive tackle Steve McLendon, who recorded the first multisack game of his career.

"He wasn't able to show his full talent with the Steelers," Williams said. "He was more of a two-gap guy, taking blockers off for the linebackers. Now, in our system, he can just get off the ball and be disruptive, which is what he is."

McLendon, who had only logged five career sacks entering Sunday's matchup, was in no mood to blame the back end for some of the Bengals explosive plays.

"We're a team here, no matter what happens," he said. "Maybe we just need to get to the quarterback more, so we can keep that pressure off our linebackers and defensive backs."

The Green & White, who also featured rookie Lawrence Thomas and Jarvis Jenkins in the rotation Sunday, will add another weapon to its arsenal Thursday as Sheldon Richardson will rejoin the team from suspension.

"We are so excited to get him back," said McLendon. "It's going to help us with depth. We still have Jarvis [Jenkins], [Lawrence] Thomas and [Deon] Simon. Now we're getting a dynamic, Pro Bowl caliber guy like Sheldon back. He can get you with speed, power and quickness. He's pretty much got it all so we're excited."

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