The Jets didn't waste time getting RB Matt Forte involved offensively in Saturday's MetLife Bowl while DE Muhammad Wilkerson imposed his will on the Giants.
Chan Gailey called Forté's number early and often. The Tulane product, seeing his first game action since signing with the Green & White in March, touched the ball on four of the Jets' first five plays and he had eight carries in the first quarter.
"He looked healthy and he looked quick," said head coach Todd Bowles of Forté. "Obviously not much production, but for him it was all about getting his feet wet, getting hit, taking live action and just getting in there."
Forté finished the game with 28 yards on 10 carries and he added nine yards on his two receptions. However, the two-time Pro Bowler isn't focusing on stats, he's just trying to get accustomed to playing under the lights again.
"It's good to get out there in a full speed environment because it's a little faster than practice when stuff is on the line like that," he said. "A game environment is different than practice. It's a need that you have to do in the preseason to go into the regular season to get you ready."
Like Forté, Wilkerson made his presence felt immediately. He stuffed Giants RB Rashad Jennings for no gain on the Jets' first defensive play. Wilkerson was just getting started as he registered four total tackles, one TFL and a QB hit that resulted in a Will Tye reception for a loss of two yards. Wilkerson's efforts on defense helped the unit hold the G-Men to five rushing yards in the first half and they also held the visitors to just 1-of-7 on third down.
"From what I could tell he looked fine," Bowles said of Wilkerson, who had surgery in the offseason to repair a broken fibula. "I thought he looked good up front and looked like he was ready to go. He could use some more snaps and get into a little better shape, but he was good."