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Jets' Defensive Showing vs. Dolphins Is a Tale of Two Halves

S Marcus Maye: 'It's Tough to Fight Back, Even Though We Played Well When We Settled Down'


It was cold comfort in hot and humid Miami for the Jets and their fans to watch the Green & White defense bounce back after getting creased for 200 yards and 3 TDs in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Dolphins.

But you just know Ryan Fitzpatrick and the 'Fins would have wanted to hang up some points and yards on the Jets in the final 30 minutes as they did at San Francisco in the previous week's upset special. So there is something to be said about rebounding to limit the home team to 102 yards and no touchdowns in the second half of any game.

"Yeah, those early struggles put us in a hole," safety Marcus Maye said. "We fought back the rest of the game, but we can't put ourselves in that hole in the beginning of the game. Especially down 21 points that fast, it's tough to fight back, even though we played well when we settled down."

"In one aspect, you can feel like you're doing good," LB Tarell Basham said, "but in another aspect, we could be lacking in some things. We have to come out and play. We have yet to play a complementary game in all phases. Once we do that, we'll get the results that we need."

Besides the yardage reduction in the second half, there was the defense's third-down play as the Fitzpatrick-led offense was held to 0 of 8 on third downs before rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa came on to pick up the first conversion late.

Then there's the matter of turnovers. It doesn't compute but the Jets had two takeaways, both on FitzPicks, to the Dolphins' one. For the season, the 0-6 Jets have a plus-3 turnover margin.

The first INT was a red zone theft by CB Brian Poole intended for TE Mike Gesicki down the middle that prevented more damage from being done to the visitors in the final minute of the first half after they had fallen behind, 21-0.

The second pick is the one folks will be talking about. We'll leave the nicknames to others, but Maye leaped and caught the longball intended for WR Preston Williams, lost the handle on the ball when Williams reached for it while both were tumbling to the grass, then regained control by trapping it first against his backside, then against his back before grabbing it to complete the takeaway.

Maye, asked to describe the play, preferred to leave the superlatives to the media and played his answer straight down the middle.

"I just read the route, did what I'm coached, played the ball — see the ball in the air and go get it," he said. "I tried to set that move up earlier in the game. I just had to be patient. When they threw it again, I was ready for it."

With still a number of good players on the defensive side of the ball, the two Jets defenders said it should be possible for the Green & White to "get the results that we need" for some of the remaining 10 games on the schedule.

"We've just got to stick together and block out the noise," said Basham, who got his first sack of the season in the second quarter for one of those third-down stops. "We have a lot of good things that we're going to build off of from this game. We'll move forward, correct the mistakes, and figure out how to make the necessary plays in order for us to win that first game."

"It's a new day, a new week," Maye explained. "I don't think anybody has the mindset of giving up. I know I definitely don't. We've just got to try to improve from this week. I know that sounds like a broken record, but each week in the NFL is a new week, a new slate. We've just got to find a way to get it done."

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