Some of the Jets' offensive benchmarks on opening day looked promising at first glance. Joe Flacco completed 37 passes for 307 yards. The Jets outgained Baltimore by over 100 yards. Michael Carter, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis all provided some explosive highlights.
But fans also knew the Jets' 24-9 loss to the Ravens wasn't quite that close.
"Yeah, I think you could tell how frustrating it was out there," Flacco said after the home opening-day loss. "Especially early on, just the way we started it in the first half. We never got into any rhythm or into any momentum. We'd have a play, get across midfield, then stall out."
And then in the second half came some more errors. Rookie RB Breece Hall was close to a first down — and then he wasn't, having the ball punched out of his grip for a lost fumble. The next drive moved well for its first 14 plays to the Baltimore 6, then ended roughly when second-year RB Carter dropped a sure touchdown pass from Flacco at the goal line.
Head coach Robert Saleh applied a positive spin as he was asked to cast a critical eye at his offense.
"Obviously, we all agree it's never good enough, especially when you're not scoring points," Saleh said. "But we were moving the ball. It always comes down to one or two plays to get momentum going. There were plays when we weren't helping Joe, and there were plays when he wasn't helping either."
"We took 14 points off the board, if you look at it," TE C.J. Uzomah, who had no targets and thus no catches in his Jets debut, told ESPN New York Radio. "It's all self-inflicted. The Ravens are a good team, I'm not going to discredit them, but we hurt ourselves. Things we can fix, we'll fix. We had a talk in the locker room after the game. We're not going to let it happen again. We were upset with ourselves and how many missed opportunities we had."
Flacco declined to fault a struggling performance by his offensive line, which didn't have Duane Brown (IR, shoulder) and so had George Fant back at LT and fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell at RT.
"I think they did a great job," he said of his OL. "I think we ran the ball well at times. There were some big chunks out there. We got into a dropback game today and had to throw the ball a whole lot. But I think they'll be a good group. They did a good job today, playing hard and fighting hard."
Of the things that Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur have to do, one will be to tighten Flacco's protection for next Sunday at Cleveland and the following week at home vs. Cincinnati — Flacco was sacked three times and hit 11 times in collecting those 37 completions on 59 attempts, the most by a Jets QB since Mark Sanchez also had 59 attempts vs. the Giants in 2011.
See the best images from the opening game of the 2022 season at MetLife Stadium.
The offense went 0-for-its-first-8 on third-down opportunities before finishing 2-of-6 in the final frame. The tight ends that figured to be a big contributor to the offense had three catches on its first seven targets for 11 yards before Tyler Conklin's 3-yard score with 1:00 left on the clock.
So it was definitely a mixed offensive bag, and since the Jets didn't cut the lead to 24-9 with that lone minute staring down from the videoboards. It wasn't a satisfying opening day in many respects. But still the QB was far from sounding the fire alarm.
"Listen, I've been saying it a lot, and this is including me and not just the young guys. I think we do have a good team and it's just a matter of realizing that and turning it on," Flacco said. "It's about having the belief and having the confidence to go out there and take over games. We have to go out there and believe."