It's amazing what you'll think about running 100 miles an hour chasing a football bouncing around on the turf like a greased watermelon at a picnic.
Konrad Reuland's thoughts turned to Dave Casper.
"When you see the ball on the ground, you have to pursue that thing," said Reuland, the Jets tight end and special teams contributor, of the late-first-half muffed punt by the Jaguars' Tobais Taylor that he nearly recovered for a touchdown.
In fact, at first it appeared Reuland did score the TD that would've given the Jets a 17-13 lead. But NFL rules dictate that muffed punts can be recovered but not advanced by the kicking team. Reuland admitted he caught the ball around the Jags 3-yard line, and also admitted he had a fleeting thought of "doing a Casper" on the ball, a little number named after the Raiders TE who intentionally nudged the ball ahead of him into the end zone, where he recovered it for a touchdown in a 1978 game.
"There was a small part of me that wanted to kind of accidentally bobble it a little bit," he said. "But I just said, 'I'm just going to scoop and score here.' Because I was running, I didn't know if he muffed it or fumbled it. It just kind of happened so quickly. You just know the ball's on the ground. I just figured scoop-and-score just in case."
Reuland nearly became the first Jet to recover/return a fumble for a preseason touchdown in eight years. Instead, the Jets squandered the great field position when time ran out on their drive and they went into the locker room on the short end of 13-10.
Konrad Reuland also had a superb 31-yard reception on a third-quarter Mark Sanchez pass — "It was just as good a throw as it was a catch, I can promise you that," he said — and got fourth-quarter work at fullback that he called "very valuable reps for me."
But the near-gem of the night for him was the fumble recovery, in some ways similar to the ball he came away with after a width-of-the-field dash to jump into a pile during Game 7 at New England last year. Reuland's message for all such situations: "Just never give up on a loose ball."
But Mike Edwards Did Get In
Reuland didn't score but undrafted rookie CB Mike Edwards did, crowning our evening with his end zone fumble recovery of an errant shotgun snap from the Jacksonville 22. So Edwards became the first Jet to score on a preseason fumble recovery/return since Aug. 26, 2005, when both veteran Bryan Thomas and rookie Ryan Myers had end zone TDs against the Giants.
A Game of Distinction(s)
In turning a nailbiting first half into a runaway second half, we passed a number of preseason milestones:
■ The 37 points was the Jets' most in a preseason game since our 38-27 Meadowlands win over Philadelphia in 2009. The last time we scored more than Saturday's 27 second-half points in one half was the 29-point second half in the 38-17 win over the Vikings, also in the old Meadowlands.
■ The 24-point margin of victory was our most in a preseason game since the 31-7 win at Indianapolis in '04. The last larger win: by 41-14 over the Eagles in the 1992 Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.
■ With the 249-yard second half, the Jets gained 408 yards on the game. That is our first 400-yard preseason game since clearing 430 yards three times in the summer of 2000.
The last time Matt Simms played anywhere in the Meadowlands was as Don Bosco Prep's championship QB. This time he took the offense's reins from Mark Sanchez and completed all five of his passes for 73 yards in front of family and friends in the MetLife stands. "It was important because I want to make the team and be a part of the team," Simms said of returning to the neighborhood. "It's important on so many other levels, no matter where the game was played. I'm just happy I went out there and executed the offense, finished the game in a four-minute drill, and took a knee."
For the defense, S Dawan Landry had a team-high eight tackles. We got only one sack of the hurryup Jaguars offense, by backup LB Ricky Sapp, but we had 10 pass defenses for the game. ... One of the PDs was turned in by LB Quinton Coples, who hurt his leg on the play. Rex Ryan said he didn't know the severity of the injury. ... Besides Geno Smith, the following Jets did not play against the Jags: P Robert Malone, WR Santonio Holmes (PUP), RB Joe McKnight, FB Lex Hilliard, LB Josh Mauga, C Dalton Freeman, G Brian Winters and DT Kenrick Ellis.