It is often hard -- and Sunday's Jets home opener against San Francisco was one of those days -- to extract positives from a 31-13 loss.
Linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who has been a Jets player for five years (tied for longest with Steve McLendon) since being drafted in the third round out of Georgia in 2016, was downcast and disappointed after the team's second-straight loss to open the 2020 NFL season.
"Honestly, we just have to be dialed in 100 percent of the time," Jenkins told reporters after the game. "We can't be right nine of 10 plays and have that one play you're not right on. We're going to pay for it."
Jenkins was obliquely referring to a pair of key plays that signified the struggles the defense had against San Francisco in the 31-13 loss at MetLife Stadium.
No. 1 was the game's first play from scrimmage when the Niners Raheem Mostert took a hand off from QB Jimmy Garoppolo and scampered 80 yards for a TD. Asked about the play, Head Coach Adam Gase said, "We knew we had to limit explosive plays. We didn't do that. They outran us. We didn't take good angles on a guy who's fast."
No. 2 came on San Francisco's first possession of the second half after a Jets (0-2) punt. With the 49ers (1-1) facing third-and-31 from their 11, and the Jets smelling a chance to get the ball and get back into the game, Jerick McKinnon (who came on for the injured Mostert) galloped 55 yards to the Jets' 34. The run led to Robbie Gould's 46-yard field goal and upped the score to 24-3. "It goes back to guys not being in the correct gaps," Jenkins, 25, said. "When you play teams with good vision and good speed they will take advantage of it."
Jenkins repeated: "We're going to pay for it 100 percent of the time. Now you have to step up and don't just come in tomorrow and try to get through the day. Watch film and fix it. If the coach says something don't just nod, ask a question. You got to look yourself in the mirror. Just go out and do it. You got to do what you're supposed to do."
Jenkins, along with Quinnen Williams (who had two sacks for 20 yards), were two of the better Jets on a defense that allowed the Niners 182 yards on the ground (among five players) and 202 yards passing between Garoppolo and his replacement, Nick Mullens. For his part, Jenkins had 4 total tackles, a sack for 5 yards, 2 quarterback hurries and 1 TFL. Still, the stats provided no salve for Jenkins.
"It's been rinse and repeat the last two games," Jenkins (6-3, 259) said. "We have to get it right, this has got to stop. There has been no progress, we have to do it now. We have a road game coming up [next Sunday at Indianapolis]. Just do your job."
After helping the defense rise to No. 2 against the rush in 2019 (86.9 yards a game), Jenkins said: "You know after this week, it hurts because that's what we pride ourselves on [stopping the run]. Now, we don't look like we can stop the run, and we're supposed to be a run-stopping defense. Today, it didn't happen."