For the most part, it was a game the Jets would like to soon forget. The 34-17 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore was devoid of offensive highlights for both teams. Quarterbacks combined for 21 completions on 66 attempts, and of the 51 combined points, there was just one offensive touchdown.
Despite the offensive struggles, there were two Jets whose performances stood out. Second-year RB Joe McKnight and third-year LB Aaron Maybin both refused to lie down in the face of the hungry Ravens.
With the Jets in a quick 7-0 hole, they needed a quick rebuttal. Enter McKnight.
On the kickoff after Baltimore's early score, Billy Cundiff sent a booming kickoff 7 yards deep into the Jets' end zone and McKnight ran it out. One hundred seven yards later, McKnight was in the opposite end zone — and in the record books as he completing the longest play in New York Jets history.
Although having only returned two kicks this season coming into the game, McKnight was not at all surprised by his record-setting run.
"I was saying all week that I was going to try to run one back," he said. "I was telling everyone on the kickoff return team to hold their blocks and we would break one out."
The banner night continued for McKnight in the second quarter as he found himself in a strange situation: on defense. With the Jets down, 27-7, and the Ravens in third-and-long at their 34, McKnight applied enough pressure on QB Joe Flacco to force an errant pass that fell into the waiting arms of LB David Harris, who then returned the interception for his first career touchdown.
"I've been working on defense every day for the last couple of weeks," said McKnight. "I just have to wait for them to call my play and I'll go in there and do my job.
While McKnight was active and effective on special teams and on defense, Maybin reintroduced himself to Jets Nation.
On a third-and-9 play in the third quarter, Ravens QB Joe Flacco dropped back, tried to scramble but was chased down by a frenetic Maybin. The diving pursuit resulted in the ball getting punched out for a fumble by Flacco and represented Maybin's first career sack.
The sack comes three seasons after being drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills, but wasn't enough to remove the entire sour taste left behind after the loss.
"It's kind of an empty feeling," said Maybin. "I'm a guy who personal statistics never mean anything to unless we win. It was just another day."
Maybin downplayed the importance of the sack and forced fumble as the ensuing offensive play resulted in an interception return for a touchdown by Ravens' CB Lardarius Webb. However, the chance to take the field and play a meaningful role in the Jets' defense was a thrill for the young linebacker.
"That part felt great," he said. "Obviously, it's been a rough few years, constantly being in different systems. It does feel good. It finally feels like I'm somewhere where I belong."
In a night that was clouded by sloppy play, McKnight and Maybin both shined for the Green & White. Now 2-2, the Jets must travel to New England for their next game Sunday in hopes of rebounding after two consecutive road losses.
After the game, McKnight stressed the importance for his teammates to remain positive and have a short memory after suffering such a lopsided loss.
"Everybody has that mentality," he said. "Unfortunately, things happen and we have to move on. We can't just sit here and dwell on it. We've got to move on to the next week."