Coming into their 28-24 victory over the Bills on Sunday, the Jets' defense boasted the second-best third-down conversion rate in the league; in large part because third down is a time for Mayhem to ensue.
Screaming off the edge in pass-rush situations, LB Aaron "Mayhem" Maybin showed his former team the weapon they let get away.
"It feels great," said Maybin after his two-sack performance. "Like I was telling the guys, looking at the situation I had been in and how far I've come, it's awesome. It's been a great story."
Maybin is being modest when he refers to his story as "great." A first-round pick of the Bills in 2009, his career in Buffalo ended before it really had a chance to begin. After failing to record a single sack in his two seasons in Western New York, he now has a team-leading five in his first season wearing the green and white.
"At the end of the day, you want to go out and perform well," said Maybin. "But when the team has some must-win games ahead of you, it feels good to be able to go out there and have a good game in a situation like that."
Both sacks on Sunday came in third-down situations, forcing Buffalo punts. In the second quarter, with the score tied at 7-7, Maybin entered the game on third-and-8. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a 13-yard pass to WR David Nelson, but flags littered the field. Maybin and Buffalo C Kraig Urbik were called for offsetting personal fouls, leading to a replay of the down.
Maybin took advantage of the extra opportunity, hunting down Fitzpatrick 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage for his first sack.
"That's what I've wanted my whole career," said Maybin. "Just to be in a place that was going to give me the opportunity to do the things I know I could to help the team win."
Later in the second quarter, Maybin again checked in on a third down from the Bills' 20-yard line. Fitzpatrick dropped back a little too far, allowing Maybin to release from his blocker and record his second sack for a loss of 8 yards.
The demonstrative Maybin is not one to shy away from the spotlight, and his post-sack celebrations are a release of unbridled emotion. Considering that his former team was on the receiving end, his reactions were a bit more pointed.
It seemed like Maybin's enthusiasm was too much to handle for some of his former teammates. In the third quarter of a tie game, Maybin entered the game on first down. After a run-of-the-mill 4-yard run from RB C.J. Spiller, Maybin was shoved by Bills RT Erik Pears. Flags flew and a 15-yard personal foul was enforced. Even when Maybin wasn't anywhere near the play, his impact was felt.
But we may never know what Maybin said to garner such harsh treatment from Pears. Maybin leaves his business on the field.
"No comment," said Maybin. "They know and I know. That's about it."
It seems as if Maybin has only one speed. He goes full-bore every time he steps on the turf and electrifies the crowd with his never-say-die mentality. Nerves were never in play on Sunday when he lined up across from the same men he shared a locker room with a season ago.
"If you want to play fast and aggressive," he said, "you can't really play nervous."
With the win, the Jets crept over the .500 mark and separated themselves from the Bills by a full game. Sunday was the first step in a march toward the playoffs and prevented a disastrous three-game losing streak.
The rest of the year remains an uphill climb, but Maybin sees nothing wrong with that.
"When you're looking to make a playoff push, being able to close on a team in the fourth quarter definitely helps send that message," he said. "For us to be in this position now to make this run at the end of the season, it feels good."