While the Jets' loss at Pittsburgh was difficult for Jets Nation, a pair of recent waiver acquisitions made significant contributions.
Tight end Konrad Reuland and wide receiver Clyde Gates both caught passes to help the Jets' cause.
Reuland was playing in just his second game with the Green & White, whereas Gates was making his debut.
"I felt like it went pretty good other than that we didn't win," Gates said Monday. "It's never too much good if you don't win, but I feel like we all had a great week of preparation. We came out and we played hard. Just unfortunately we weren't able to win the game."
Reuland, who spent last season on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, recorded two catches for 20 yards and Gates caught one pass for 10 yards. Gates' reception came on the Jets' opening drive one play before Mark Sanchez's 14-yard slant touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, which gave the Jets a 7-3 lead.
"It was awesome," Gates said of his first catch with the Green & White. "My name was called to go out and do what I was supposed to do, and I went and did it. I just tried to act like I'd done it before. You can't get too overly excited on a catch, but you just have to act like you've done it before and you've been there."
Both of Reuland's catches came in the third quarter. His first reception went for 7 yards on the Jets' first play of the second half. His second catch happened late in the quarter when he hauled in a 13-yard pass from Sanchez.
"That was my second game in the regular season ever playing," Reuland said. "Getting those catches, when it happens, you're just kind of into the flow of the game. It just seemed routine to me. But technically, if you think about it, those were my first two catches. Looking back on it now, you always remember your first catches. I remember my first catch in college still. It's definitely something I'll remember."
Gates' catch Sunday was the third of his NFL career. He had two receptions with the Miami Dolphins last season.
"Just the opportunity is a confidence booster for me," he said, "just to be able to have this opportunity."
Reuland said he knew through the reps he received at practice last week along with the absence of starting TE Dustin Keller, who missed the game with a hamstring injury, that he would play a larger role in the team's offense. But he also stated that he felt more comfortable against Pittsburgh than he did against Buffalo in Week 1.
"I feel like week to week it's going to keep getting easier and easier for me," he said. "I felt a little bit more settled in. I was able to feel a little more confident in my preparation and knowing where to be."
With Keller sidelined, the 6"4' 260 pound, Reuland, was targeted by Sanchez twice. And the lone pass thrown to Gates, a first down resulted.
"In theory, yeah I would have loved to have caught more passes," Reuland said. "But at the same time, I'm just here to do my job and whatever they ask me to do I'm going to do it. We have a lot of gifted guys on the perimeter and at tight end as well. So I completely understand that I wasn't the first option a lot of times. I just have faith that we're going to get this going in the right direction and make the plays when they're presented to us."
The teammates said they enjoyed the environment in Pittsburgh and agreed the Jets were able to take the crowd out of the game in the first half. Moving forward, keep an eye on Nos. 87 and 19 in big "homecoming" games just ahead. Gates could be active against his first pro team, the Dolphins, at Miami on Sunday. The following week, Reuland's first team, the 49ers, come to MetLife Stadium.
"I'm excited just like I would be excited if we were playing another different team," Gates said. "Just because it's the Miami Dolphins doesn't overly excite me. I'll have the same preparation. I'm going to prepare the same. I'm going to do everything the same like I always do. It's exciting just to play a game, period."
"The more you play, and the more plays you make, the better your comfort level is all around," Reuland said. "It's definitely something to build on, nothing to be satisfied with by any means. It would have felt a lot sweeter to get those catches if we would have won the game. I was still upset after the game. I wasn't happy about anything really. But looking back on it, it was cool and a good experience."