The Jets suffered a disappointing loss to the Dallas Cowboys, 30-10, at AT&T Stadium in Week 2 on Sunday. On Monday, however, as the team began to prep for the Patriots, head coach Robert Saleh and players on the the defense said that they wouldn't let a single performance alter the unit's identity.
"It's one game," Saleh said. "I don't think it really defines who we are as a defense or who we are as a team. But it was really a good job from Dallas's standpoint. Give credit to Dallas, they were so efficient in everything they did. If we were off a step, they took advantage of it."
After an overtime win against Buffalo to open the regular season, against Dallas, the Jets' defense played 87 snaps and surrendered 382 yards, 26 first downs and 30 points. The number of snaps played was the most by a Jets defense since 2021 when it played 100 snaps against the Titans in Week 4. The Cowboys dominated time of possession 42:15 to 17:45 , converted 9-of-18 third downs and wore down the Jets' defense.
"Just from an efficiency standpoint, on third down we just couldn't get off the field," Saleh said. "Just to give context to it all, when you can't get off the field, you see 50 plays in a half, which is almost a game. You are going to get tired, and your technique is going to lack and you're fighting for your lie at that point. They are like body blows. And the long it goes, it stings."
There were positives from the defensive performance in the red zone. Through the first two games, the Jets' defense has allowed three touchdowns on eight opposing red-zone possessions. Their 37.5% red-zone touchdown percentage is better than their 47.8% the defense had last season when it ranked fourth in the league. Additionally, Saleh's defenses are no strangers to bouncing back. Last season, after a loss, the Jets' defense surrendered 18.8 points per game.
"We got to take it moment by moment," DL Solomon Thomas said. "Don't make it too big and don't make it too small. We lost one game. We are 1-1, with one win in the division. We have everything in the world ahead of us. There is no reason to get down or question things. We believe in our process and what we're building here."
AFC East Duel Ahead
The Jets will host the Patriots on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in Week 3. The Jets have lost 14 straight games to New England and have not defeated them in regulation since the 2010 AFC Divisional Playoffs.
But despite losing both matchups last season, the Jets' defense surrendered just 32 points and had 12 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Coming off a difficult loss to the Cowboys, the Jets defense has looked at the game with their AFC East division rivals as an opportunity to right the ship.
"We have to get back on track this week against the Patriots," Thomas said. "It is another huge division game at home, so it is important to learn from the mistakes we made but focus on the now. Get your body back and be present in the moment and understand that we have everything we want in front of us."
The Patriots, who lost to the Dolphins in Week 2, are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. The Jets have an opportunity to start 2-0 against AFC East teams for the first time since 2012.
"Starting off 2-0 in the division would be huge," Thomas said. "It is a big momentum shift and a big building block for us. When I first came in the league all I heard was division games count as two. They are always huge and always mean a lot, especially to us in the building. We are trying to go to the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl and this game means a lot."
The Jets plan to further evaluate S Tony Adams (hamstring), LB Quincy Williams (knee) and nickel CB Michael Carter II after they all left Sunday's game with injuries. Saleh said he is "not concerned" about any of them, doesn't have a timetable for their recovery.
In addition, Saleh said the team won't know about kicker Greg Zuerlein's (groin) readiness for Week 3 until Friday. Kicker Austin Seibert replaced Zuerlein on Sunday and made a field-goal try from 34 yards and an extra point.