The last three weeks, the Jets have experienced something of a perfect storm in their pass defense. They've run into three hot quarterbacks as they lost one or two players to injury each game.
But you wouldn't expect Todd Bowles to concede a thing, and he hasn't this short week as the Jets get set to take on the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
The three 300-yard passing games against New England, Oakland and Jacksonville, Bowles said, "were different. We had three busted plays [Sunday] that went for a ton of yards. That can't happen. The Raiders were missed tackles. And before that, New England threw the ball 50-something times, which can nickel-and-dime you and get you up to 300.
"But we have to make our share of plays. The biggest thing is the missed tackles and busted assignments that we can't have, that we have to shore up."
Historically, what Tom Brady (355 passing yards), Derek Carr (333) and Blake Bortles (381) achieved has come around quite infrequently. Only once before in franchise history have the Jets allowed three consecutive 300-yard passers — in 1984, when the Bengals' Ken Anderson (316), the Bills' Joe Ferguson (340) and the Patriots' Tony Eason (354) executed that trifecta.
Perhaps more of a concern for Bowles was the way Bortles and Jacksonville chunked up their yardage. The Jaguars' 11 plays of 20-plus yards (including a T.J. Yeldon 45-yard run) were the most ever by opponents in a Jets home game, and their six 20-plus plays in the fourth quarter were the most by opponents in any quarter in franchise history.
A lot of the issues could be attributed to front-line injures. Heading toward the Bills and WR Sammy Watkins, safeties Calvin Pryor and Dion Bailey did not practice again today, CB Antonio Cromartie still hasn't run yet on his deep thigh bruise, and CB Buster Skrine's been bothered by shoulder and hand injuries.
The Jets Practiced in the Elements on Tuesday Afternoon to Prepare for Potential Thursday Night Rain
But the Jets' DBs are offering no excuses and no lack of resolve about keeping Tyrod Taylor to Watkins, Robert Woods, Charles Clay, et al., in check.
"It's a part of it," CB Darrelle Revis said today about the secondary injuries. "We have a lot of depth back there and guys have got to step up and contribute and play. We feel confident in all the guys we have."
"We've just got to clean up our technique. We were doing some sloppy things technique-wise," Skrine said. "Every game can't be a perfect game. Things happened that happened. The other team gets paid too. But we don't plan on that happening again this season."
Same for the Run Game
In a similar vein, Nick Mangold — who's missed the past 1½ games with a neck injury but appears on target to return to the starting lineup for the Bills — sees Chris Ivory and the Jets' rush offense getting out of their recent rut.
"I've played in games," Mangold recounted, "where you get 1 or 2 yards in the first quarter, 2 to 4 yards in the second quarter, the third quarter you're getting 4 to 6 yards, and the fourth quarter you're banging off 10-, 12-, 20-yard runs. I've seen guys come out and get 20 yards straight off the bat and keep up the run game that way, and I've seen 'em build gradually."
Even if Ivory and Co. start slow and build according to the Mangold plan, they might be averaging about 5.9 yards per carry for the game, which is where Ivory was before good run defenses started stacking things up against No. 33.
"I just think people keyed on Chris a lot more," Bowles said, "and we have to open better holes, he's got to make better decisions, and we have to find different ways to get him open."