The good news for the Jets is they’ll finally play a home game.
After opening their season with two road games, the Jets will get ready for their home opener, a week three divisional matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
But that’s where the well of good news runs dry.
A 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders sent the Jets back to the drawing board.
After falling behind 14-0, the Jets found a groove in the second quarter and cut Oakland’s lead to four. But with just under two minutes left in the first half, and after the defense forced Oakland to go three and out, Kalif Raymond dropped a punt which Oakland recovered at the 4-yard line.
What happened after the Raiders recovered the fumble seemed inevitable. Three plays later, Marshawn Lynch ran it in for a two-yard touchdown which gave Oakland a 21-10 lead going into the half.
The Jets had a chance to come out in the third quarter and answer back but it almost seemed as if the air was knocked out of them when Raymond muffed that punt.
The week before there was a similar body blow dealt to the Jets by the Buffalo Bills.
After battling back to cut Buffalo’s lead to 14-12, the defense couldn’t hold up its end, or make a tackle, and the Bills went on to get the win.
So the Jets find themselves at 0-2 to start the season, the common denominator in both losses was they allowed a close game to get away from them.
Everyone knows by now this is a team in transition and predicted by many to struggle mightily. The smallest of mistakes could not only negate efforts to keep within striking distance of their opponents, they could also deflate any chances for a victory.
The margin of error for this Jets this season is small. Based off his postgame remarks, that’s a point head coach Todd Bowles is very aware of.
“Obviously, it is very small,” Bowles said. “We have new guys, we’ve got young guys … it’s very small. As we come together, we’ve got to make sure we’re on point on everything. We can’t afford to give games away and try to make up for them.”
With such a small margin for error, along with low expectations, there’s little room left to make excuses for poor play.
An added emphasis should be placed on special teams, specifically on punt returns. Another emphasis, and one to keep a close eye on, should be placed on the defense.
Two weeks in a row, the Jets allowed over 400 yards in total offense. Buffalo ran for 190 yards against them, the Raiders then followed that up with a 180-yard effort.
Missed tackles have plagued this defense, along with lukewarm performances from team leaders Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams.
For a defense expected to be the strength of the team, their effort to start the season has been inexcusable.
The roster is full of new faces, the overall talent won’t make them favorites in many ballgames. But there’s no excuse for mental lapses or breakdowns at crucial moments in the game.
For the Jets this season, it could be the difference between a close win and a blowout loss.