Rex Ryan's defense stymies shorthanded Pats

Dee Milliner | New York Jets

Week Two's Thursday Night Game featured AFC East rivals, the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. The game is always a heated, highly competitive game that always sparks football fans' interest. This year's matchup lived up to the hype, turning out to be a nail-biter until the final seconds. Gang Green fell short, losing 13-10, but it was a great leap forward for the Jets.

Despite the loss, Rex Ryan was pleased with how his team played in Foxborough Thursday night. The defense held Tom Brady and his offense to only 232 total yards. It's safe to say that Gang Green's defense has proven that they are one of the best in the league, forcing the Patriots to punt 11 times in the game. Ryan was elated with how his players performed, especially on defense.

"There were a lot of guys playing really well on both sides of the ball," noted Ryan. "In particular, I think our defense played extremely well. Any time you force (a) New England team to punt more than they have first downs, I think even though as I understand most of the credit's going elsewhere, I think some of the credit should be going to our team."

Even though the Jets' defense held strong against the Pats, their offense struggled to get the ball in the end zone, only scoring once on a Bilal Powell run late in the third quarter. The struggles became apparent in the fourth quarter, when rookie QB Geno Smith turned over the ball three times, throwing interceptions in crucial moments. His receivers did not perform in the clutch, dropping several passes that could have sustained scoring drives.

When asked about his rookie's performance in his first game on the road and the mistakes in the fourth quarter, Ryan had a few points for the youngster.

"It wasn't like he was rattled," said Ryan of Smith. "I think he was confident. He threw some jump balls up there at the end when you're trying to force some issues. But again, you're trying to make some plays. I would have liked to see him just take off when we were in field goal range, just go ahead and run with it instead of trying to force that one ball. Other than that, the young man, for the most part, he delivered some nice passes. We've just got to catch them. We had way too many drops."

Dropped passes are not the only concern for the team this week as injury became a top theme for the contest. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson went down with an apparent ankle injury during the game. Ryan is unaware of the severity of Wilkerson's injury and has not provided an update yet.

"No, no injury update on him. I know it's an ankle," noted Ryan. "I don't have any update. Again, we'll give the complete injury report on Wednesday, but I'm not real sure about him (or) really if we sustained any other injuries."

If the injury is serious, the Jets will be playing next week's game against the Buffalo Bills without defensive linemen Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. Another player that is questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills, is Jeremy Kerley. New York's slot receiver is a playmaker for the Jets and could be a huge loss for an offense that is already struggling. Rex hopes to have him in the game, but is unaware of his status as of now.

"Oh man I hope so," said Ryan of having Kerley ready for Week 3. "Obviously we could use him, there's no doubt. But again, I don't have any update, guys. If fact I haven't even really talked to the doctors or trainers since we got back today. But again, I know we'll have a complete injury report on Wednesday, but I certainly hope so."

A loss to the Patriots never sits well with the Jets, especially when the game was in their grasp. If the Jets' can be more consistent on offense and maintain the superb play on defense, while staying healthy, they can be a team that will surprise the NFL this year.

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