New York Jets Notes:
Welcome to Broadway those who made their debut for New York:
CB Aaron Berry makes his NYJ debut after appearing in 12 games with four starts as an undrafted free agent with DET from 2010-11…WR Jason Hill, signed earlier this week, made his Jets debut after 50 games and 13 starts for SF and JAX…FB Lex Hilliard started in his Jets debut. In his career, Hilliard has appeared in 50 games with four starts for MIA and NE.
Joe McKnight returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, the second touchdown of McKnight’s career and first since he returned a kickoff a Jets-record 107 yards at BLT (10/02/11), also on Monday Night Football.
McKnight’s kickoff return marked the 11th consecutive season, all under Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff, in which the Jets have had a kickoff return for a touchdown, setting an NFL record. McKnight joins RB Chad Morton, CB Justin Miller, RB Leon Washington and WR Brad Smith as players with multiple kickoff returns for the Jets under Westhoff.
Leading the pack:
Starting for the second time in his career, WR Jeremy Kerley finished as the game’s leading receiver, catching five passes for 94 yards. The five receptions tied his career best (vs. NYG, 12/24/11), while his 94 yards receiving established a new career high, surpassing his 79 yards receiving vs. NE (11/13/11).
CB Antonio Cromartie intercepted Matt Schaub on a pass intended for WR Andre Johnson. The Jets took the ensuing possession 57 yards for a score to tie the game 7-7. The pick was Cromartie’s team-leading second of the season. Primarily matched up against Johnson, Cromartie held the receiver to one reception for 15 yards. Cromartie also saw snaps on offense (as a wide receiver) and special teams (as a kick returner).
Head Coach Rex Ryan:
“That’s a good football team that we played. The thing that is upsetting is the fact that we helped them. Clearly, that’s a good football team that doesn’t need any help. We’re kicking ourselves. We used a couple of time-outs that hurt us at the end. It looks like we’re a little snake bitten with injuries, but that’s not an excuse. We had a guy here for three of four days (Jason Hill) that has to step up. With (Clyde) Gates going out, our personnel was kind of messed up, so we had to use him (Hill). It’s kind of unfortunate. We lined up wrong and the kid (Arian Foster) hit us with a 50-yard run. That’s a good, very talented back and a talented football team. They made some plays. J.J. Watt’s the real deal. You would think the Knicks would pick him up too with all of the shot blocking he did. It’s not like he doesn’t do it to everybody, but he certainly did it tonight. He’s an excellent football player.”
On if he takes any positives away from the team being within six points with three minutes left:
“No. It’s a win business. Absolutely not. We knew we would be in the game, but we thought we were going to find a way to win. That was our message of the week. Obviously, we were disappointed in previous weeks with that performance, but I thought our guys did a great job in practice. I think all of us were excited to play. Like I said, it never worked out. That is a good football team and at the end of the day, they made more plays then we did.”
On if “being willing to try anything” will be the team mantra:
“You try to steal possessions if you can. The other thing is, that was us, and we’re just going to go for it. I think I’ve always done that. I think we have a guy in Tim (Tebow) that gives you some opportunities on that punt team. While we won’t get a punt rushed, I wouldn’t rush us, because you never know when he’s going to fake it. We’re crazy enough to fake it anytime, no matter where the ball is.”
On if the team took a step in the right direction:
“Definitely, I think we took a step in the right direction. I think the biggest thing is just trying to build on it and play the way we know we are capable of. We still have some things we want to clean up and try to get better on and just continue to work. This game we fell hard on the back end, too. We missed a couple of plays out on the field and when we just go back and look at it, I think we will get a whole lot better too.”
On if he will be playing more snaps at wide receiver:
“I don’t know. I’m focused on being the best corner I can be right now and that is about it. Whenever I get that chance and when my number is being called to play on offense, I will go out there and handle the play.”
On if the momentum of the game shifted after McKnight’s kickoff return:
“We stepped up. We made the guys punt the ball and then Joe had a hundred-yard kickoff return. I think the defense stepped up a lot more, got them punting the ball to us and got the offense back the ball in short field. We have to capitalize on things and make sure that we get there and can’t have any miscues. We played a whole lot better as a team, as a whole team tonight, but it is something to build on, something that we definitely want to do coming into the next week versus Indianapolis.”
On his kickoff return touchdown:
“My double team made a great block. Mac (Garrett McIntyre) and Konrad (Reuland) made a good block on their double team, and Bilal (Powell) and Nick Bellore made a good block, so I was just one-on-one with the kicker, so I had to make him miss.”
On if he thought they would come back after his kickoff return touchdown:
“Yes, I thought we had the momentum after that. I thought the momentum was in our hands, but we just have to finish. We have to play all four quarters.”
On the team’s effort:
“It was a great effort. We gave some plays away and now we know we just can’t give so many plays away. We have to play every play every game and just finish.”
On if he’s feeling more confident in himself:
“Definitely, but any way I can help the team, that’s what I’m trying to do. (If) a guy is down, you definitely have to step up. This is my opportunity. I’m just trying to seize the moment.”
On the importance of special teams and Joe McKnight’s kickoff return for a touchdown:
“It’s very big for us. Anytime that Joe gets the ball in his hands, we expect that from him. He’s a big time playmaker. He showcased it tonight, as he does time and time again. Those guys block well on special teams. I know we’ll get (even) more out of Joe.”