DETROIT - The Jets traveled to the Motor City with a new coach, new weapons and a new attitude. But their performance was reminiscent of Jets games past -- plenty of missed tackles, ill-timed drops and holes for opposing receivers and running backs to run through.
All they could muster was one field goal in a 23-3 Lions win in last night's preseason opener. It's only the preseason, but still, the Jets' play -- on both sides of the ball -- raised eyebrows.
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After one quarter, the Lions had the edge in rushing yards (85-26), passing yards (89-17), total yards (174-43), yards per play (10.9-3.6) and time of possession (8:06-6:54).
"I thought our tackling was extremely sloppy,'' Todd Bowles said, noting that despite a solid performance from his starting offensive line, the Jets couldn't run the ball after the first-team offense exited. "I thought their backups played better than ours. They got ran over.''
The Jets' much-hyped defense couldn't stop Golden Tate (two catches, 57 yards) or former Jet Greg Salas (five catches, 92 yards).
To be fair, the unit was without lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) and cornerback Dee Milliner (wrist). Sheldon Richardson didn't play until the second half. Rookie Leonard Williams started in place of Wilkerson and Ronald Talley started for Richardson, who is suspended for the first four regular-season games.
Matthew Stafford took advantage, hitting Tate for a 35-yard score on new Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist. There were three missed tackles on that opening drive, resulting in a 7-0 Detroit lead. Running back Ameer Abdullah nearly juked linebacker Demario Davis out of his shoes as he sprinted downfield for 45 yards.
After Matt Prater's field goal made it 10-3 in the first quarter, the Lions scored off a Jets miscue in the third. Running back Darryl Richardson fumbled at the Jets' 20 and the Lions' Manny Ramirez recovered. On the next play, Dan Orlovsky hit Salas for a 20-yard touchdown.
"Two big plays can't happen,'' Bowles said. "In the second half, I saw people ducking their heads and people not wrapping up. But we'll take care of that this week and we'll be better at it next week [against the Falcons].''
There were some defensive highlights, however. Cornerback Marcus Williams intercepted a pass to Salas in the end zone to end the half. But those bright spots were few and far between.
As for the offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick was methodical and on target when allowed to throw the football. Already down one quarterback with Geno Smith undergoing jaw surgery yesterday, Bowles chose to keep Fitzpatrick in for only one series. So Jets fans got to see a lot of Bryce Petty (10-for-18, 50 yards).
"He looked like a rookie,'' a smiling Willie Colon said of the fourth-round pick. "He gave it his best.''
Petty said he didn't realize he'd be going into the game so quickly. "It was a learning process,'' he said. "I made mistakes, but for me, what's productive is being able to learn from it and not make those mistakes again.''
Fitzpatrick completed 2 of 3 passes for 16 yards, 12 on a short pass to Brandon Marshall. "Nothing to brag about,'' Bowles said, "but he did his job.''
Marshall made one catch, as did Eric Decker, Shaq Evans and Tommy Bohanon. Surprisingly, Quincy Enunwa started ahead of slot receiver Jeremy Kerley.
"We definitely wanted to do better,'' Marshall said. "We've got to finish. Whether it's preseason or the regular season, we want to win, and we didn't do that today.''