DETROIT — The Jets’ all-three-phases, 48-17 rout of the Lions at Ford Field on Monday night included all sorts of pleasant surprises, perhaps none greater than the team’s proficiency on special teams.
That was regarded as a significant weakness entering the season. Not so, at least for Week 1.
Take the kick returns. The Jets allowed a total of zero yards on kickoff and punt returns and Andre Roberts ran back three punts for a total of 137 yards and two kickoffs for 45.
His 43-yard punt return in the first quarter gave the Jets the ball at the Detroit 32, setting up their first touchdown.
His 16-yard punt return in the second quarter gave the Jets the ball at the Detroit 49, setting up their second touchdown.
His 78-yard punt return in the third quarter gave the Jets their fifth touchdown, and their first punt return for a touchdown since 2012.
Roberts narrowly missed stepping out of bounds on several occasions as he ran down the left sideline, but the ruling on the field of a touchdown was upheld after video review.
Roberts said he was not concerned about having his runback erased.
“They called a touchdown on the field,” he said. “I felt like it was inbounds. I wasn’t really worried about it. It was close. Fortunately, I didn’t step out . . . You could kind of see the green [of the artificial turf] between the white, and I had on white shoes, so I wasn’t too worried about it.”
Roberts, 30, signed with the Jets in March after having played with the Cardinals, Redskins, Lions and Falcons. He returned two punts for touchdowns as a Lion in 2016, his only previous punt return TDs before Monday night.
“It was special,” he said. “Anytime you can score on special teams, it’s huge for the team. Doing it in Detroit, my old team, puts a little extra on it. But the biggest takeaway from that is I helped us win the game.”
Roberts is aware that little has been expected of the special teams. He said playing well is the best answer to that.
"Most definitely, but we’re really not trying to prove it to anybody else but ourselves,” he said. “We know what we have on special teams. We just have to prove it to ourselves every single week.”