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Jets see improvement in running game, offensive line in loss to Patriots

Michael Carter #32 of the Jets runs the

Michael Carter #32 of the Jets runs the ball in the first half against J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 19, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

So, it wasn’t all bad.

The Jets fell way short against New England, 25-6, Sunday in the home opener at MetLife Stadium. But they actually showed improvement in the running game and along the offensive line from their season-opening loss at Carolina.

After rushing 17 times for just 45 yards — only 2.6 per carry — against the Panthers, the Jets ran the ball 31 times against the Patriots and racked up 152 yards. That’s 4.9 per carry.

The running back-by-committee attack was led by rookie Michael Carter, who ran 11 times for 59 yards, with a long dash of 14. Ty Johnson rushed 12 times for 50 yards, with a long of 17. Tevin Coleman had five carries for 24 yards, with a long of 17.

The better run blocking certainly helped.

"Looking over the Carolina film, when we looked as a team, we weren’t communicating the way we needed to," said Morgan Moses, who took over at right tackle after left tackle Mekhi Becton went down with a dislocated kneecap in the second half against Carolina and George Fant moved from the right side to the left to replace him. "We were one person off, half a man off. We emphasized that this week."

The pass blocking was also better. Zach Wilson, who threw four interceptions, got hit seven times and was sacked four times. But two of those came in the final two minutes of a long, lost game. He was hit 10 times and sacked six times by the Panthers.

The ground game improved, but the Jets only scoring was two Matt Ammendola field goals against the Patriots.

"I think we ran the ball effectively," Moses said. "I think we pass protected well as well.

"For the most part, we kept ourselves out of those third-and-longs . . . We've just got to find a way to capitalize."

Robert Saleh praised the line for holding up its end.

"I thought our O-line did a really nice job, established the line of scrimmage," the head coach said. "We were moving the ball in the first half. But you’ve got to take care of the ball."

Moses wasn’t putting that all on Wilson.

"When you look it, yeah, we turned the ball over," Moses said. "But it’s not one person. We all can block better. We can run routes better. We can get calls in faster, and things like that.

"The good thing about football is you’ve got the opportunity to go out next week and do it all over again."

New York Sports