FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets' rushing defense has been steamrolled for an average of 147.7 yards per game this season, a figure that ranks an embarrassing 30th out of 32 NFL teams. But their first chance for payback comes against Miami and running back Reggie Bush Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets scratched out an overtime win in the first meeting, and Bush was knocked out with a knee injury just before halftime after gaining 61 yards. But coach Rex Ryan reminded his team Wednesday that it still gave up 185 rushing yards to the Dolphins and that they never swept their AFC East rival in his previous three seasons.
"We know how important this game is, and we're emptying our tank on Sunday," Ryan said.
Coming off an overtime loss at New England, the Jets (3-4) know they can't afford another defeat that would leave them two games below .500 heading to their bye week.
"This game is a must win," safety LaRon Landry said. "We could sweep those guys and also go into the bye 4-4. That's what we're striving to do, and that's what we will do."
Landry was one of three Jets who hit Bush when he suffered the knee injury that forced him from the game.
"If they want to hang their hat on 'Bush is back and he's going to run all over us,' so be it," Landry said. "We'll see. We had some struggles. That's what we created. It's nothing they did special. We can be as great as we want to be when we show up."
Bush didn't miss any games because of his injury, but in the three contests before Miami's bye last week, he averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. His season average is 4.4. No doubt a week off did his knee some good, but how much remains to be seen.
"His average is down, right?" defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said of Bush. "There you go. I guess he's not the same."
Rookie defensive end Quinton Coples agreed with Wilkerson but said the Jets are preparing for the elusive Bush they saw the first time.
"I think the injury has definitely slowed him up," Coples said. "If you look at the early season and afterward, he's definitely a little bit more hesitant. But overall, he's still explosive and still has a chance to make big plays.
"The focus [on Bush] is tremendous. We definitely have a lot of defensive fronts for the run game, and we have a lot of defenses we just installed for the run game. With his speed and what he does, we have to maintain our gaps, and he'll fall into our hands."