There was a lot for the Jets to be encouraged about in tonight's 31-16 loss to the co-tenants of the New Meadowlands Stadium.
First, there was the bounce back from QB Mark Sanchez, who rebounded nicely after his bad interception on the Jets' second play from scrimmage. Sanchez ended up completing 13 of 17 attempts for 119 yards, and had a 4-yard touchdown toss to WR Brad Smith.
He finished with a QB rating of 90.1, shaking off that less-than-scintillating start.
"It was important to move on and get to the next play, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't forcing anything after that," Sanchez said when I asked him about responding to his interception with a 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive on the next possession.
"Like, 'Ok now, I really need a good play because I messed something up.' That wasn't going through my head. It was just staying sharp, going through my progressions, checking it down when I needed to and letting the other guys do the hard work. So I think I did that."
RB LaDainianTomlinson had a couple few nice plays in his Jets' debut, though he had one potential 14-yard touchdown called back because of a holding penalty on C Rob Turner, who stepped in for Pro Bowler Nick Mangold since he had a headache and was held out for precautionary reasons.
Tomlinson finished with 31 total yards on nine touches. He let loose a Joba Chamberlain-like fist pump and threw in a yell for good measure after a 14-yard reception on third-and-13 from the Giants' 18, which came on the Jets' second possession. His first-down run set up Smith's touchdown.
"It was just emotions," Tomlinson said. "It's an emotional game and at times I am emotional, an emotional player. That was just the juice coming out."
Tomlinson, who didn't get much burn in the preseason with the Chargers -- he didn't play a whole lot from 2006-08, was a bit hyped up for last night's action.
"It was Monday night," Tomlinson said. "So it was a big game playing the Giants and we knew we were going to play about a half. So anytime you go out there, you want to give it your all."
Defensively, the Jets' first-team held the Giants to 97 first-half yards and knocked QB Eli Manning out on Calvin Pace's blindside hit. They stiffened up once they surrendered that Brandon Jacobs 1-yard touchdown run following Sanchez's interception, and were generally flying around the ball.
However, not every aspect of the Jets' loss left them with feel-good vibes, though. There were a couple of things that were somewhat alarming, beginning with the play of the defensive reserves. It was horrendous and we'll detail that more in depth tomorrow.
Matt Slauson? Well, there were a few times when he didn't look good at all. He's battling with rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the starting LG spot and committed a bad holding penalty when trying to block DT Chris Canty in the second quarter on second-and-13 from the Giants' 18.
"It's day-to-day," Slauson said. "There are some days where my run blocking's just great and my pass-blocking struggles a little bit and then another day, my pass-blocking is great and my run-blocking won't be as good."
Seems like neither was great against the Giants.
Even CB Antonio Cromartie, who technically started in Darrelle Revis' spot at left cornerback, didn't come through the way he had during the first two weeks of training camp in Cortland. He dropped two sure interceptions, leading to Rex Ryan busting his chops.
"I've just got to focus on that more and look the ball in," Cromartie said. "I can't run before I catch the ball."