There are no silver linings to losing in the NFL. "Moral victories" aren't real and "almost wins" don't count on the stat sheet. But the NY Jets do have one thing to hang their proverbial hat on following Sunday's game.
The Jets fell short against the Baltimore Ravens, losing 24-9 in a game that probably should have been a lot closer than it was. However, their shortcomings weren't the fault of the team's defense.
In fact, the Jets did something on Sunday that no other NFL team has been able to do in Lamar Jackson's 50 career NFL starts. They completely shut him and the Ravens' rushing attack down.
The Jets held the Ravens to just 63 rushing yards which marked the lowest total of the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore. Even when the Ravens were trotting out the likes of Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le'Veon Bell last season, they still had more success on the ground than they did on Sunday.
The NY Jets run defense was dominant against the Ravens
Jackson himself was held to just 17 yards on six carries which included a long of eight. Kenyan Drake averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, finishing with 11 carries for 31 yards. Mike Davis and Justice Hill combined for four carries and 15 yards.
The Jets' run defense completely smothered the Ravens' rushing attack, and if not for a tepid offensive showing of their own, the Jets could have made this a game.
It was an incredibly encouraging performance for a unit that struggled mightily a year ago. The Jets' run defense ranked fourth-worst in the NFL a year ago in total yards allowed and surrendered a league-high 28 rushing scores.
This week, those 63 yards allowed were the third-fewest in the NFL, and it came against an offense that has ranked in the top three in rushing in each of the last four seasons.
What many identified as a potential weakness going into the 2022 season turned out to be a strength for the Jets in Week 1. That's a testament to Jeff Ulbrich, Robert Saleh, and that entire Jets defense.
Not much went right for the Jets in Week 1, but they can at least be encouraged about the performance of their run defense.