But even before Flacco dropped back on 36 of the Jets’ last 37 plays, when the Ravens opened their 24-3 lead late in the third quarter, the Jets had a 26-16 pass-to-run imbalance. Saleh suggested the play-calling plans broke down on the Jets’ opening offensive series of the second half.
“In hindsight, shoot, just run the ball, but that sequence really derailed the entire game,” he reflected. “We had the sack, the screen goes for nothing, checkdown on third down, shanked punt, they go down and score. We try to establish the run game, I think it’s a quick three-and-out again, they get the explosive for a touchdown. Now we’re ‘all right, let’s catch up.’ “
All of the talk and practice this week will be geared toward getting into more of a balance and flow against a different kind of defense in the Myles Garrett-powered Browns. And as Saleh emphasized, leading the Jets offense at First Energy Stadium won’t be Mike White and won’t be Zach Wilson, who will practice only in position drills with his receivers this week as he continues his knee rehab.
It’ll be Joe Cool. And one bit of history that really has nothing to do with this game and yet says something about the success Flacco has enjoyed during his long NFL tenure is that his career record as a starting QB against the Browns is 17-3 (and at Cleveland it’s 9-1).
“The quarterback gets celebrated and gets all the negativity, too,” Saleh summed up the week past and the week ahead. “But there were a lot of things we as a team could’ve done to help him out a lot during the game, too. So we’ll give it another run. and I think Joe will be a lot better.”