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Jets unimpressive in loss to Lions in preseason opener

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 13, 2015 at Ford Field in Detroit. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Leon Halip

DETROIT -- The Jets traveled to the Motor City with a new coach, new weapons and a new attitude. But their performance was reminiscent of Jets games past -- plenty of missed tackles, ill-timed drops and holes for opposing receivers and running backs to run through.

"I thought our tackling was extremely sloppy,'' coach Todd Bowles said.

Three points is all they could muster in a 23-3 Lions win in Thursday night's preseason opener. But the good news for fans is this: It's only the preseason. Still, the Jets' play -- on both sides of the ball -- raised eyebrows.

After one quarter, the Lions had the edge in rushing yards (85-26), passing yards (89-17), total yards (174-43), yards per play (10.9-3.6) and time of possession (8:06-6:54).

And the Jets' much-hyped defense couldn't stop Golden Tate (two catches, 57 yards) or their former teammate Greg Salas (five catches, 92 yards).

To be fair, the unit played without lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who was held out because of his balky hamstring, and cornerback Dee Milliner, out several weeks with a wrist injury. Defensive star Sheldon Richardson also didn't play until the second half.

Rookie Leonard Williams started in place of Wilkerson and Ronald Talley started for Richardson, who is suspended for the first four regular-season games.

Matthew Stafford took advantage of the situation, hitting Tate for a 35-yard touchdown on new Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist. There were three missed tackles on that opening drive, resulting in an 7-0 lead. Running back Ameer Abdullah ran circles around Bowles' defense, and nearly juked linebacker Demario Davis out of his shoes as he sprinted downfield for 45 yards. After a Matt Prater field goal made it 10-3 in the first quarter, the Lions scored off another Jets miscue in the third. Running back Daryl Richardson fumbled at the Jets' 20 and it was recovered by the Lions' Manny Ramirez. On the very next play, backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky hit Salas for a 20-yard TD.

There were some defensive highlights, however. Cornerback Marcus Williams intercepted a pass to Salas in the end zone to end the half. But those bright spots were few and far between.

As for the Jets offense, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't flashy. Instead, he was methodical and on target when allowed to throw the football. Which was good enough for the Jets -- at least for 10 plays.

Already down one quarterback with Geno Smith undergoing jaw surgery Thursday, Bowles chose to keep Fitzpatrick in for only one series. As a result, Jets fans got to see a lot of fourth-rounder Bryce Petty (10-for-18, 50 yards).

Fitzpatrick completed 2 of 3 passes for 16 yards, 12 on a short pass to Brandon Marshall. "Nothing to brag about,'' Bowles said, "but he did his job.''

But a promising, run-heavy first-quarter drive, which featured five straight handoffs to Chris Ivory (six carries, 25 yards), was undone by a third-and-1 drop by tight end Jeff Cumberland. The Jets had to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Nick Folk that made it 7-3.

Marshall made one catch, as did Eric Decker, Shaq Evans and Tommy Bohanon. Surprisingly, Quincy Enunwa started ahead of slot receiver Jeremy Kerley.

Notes & quotes: With 7:32 left in the third quarter, LB Erin Henderson left with a left knee injury. . . . Former second-round pick Jace Amaro (shoulder) also left in the third quarter and did not return.


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