Three weeks later, they’re reeling offensively and trying to cope after losing one of their best defensive players for the remainder of the season.
They hope Sunday’s visit to Oakland will help them avoid a fourth straight loss, but the Raiders will be trying to build on a shocking upset and extend the Jets’ West Coast woes.
A stingy defense and efficient play from Sanchez helped the Jets (3-3) to wins in their first three games under Ryan, but after a 24-10 loss at New Orleans in Week 4, New York has been even more disappointed by back-to-back AFC East defeats against Miami and Buffalo.
Last Sunday’s 16-13 overtime home loss to the Bills was particularly disastrous, as Sanchez went 10 for 29 with five interceptions. The former USC star, drafted fifth overall by the Jets in April, was emotional after the game.
“I really let this team down and there’s no excuse for that,” Sanchez said. “I have a lot of work to do.”
Ryan gave his quarterback a vote of confidence even though he has one touchdown pass and eight interceptions during the losing streak. Sanchez’s passer rating of 56.7 ranks 34th out of 36 quarterbacks, with Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell(notes) 35th at 51.0.
“He’s resilient,” Ryan said of Sanchez. “He’s going to bounce back from this. I believe that. He’s mad at himself because he thinks he let his team down.
“I think this team has a lot more character than maybe most people think. I’m banking on that. We’re going to come out and give everything we have on the practice field, fly down to Oakland and try to win one game in a row.”
That will be more difficult without Kris Jenkins(notes), who tore his left ACL against Buffalo and was placed on injured reserve. The 6-foot-4, 360-pound Jenkins was the centerpiece of the line for the Jets’ sixth-ranked defense.
“It’s going to be hard to replace Kris,” Ryan said. “There’s not many Kris Jenkins playing in this league. Obviously, his impact is going to be felt.”
Additionally, the Jets will again be without wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery(notes), who will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury, as well as wide receiver Brad Smith(notes) and cornerback Lito Sheppard(notes).
The Jets still hope they can slow down the Raiders, who have scored a league-low five touchdowns. Oakland had lost three straight by at least 20 points before tightening up its defense in a surprising 13-9 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
“The most important thing for me this week is for us to do it again,” coach Tom Cable said. “That’s really all I care about. Do it again.”
The Raiders (2-4) became the first team to hold the Eagles under 20 points even though they played most of the game without star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha(notes), who should be back at full strength this week after getting poked in the eye.
Oakland was especially strong on third down, stopping Philadelphia 14 of 16 times. The previous week, the Raiders had allowed 483 yards in a 44-7 loss to the New York Giants.
“We have talent across the roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” defensive lineman Richard Seymour(notes) said. “It’s about us taking care of our responsibilities. I think we looked at the film last week and knew that we didn’t show up to play, and that’s what’ll happen. We got embarrassed.”
Offensively, the Raiders continue to be embarrassed by their performance. Russell’s 86-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller in the first quarter last Sunday gave Oakland a lead it would not relinquish, but Russell still threw two interceptions and the Raiders failed to score at least 14 points for the fifth straight game.
The third-year pro’s problems - he’s thrown two touchdowns, six interceptions and completed 45.6 percent of his passes - are a big reason why Oakland’s offense easily ranks last in the NFL with 229.7 yards per game. Russell was greeted by boos before last week’s contest.
“We have a long way to go offensively to get where we want to be,” Cable said. “We hung in there and battled the right way. We blocked a little bit better. We did throw some balls off target and all that but we made a couple of plays, we made one big play. … It’s all a concern, really.”
One of Russell’s seven career wins as an NFL starter came against the Jets last Oct. 19, as he helped Oakland to a 16-13 overtime victory at home.
Since 1963, the Jets are 2-12-1 in 15 road games against the Raiders, with two of those contests being played in Los Angeles. Last year, New York lost all four of its visits to the West Coast, getting outscored 101-59.