We’re not about to say preseason doesn’t matter, but do you remember all those stories about how the Jets were the first NFL team in 35 years not to score a touchdown in their first three preseason games, or how the first offense had no TDs the entire summer?
Forget about them.
This morning, after the conclusion of the first week of the NFL regular season Monday night, the Jets find themselves in an unusual position at the top of another set of rankings: They are the top-scoring team in all of football.
The Jets’ 48 points in their season-opening bouncing of Buffalo lifts them to No. 1 in the league, ahead of Baltimore’s 44 points from last night vs. Cincinnati, Chicago’s 41 vs. Indianapolis, and the 40-point games from Washington and Atlanta.
When was the last time the Jets led the NFL in scoring? you might ask. It’s been a while — 136 weeks and virtually eight full seasons ago.
The Jets opened 2004 explosively. Led by Curtis Martin, beginning his finest season as a pro, and Chad Pennington, they topped the Bengals at home, 31-24, then went to San Diego and outpointed LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees and the Chargers, 34-28. Their 32.5 points per game led the league after two weeks.
Prior to that, the last time they even sniffed the top spot was after the opening week of 1997, when they began Bill Parcells’ short era as Jets coach with a 41-3 win at Seattle to share the top spot with the Patriots after their first game under their new HC, Pete Carroll.
The Jets have never led the NFL in scoring. Their best finishes were second in 1972 and third in ’73. And the only season they ever led the AFL was their first, as the Titans in 1960.
It’s still a little early to be crowing, of course. Let’s wait to see how this new offensive juggernaut thing works out until after Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. The Jets have averaged 13.6 points in their nine games in the Steel City, and their best was the 22 points in their only victory there in 2010.
Other rankings of note for the Jets: They’re first also in third-down efficiency (71.4%, 10-for-14) and in punt-return average (68.0 on Jeremy Kerley’s one dazzling return), second in yards per pass play (9.9 yards), tied for the lead in sacks allowed (zero), 12th in rushing yards, tied for 13th in passing yards and 11th in total yards. And their four defensive takeaways against one giveaway has them tied for third in turnover margin at plus-3.
But the defense went from being a preseason strength to checking in 32nd and last in rushing yards allowed per game and per carry, thanks to the elusive C.J. Spiller.
A little later we’ll bring you a little more on rookie WR Stephen Hill’s sharp debut in green and white. But for now we’ll leave you with the nine teams with the highest point totals on opening day since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (home teams in CAPS):
1971 — Cowboys 49, BILLS 37
1973 — Falcons 62, SAINTS 7
1986 — CHARGERS 50, Dolphins 28
1987 — BUCCANEERS 48, Falcons 10
1989 — Browns 51, STEELERS 0
1995 — DOLPHINS 52, Jets 14
2002 — DOLPHINS 49, Lions 21
2003 — 49ERS 49, Bears 7
2012 — JETS 48, Bills 28
Tags: Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, Stephen Hill
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