- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Physicality hasn't been the problem for the Jets' porous run defense.
"It's been an issue of alignment, assignment, fundamentals, tackling," linebacker Aaron Maybin said.
That will have to change quickly as the Jets get ready to host Houston's high-powered running game on Monday night. The Jets are next to last in the league in rushing yards allowed at 172.8, while Houston is ninth in rushing yards per game with 136.5.
"It's going to be a great test for us up front," Jets defensive lineman Mike DeVito said. "Chance to bounce back. This is the first game, we have to put the rest of the stuff behind us and bounce back."
It's uncharacteristic for a Rex Ryan defense to be bad against the run, but the Jets cannot stop opposing rushers this year. In Sunday's 34-0 loss to the 49ers, the Jets allowed 245 rushing yards, the most they've ever allowed in Ryan's four years as coach. Buffalo and Miami also trashed the Jets on the ground.
Maybin described Sunday's game as a "fundamentally bad day" with the 17 missed tackles. During the fourth quarter, the Jets could not get off the field and San Francisco kept drives running by consistently running the ball. Being fundamentally sound will be key against an undefeated Houston team.
"We said coming into this game that when we finish this game we shouldn't feel like we fundamentally had a bad day," Maybin said. "When you look at last week's game, I think it was 17 missed tackles. That's something that's totally uncharacteristic of a defense like this."
DeVito said being "gap sound" will be key against Houston's stretch-zone scheme that effectively uses cutbacks to gash opponents for yards. He stressed reading blocks well, not guessing, and being quick off the ball. By following those principles, the Jets can try to avoid a San Francisco repeat.
"I think that's one thing I've learned throughout the years, you don't want to let one game beat you twice," DeVito said. "So we recognize that we didn't have our best effort last week and we got better from it, we learned from it, now it's behind us and we're focusing on Houston."
The Jets will try to avoid letting Houston's lethal combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate get into the open field as the duo's speed gives them home run capability on any play. Foster is averaging 95 yards per game on the ground and has four touchdowns.
"With a group like that you have to make sure that they don't gash your team by splitting your defense in half basically," Maybin said. "They're pretty good at getting flow going one way and then cutting back and being able to get where the defenders aren't, getting everybody to kind of roll to one side and then reverse field. We have to be able to eliminate plays like that and the only way to really do that is to get 11 hats to the football."