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Jets spared again as Russell Gage, Calvin Ridley ruled out for Falcons

USA TODAY Sports Media Group
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
 2021-10-08
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The Jets will take on a team without their top two wide receivers for a second straight weekend when they travel to London to take on the Falcons on Sunday.

Russell Gage and Calvin Ridley were ruled out for Atlanta on Thursday. Gage will not make the trip due to an ankle injury, while Ridley is out to tend to a personal matter. Ridley is Matt Ryan’s favorite target with 27 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown through four games, while Gage has caught five passes for 28 yards in two games.

Rookie TE Kyle Pitts, hybrid RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Olamide Zaccheaus, TE Hayden Hurst and WR Tajae Sharpe should all see more action for Atlanta. Ridley is essentially irreplaceable in the Falcons’ offensive, though, as he has received 20 more targets from Ryan than any other Atlanta pass catcher.

The Titans were without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones against the Jets last weekend, leaving Tennessee’s offense somewhat one-dimensional. Ryan Tannehill attempted 49 passes, but his top option was checking down to Jeremy McNichols out of the backfield. Derrick Henry, meanwhile, took 33 carries.

Mike Davis is not the kind of workhorse running back Henry is, but the Falcons still might lean on him a bit more than usual with Gage and Ridley out. Patterson has also been a surprisingly dynamic playmaker for Atlanta so far this season, totaling 354 yards of offense and five touchdowns — four of which have come through the air.

Regardless of the gameplan Arthur Smith draws up with his top two receivers out of action, things will be much easier on the Jets’ defense not having to account for Gage and Ridley — especially Ridley — at all times. That might be enough for New York to notch two wins in a row after starting the season 0-3.

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