They heard all about how Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Austin Howard suggested that his new team could push around the Jets' big, bad defensive line.
Well, not quite.
The Jets held rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders to 158 yards of total offense, including just 25 yards rushing in a 19-14 season-opening victory Sunday.
"He's supposed to be confident," Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said. "It just didn't happen that way. Maybe next week for them."
While it was mild by trash-talking standards, it fired the Jets up a bit.
"We knew the Raiders were going to come in here and push us around," coach Rex Ryan said sarcastically, "and they certainly did that to the tune of 25 yards rushing."
Ryan said he didn't mention the quote to his team, but a few players said it was a topic of discussion. Either way, the Jets improved to 5-1 in season openers under Ryan, and they sent the Raiders to their 14th straight loss in games played in the Eastern time zone.
Chris Ivory had a career-best 71-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, and Geno Smith finished 23 of 28 for 221 yards, including a 5-yard scoring pass to Chris Johnson. His 82.1 completion percentage was the third-highest in Jets history.
But Ryan was far from thrilled even in victory. He wanted more points, execution and discipline.
"This game should've been a rat kill," the coach said. "It wasn't."
He wasn't happy with the 11 penalties — not including two others that were declined — his team was called for. Ryan also wasn't pleased by winning by just five points.
"Our fans were better than our team today," Ryan said.
Meanwhile, Carr made it close with a 30-yard touchdown pass to James Jones, who made a leaping grab over Darrin Walls with 1:21 left — giving Oakland one last chance.
But Greg Salas recovered the Raiders' onside kick try, sealing it for the Jets.
"Tough loss on the road," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "Not the way we wanted to start our season."
Here are a few other observations from the Jets' victory over the Raiders:
NEW CARR: After getting the starting nod over Matt Schaub, Carr held his own in the first half and completed his first seven passes. But the Jets pressured the second-round pick throughout the final two quarters. He finished 20 of 32 for 151 yards, with touchdowns to Jones and Rod Streater.
"I don't think the game was too big for him," Allen said. "Overall, I saw some positive signs, some things that he did well. Obviously, I saw some mistakes."
Ryan improved to 8-1 against rookie quarterbacks making their first appearance against his Jets defense.
ON THE RUN: The Jets hit the ground running, rushing for 212 yards against the Raiders.
A big chunk of that came on Ivory's long run, but New York was able to run at will. Ivory finished with 102 yards on 10 carries, while Chris Johnson had 68 yards rushing in his Jets debut and caught five passes for 23 yards. Smith also ran 10 times for 38 yards.
"I thought they won the line of scrimmage battle," Allen said. "And, really, without watching the tape, I think they were able to win the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the football."
But converted safety Antonio Allen, in his first NFL start at cornerback, and Walls were solid. Even though Walls gave up the late touchdown, Jones had to make an extremely athletic play. Both made some nice open-field tackles, too.
LIKE MIKE: Michael Vick's debut with the Jets consisted of just three plays — all near the end zone.
He handed off to Johnson in the first quarter. The backup quarterback lined up at wide receiver on a play during which Smith lost a fumble. Then, just before halftime, he took a flip from Smith and tossed a pass that was just a bit wide of Eric Decker in the end zone.
"I thought the packages were pretty cool," Vick said. "Obviously, I wish that I could have had an impact on the game. Hopefully I did. I've got to keep working."
GREEN SLIDE: Smith took a few hard hits from the Raiders, something Ryan doesn't want to see become a regular occurrence.
He went headfirst on a couple of runs, and got sandwiched by two defenders when he fumbled near the goal line. Ryan suggested a visit from a member of his favorite baseball team.
"Maybe we can get (Derek) Jeter to come after he retires," Ryan said. "Hopefully, that's in late-October. Maybe he can teach him how to slide."