EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Last season, linebacker Aaron Maybin was a draft bust getting no love playing for the Bills. On Sunday, he was a Jets team captain who recorded two sacks in a 28-24 win over his old team.
The magnitude of the turnaround was not lost on him.
At his locker after the game, it seemed like Maybin could hardly believe it himself. He referenced how far he has come this year, with five sacks this season for the Jets after being unable to scrape together any as a Bill. Buffalo drafted Maybin with teh 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft.
His performance, he said, meant more given the context of the season.
“So much more,” Maybin said, “because we’re in the position that we’re in right now trying to fight for our playoff lives. At the end of the day, you want to go out and perform well, but when the team is put in a position where you have some must-win games ahead of you, especially in your division, it feels good to be able to go out there and have a good game in a situation like that.”
Even when he wasn’t able to sack him, Maybin pressured Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick enough to make a difference. The linebacker said the final drive, when a touchdown for the Bills would have won the game.
“For this, we knew that had to be one of those do-or-die moments for us because we’ve been in those situations and not finished before in the season. situations and not finished before (this) in the season. Coming down the home stretch, when you’re looking to make a playoff push and looking to show everyone that this is a team that has shown growth and is continuing to make strides in the right direction, being able to go out there and close on a team in the fourth quarter definitely helps to send that message.”