Do you remember Shrek, Jets fans?
I don’t mean Shrek the Third, Shrek 2 or Shrek the Movie. I mean the ShrekÂ Game.
“No, I never heard of that,” cornerback Darrelle Revis. “What is it?”
“Yeah, I remember that game,” said defensive end Shaun Ellis with a smile. “It wasn’t like today’s game, though. Both teams were plodding that game. This game was moving.”
Even Kris Jenkins remembers the Oct. 28, 2001, encounter with Carolina at Ericsson Stadium. That was the big nose’s rookie season â€” as a Panther.
“Yeah, we were 1-15 that year,” Jenkins said. “I’m trying my best to forget about that. That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
We bring up the Jets’ 13-12 victory that day not to aggravate JenkinsÂ nor to torture Green & White fans who thought they forgot that victory, so big, green and ugly that then-coach Herm Edwards dubbed it the Shrek Game and brought movie posters and pointy green ears into the team’s complex the next week because the animated movie had come out a short while before.
We bring it up because that’s how long ago the Jets gave up fewer yards on defense than the 171 they yielded to the Bengals in today’s 26-14 victory over Cincinnati.
“For real?” said Revis.
Word. There’s the 162 yards the Panthers squeaked out that day, and then almost seven seasons later comes the next-best figureÂ today. Put another way, this was the best yardage showing of the Eric Mangini/Bob Sutton era of Jets football.
“That,” said linebacker David Bowens, a Dolphin at the time, “is impressive.”
Furthermore, Bowens said, “That’s a compliment to the work we did during the bye week. The key was they hit us here and there, but we stayed consistent.”
“Coach Mangini spent a lot of time with the defense during the bye week,” said DB Hank Poteat, who contributed on a blitz with his first strip-sack since he separatedÂ Brooks Bollinger from ball for New England during the last Monday night game shown on ABC in December 2005. “He’s a defensive guy, and it was almost like being back in school again.”
You’ll forgive the Jets if they aren’t giving this one back because the critics will insist on pointing out that the Cincinnati quarterback of record was Ryan Fitzpatrick and not Carson Palmer (sidelined by his aching right elbow). And because, for example, when the Jets needed to stop the visitors at the end of the first half, the Bengals instead mounted a 66-yard drive that included their first six first downs of the game and ended with their only TD to cut the Jets’ halftime lead to 17-14.
“We wanted to come out strong in the second half because we didn’t finish the first half the way we wanted to,” said LB Calvin Pace. “We wanted to come out with a good tempo and end the game the way we started it. We wanted to go out there with a lot of enthusiasm to get the offense the best field position possible.”
So instead of Arizona’s five consecutive TD drives two weeks ago before the bye, Cincinnati had four punts and an end-of-game drive that ended on the Jets 26.
Pace did his part. His four solo tackles may seem tame, but consider he had a tackle for loss, followed by a fumble recovery to set up Thomas Jones’ second TD, a quarterback hit on Fitzpatrick, a sack and a forced fumble, and finally a third-down stop of Fitzy that set up the punt that set up TJ’s final TD.
And how about Jenkins? He also had a modest four-solo line with none of Pace’s bells and whistles. But he again led the run defense, which shut the Bengals down â€” 43 yards on 21 carries, with Fitzpatrick coming in as the leading rusher with 23 yards on six carries, some in self-defense.
“We did a good job,” Jenkins said about the run D. “At one point it was a 1.8 average. If we can keep them down like that, then we’re doing our job.”
Not all the Week 6 results are in, but as I write this, the Jets’ run defense is third in the NFL, allowing 69.0 yards a game.
And their pass rush is tied for first, at least as far as their 18 sacks â€” five more coming against Fitzpatrick â€” are concerned.
This isn’t an attempt to dazzle you with numbers, but the defensive effort was a big part of putting away the proverbial dangerous wounded Bengal that had come into their North Jersey home.
“We weren’t pretty today,” Leon Washington, who was pretty effective with his career-high 77 punt-return yards and 65 kickoff-return yards, said about the offense. “We made a lot of mistakes. It just goes to show the way we were able to finish this game. The defensive played well and special teams picked it up for the offense with field position.”
And the defense for the third straight season of Mangini-ball came out of the bye week with a powerful effort.
Were the Bengals hamstrung without Palmer and with a banged-up T.J. Houshmandzadeh? No question. But even battered and bruised teams are dangerous (see Rams 19, Redskins 17). And we’ll see if the Jets defense can grow from this effort in the coming weeks, but it sure didn’t hurt.
“When you’re a part of something that’s good, you see the things out there,” Revis said. “It’s totally different from last year … the sack strips, the interceptions … it just shows me we’re working hard. We’re watching film extra, we’re doing extra the things to be good.
“The Giants did it last year. I’ve got a couple of friends over there,” Revis continued (he may have said hello to a few of them as he was arriving today while Big Blue was departing for Cleveland and their Monday night affair vs. the Browns. “They told me they went the extra step. That’s the thing you have to do.”
Here are the fewest yards the Jets have allowed in a game in the last 10-plus seasons, since the start of 1998 (home team in CAPS):
|Â Season||Final Score||Plays||Yards||Avg|
|Â 2000||RAVENS 34, Jets 20||55||142||2.6|
|Â 1998||JETS 20, Dolphins 9||52||153||2.9|
|Â 2001||Jets 13, PANTHERS 12||56||162||2.9|
|Â 2008||JETS 26,Â Bengals 14||59||171||2.9|
A Pair of Threes
Jones’ three touchdowns today, paired with Laveranues Coles’ three TDs vs. Arizona, marks the first time in the NFL that two different players scored three TDs in back-to-back games since Reggie Bush and Mike Karney turned the trick for the Saints in December 2006.
And it’s the first time this has happened for the Jets since Emerson Boozer had three TDs (two rushing, one receiving) at Buffalo and TE Rich Caster had three more (all receiving) at Baltimore to start the 1972 season.
Tags: Bob Sutton, Carolina Panthers, Darrelle Revis, David Bowens, Eric Mangini, Kris Jenkins, Leon Washington, Shaun Ellis
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