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Who’s No. 1? Jets Defense (in Yards Allowed)

Posted by Randy Lange on September 22, 2009 – 10:31 pm

The Jets have been tweeting and chirping and crowing all off-season, pre-season and into the regular season about how they want to, plan to, expect to have the NFL’s top defense this year.

Well, this week it’s true. The Jets are No. 1.

That’s numero uno as in fewest total yards allowed per game, 241.0 on average in the season-opening win at Houston and the home-opening triumph over New England. And that figure is top of the heap in this week’s completed NFL’s defensive rankings.

I say completed because the Indianapolis-Miami Monday night game figured in this week’s rankings. The Jets, who went into Week 2 second behind the Eagles after allowing the Texans 183 yards, gave up 299 to the Pats but were still poised in second, this week behind the Colts, who gave up 228 in their opener. Had they held the Dolphins to 253 yards or less, the Horseshoes would have held No. 1 heading into Week 3.

Indy won but gave up 403 yards to Chad Pennington, Ronnie Brown and the Miami Wildcats.

And so now the Jets defenders of head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Mike Pettine can say it as loud and as proud as their fans chanted their name on Sunday: "J-E-T-S, We’re Number One!"

Now, that distinction and a bunch of Ben Franklins will get you a seat at Land Shark Stadium, and not close to the sideline, to watch Super Bowl XLIV in Miami in February. But being king of the hill in yardage allowed is still a significant mile marker on the road the Jets want to travel as a unit and a team this year. One, because as far back as the NFL Combine in February, Ryan was saying:

"I’m not one to shy away from expectations. I think we’ll be terrific and i think we’re going to have a defense that our fans can be proud of."

And two, the Jets as No. 1 on D just doesn’t happen that often.

I’ve charted the NFL’s weekly rankings in the "elite eight" categories since 1995. Those are the stats that coaches, players and fans like to point to, at least when their rankings are in the single digits — overall, rushing, passing and scoring offense, and the same four on defense.

The Jets had spent exactly zero weeks as the NFL’s top defensive team from 1995-2008. The highest position they ever achieved in that span was a pair of No. 4’s, after Weeks 12 and 13 in 1998, which of course was the last time they reached the AFC Championship Game.

The Green & White’s top rank at the end of a season since 1970? That was also a No. 4, which actually came in 1970, the first year of the merged AFL and NFL.

So when was the last time the Jets defense might’ve been A-number-one? I’m embarrassed to say I can’t be sure. I guess I was putting off doing the research for a little later in the season, when the Jets were noticeably creeping up on that top rung after weeks of improving their standing.

I can report that in the 1982 strike season, the Jets of the Sack Exchange — Marty Lyons, Mark Gastineau and Abdul Salaam but minus Joe Klecko for most of the way with a knee injury — Greg Buttle, Lance Mehl and Stan Blinka at LB, Bobby Jackson, Kenny Schroy, Darrol Ray and Jerry Holmes in the secondary were No. 1.

For one week.

That was after Game 5, when they defeated the Lions at Detroit, 28-13, on Monday night, leapfrogged Buffalo and held onto the top spot for seven days, until the Bills took it back, then ultimately gave it up to the Dolphins after the final week, with the Jets slipping to sixth for the year.

Then in 1985, it was Giants 1, Jets 2 for two midseason weeks. But 2, I don’t need to tell you, isn’t 1.

Since then, well, we’re checking and crunching and so is the Elias Sports Bureau to be able to say definitively that it’s been 27 years or 442 weeks since the Jets last wore the coveted defensive crown.

Or not.

OK, we’re gushing a little bit here. Ryan and his players will be greeted with questions and opinions about their status as the new Alpha dogs of NFL defense when they return to practice Wednesday for their next test, Sunday at home against the Tennessee Titans (ranked seventh offensively, by the way).

I expect all will say that it’s peachy to be ichi but it would be finer to be eine after 17 weeks and heading into the playoffs as a high AFC seed.

As for that other big stat, points allowed, which is even more closely tied to victories, the Jets are doing almost as well there. They’ve given up no defensive touchdowns, 16 points total. They are No. 2 in this category this week, behind the Denver Broncos’ 13 points allowed.

Unlike the yardage ranking, I do know the last week the Jets led the NFL in scoring defense. But I’ll save that one for another week in the near future.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 55 Comments »


55 Responses to “Who’s No. 1? Jets Defense (in Yards Allowed)”

  1. By Christopher on Sep 22, 2009 | Reply

    Defense wins championships and right now the sky is the limit…Go Jets!!

  2. By VFRDavid on Sep 22, 2009 | Reply

    First year season-ticket holder…I was planning on flying up for just 3 – 4 games…now I want to go to all of them! Go J! E! T! S!!!

  3. By 36 year fan on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    We’re number 1 . It’s about time.

  4. By Old Rogue on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    2nd in points allowed is a far more telling stat to me. Means our D is getting the job done. Opponents can run up and down all day for all I care, so long as they don’t score. Which brings me to the fact that they have allowed NO OFFENSIVE TDs in eight quarters – solid gold in or near the Red Zone. Only Broncos, Vikes, and Saints have a better points differential. Meaningful stuff.

  5. By Rick Ornelas on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I like the fact that the Jets are still trying to find M.Sanchez some more weapons. I like what they have, but sooner or later teams are going to figure out how to shut down Leon and Dustin. Then we will see what they can answer with?

  6. By Lion on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, shouldn’t the Jets be #1 in scoring D? Why does an int return count against the Defense when they’re not even on the field?

  7. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    The Jets never had a D like this. Even the SB winners were only okay with Beverly and Sample at corner and a fair pass rush, weaknesses increasingly exploited a few years after SB3. Plus by the mid-’70s the Jets became one of the most curiously conservative teams in the NFL on O AND D, while this D is brilliantly reckless. Sack Exchange was great but the whole D wasn’t as strong as THIS D looks!

  8. By Jimmy Cheese on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, great stats, nice point… but it means nothing until we get another ring. The Jets won it the year I was born, and my 8 year old daughter laughed at me when I told her that. This year I am 40, damnit Rex win the Super Bow! Nothing but let-downs my whole life. For my 40th Birthday (23 Dec) I want to see the Jets win Super Bowl XLIV! I don’t want her to wait till she’s 40 to see it!

  9. By Ira on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, I love all these stats but i agree it all comes down to pts allowed. That 98 D was very good but the Jets right now are on pace to top total yds given up plus of course pts. Its way too early to start to project you need at least 8 games in the book but they’re off to a great start. Funny i heard Hentrich was hurt and Hodges and some others were trying out. Glad weatherford is a Jet.

  10. By Darrell on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    7 of those points we’re given up by the Jets offense. The defense has only allowed 9 points so far. They would be #1 in that category too.

    I think there might be a new defensive mastermind in the AFCE.

    Boo-yah!

  11. By howard tish on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    There is only one defensive stat that matters, points allowed. The Jets have given up 3 FGs and no defensive TD’s, a stunning stat.

  12. By Ira on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Randy mentioned that the Titans are ranked #7 offensively. This week will be no easy task. C. Johnson is a great player and i expect Fischer to try to exploit the Jets aggressive D with a variety of screens,draws and quick slants. Also i would think he would move Johnson around to isolate him on a LB. The Titans are ranked last vs the pass. Great chess match between Rex and Fischer.

  13. By bknydanny on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    theres two sides our defense better and it only helps mark sanchez ztay crisp. go Jets!

  14. By becauseBLINKAremembers on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Blinka says that they would be the best defense ever if they had better outside linebackers. Those who follow Blinks’s post know that I’m no fan of the 3-4. The Jets’ have been dominant due to outstanding play on the inside. If they had ends and outside linebackers better suited for the 3-4, not hall of famers, just better at the position, this defense could be one of the best of all time.

  15. By Tom Spicer on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Blinka, the Jets will be fine we just got Ellis back he had 8 sacks last year which led the league for a 3-4 DE. Also 2 more games & we get Pace back week 5 so very soon you will see heat coming off of the end. Pace had 7 sacks last year. Between Ellis & Pace with 15 sacks total that was over 37% of the teams sacks last year. We could have the best D in the game I think worst case # 3 J-E-T-S JETS

  16. By 36 year fan on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I just want to see The Jets lift the Vince Lombardi one time before I die.

  17. By 36 year fan on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    The Titans are weak at pass coverage. I would go with some 5 wide sets. And attack, an air assault. They wont be ready for that. Attack their weaknesses. They wont be expecting a rookie to come at them like that. Then the coup de gras run Leon Washington down their throat.

  18. By Anthony on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    This Defense has something special. Its crazy you watch them and its like wow. I was at the game on on Sunday and it was wild. One of the Best games if not the best I have ever been to definitely the loudest . But Pace is back in two weeks what kind of havoc that is to cause is going to be sick to watch. J-E-T-S …..

  19. By jak_jetfan on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    i was a bears fan from 79 to 87 . that defense in 85 was blistering. now its like deja vue all over again[thanks yogi] . the problem you get with such a d is that youll find usually that theres not much excitement after your up by 20pnts and the opponent cant score on you…but ya sure can shut the naysayers up.

  20. By Row on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    We can’t go out passing 36yr fan, their RB’s are too good. Our D will be on the field all game and we’ll lose just like last year with Favre. In this game, we need to control their running game, and run it better then the Titans. No easy task, but that’s how we have to win. Having Sanchez throw up 40 balls is a guaranteed loss. Haven’t seen his famous lob to Clowney yet.. No run blitz. Go Jets

  21. By Ira on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    36 year fan,
    This week coming out throwing could be the way to go. They have to get teams to play them straight up. Everybody is loading the box. But even with all of Sanchez’s early success he is still a rookie and they must find their running game for him to continue to have success. And believe me Fisher will have his team ready to go this week. 0-2 and desperate be careful. GO JETS!!!!

  22. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Picture this and tell me you won’t feel better about going to work on Monday: ATL beats NE (very possible), NO beats BUF (a lock), and SD beats MIA (almost as big a lock). We beat TEN to go up 2 games on NE and BUF, with the 0-3 Fish benching Chad (sorry, old friend, but the deal you must’ve made with the devil for ’08’s coming due) and on their way to 0-16! Like Strahan said, SAY IT, BELIEVE IT!

  23. By Viveca on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    The Jets D is sensational but Sanchez and the offense need more help. If either Stuckey or Cotchery go down we’re in trouble. Also,why isn’t Shonn Greene playing? He has a much better burst than Jones. Offensive line need to open more holes. They were pretty mediocre in the last game.
    Other than that…It’s great to be a Jet fan these days! Great job Rex!

  24. By Rich on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    love the way our defense is playing…. when sanchez was actually allowed to throw the ball against NE he looked great! I am a huge JETS fan but i dont understand what anyone has against chad pennington… the guy did what he could for us and then we kicked him out so he signed with a different team… what did he do wrong?

  25. By ChefJet23 on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    We need to adjust, thats it, during the game. We have done a great job of it so far and should do it this game. I say come out running of course and we’ll see what Tennesse is giving us. Sanchez can throw we just need to make the catches and stay inbounds. We beat up on Tennesse last year and should do the same this time around. 3 and 0 JET fans…I LUV IT!!!

  26. By Ryan on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves Jets Fan since’64 Tom. First of all, I hope they come out with the same intensity as they did againts the Pats. I hope they’re not actually treating that game as they’re Super Bowl. Too early to be thinking about other teams right now.

  27. By Old Rogue on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    36 year fan and IRA – Couldn’t agree more. Time to let Chez cut it loose. — @ROW: ‘We can’t go out passing 36yr fan, their RB’s are too good.’ That makes no sense at all. The quality of their run-game doesn’t affect how we choose to play offense.

  28. By Kevon Scott on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    “GREAT JOB”~ Way To Go D-E-F-E-N-S-E ~ Thanks For The Team Effort ~
    Now This next One Is ”
    Not A Love Hate Relationship ~ This Is Going To Be A Physical ” WAR”
    “GET YOUR BATTLE GEAR ON”
    Be Prepared To FIGHT for your “HONOR
    “We Can Not Lose” ~ We Will Not Lose”
    It’s A “WAR Going On Out There”
    Go J~E~T~S

  29. By Gary C on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, has any one noticed how much Patriots were throwing to Edelman considering he took the place of Welker.Sounds like the Patriots could not change there game plan in midstream.I guess they thought Welker would play up to last minute.

  30. By CJ on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    This week will be a big test for us the Jets. I know they are up for the challenge. I bet the titans will be throwing a lot of screens against the jets to offset our blitzing attack. If the Jets win they will still get no respect from anybody outsite Jets nation. GO J.E.T.S. JETS, JETS, JETS!

  31. By Pete - since 68 on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Are you seriously telling me that the “points allowed” stat includes touchdowns the other teams defense scores??? That seems crazy. The Jets defense has allowed 9 points this year as I see it.

  32. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Speaking for myself, Rich, I have nothing against Chad personally, he’s a great guy, a good leader, and was a usually okay, sometimes great QB for us for awhile. What I resent highly is the mud that was thrown at the Jets for releasing him — which was a favor to him, so he could make his own deal and play last year — when he was already so painfully and obviously several years past good enough.

  33. By russ on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Can’t change my posts now Randy…We are still undefeated and continuing on our march to a fun and hopefully a record season….We have suffered enough as a franchise and as season ticket holders so we are not getting anything more that what our loyalty has asked for…solid football…and a team that never rolls over….Still number 1,,,,and still in first place,,,not a bad way to drive to work!!

  34. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I think 36 yr Jet Fan has a good point. The Jets have been building a Pound & Ground reputation but if the Titans are crowding the line, Sanchize might want to force them to respect the passing game.
    I’m still a firm believer in using up the clock with long scoring drives 10 – 15 plays that murder 7-8 minutes. Tire out their D while ours rests; that’s a winning formula (except for the Phins).

  35. By Randy Lange on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Yes, Pete, that’s how the NFL has always done it. However, I keep track of defense and special teams touchdowns scored and allowed around the NFL and I’ll keep you posted regularly on how the Jets’ defense stacks up with the opposition. And so we can state that after two weeks the Jets are first in the NFL in rushing/receiving TDs allowed: zero.

  36. By Dominic on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    The Jets looks very good. Only thing is that nickel corner. Hope the D keeps the intensity to provide short field for the Offense. The run game has to improve.

  37. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I’m not predicting anything, Ryan, but I am trying to “change the culture around the Jets,” as the papers keep saying about Rex. Along those lines, I don’t see much chance of bringing less intensity this week. I frankly don’t think Rex will stand for it. I was very struck by what Douglas said about how Rex may come off warm and fuzzy but “if you don’t do the job, he’ll bring in someone who can.”

  38. By Ira on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Ed, How in the world the Fish lost that game is crazy. The Texans burnt Tenn with the pass. I think Clowney will have to get some looks this week or at least stretch the field for others. I know this is crazy but the Jets will have to give a bigger effort this week than they did vs the Pats to take care of Tenn. I think they can and hope to be 3-0 after Sunday. GO JETS!!!!

  39. By Tom Spicer on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I cant wait until we get Pace back to see what it will look like with him coming off the edge. All the old timers on this site know I never wanted Gholston on this team. Now that we have him I prayed that I would be wrong but it does not look like it. Thomas has played way better than him & when Pace is back there is no was Rex starts Gholston over Thomas.

  40. By Paul in New Jersey on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Not to be too pessimistic but am I the only one who sees the Titans game as a tremendous “trap game” risk? All the motivational factors seem to be on their side plus the Jets are coming of the high of beating the Pats. Titans are much better than their 0-2 start. This may be as much a test of the rookie head coach as anything else!!

  41. By ddh on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    hey randy, I dont understand the 16pts allowed since 7pts was an offense lapse not defensive, the defense has yielded only 9 pts, and thats fewer than the broncos 13pts

  42. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    Good point Paul, this could easily become a “trap” game. I doubt this D will fall into a trap, they have a lot of pride wrapped up in not giving up any TDs yet. The O might feel motivated by the fact that they have a long way to go before they’re playing on a par with the D. I think they’re aware that they haven’t reached their potential yet.
    Don’t be surprised if you see the Seminole this week..

  43. By Randy Lange on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    ddh, that’s the way the NFL has always done it. Scoring defense is a misnomer of sorts because it includes all points scored, not just those scored against a team’s defense. But we will point out when this Jets defense does something special that the league doesn’t normally report on. In fact, you gave me a thought for Thursday’s blog. Stay logged on.

  44. By MIKE on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    I can only comment on things about the Jets that bother me. ex. VG, TJ contract, not sighning Leon. I am perfectly content. Even winning the games how I like to win the games. Lights out D and running the ball. Don’t care if Sanchez throws for only 100 yards a game as there are no picks. Go Jets!

  45. By russ on Sep 23, 2009 | Reply

    A “Trap Game” by definition is looking past your opponent (being less worthy) to your next opponent (more worthy)…Tennesee by this definition is not a “trap” team and cannot be seen as such… A better opponent would be Kansas this week with Tennesee next week to define trap game…..No Offense intended…

  46. By Jimmer on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    For the stats folks. Whatifsports actually has the JETS as the best team in the entire NFL. The power rankings I’ve seen range from 3-8, but the one at this place is actually scientific and runs multiple team on team games. NO was a close second, with NE 3rd. I do hate the dramatic rise in most power rankings though, it’s only 2 games in.

  47. By david on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    I think people are not giving the patriots o-line enough credit, they did a great job, brady would’ve got killed if he had the titans o-line..i luv the jets and they’re on mission..did gholston play last week, i kept looking for his number

  48. By Gregg from CA on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    I think the classic definition of a “trap game” is when you play a seemingly inferior opponent that, in many ways, has nothing to lose by playing incautiously. The danger is that you might overlook the opponent, and Tennessee in no way matches those conditions and Rex doesn’t seem like an overlooker (overeater maybe, but…) Relax and let the team hit it’s stride before worrying about “traps”.

  49. By Ray on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    Shep, I can’t speak for Row, but I believe he was referring to our O with Favre in general, not that game specifically. We have not shown the ability to run very much to this point so there is no doubt we are going to have to be able to pass on them. Schotty is going to have to loosen up and get the offense going alot faster this week. I hope Rex is right and they don’t take them lightly.

  50. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    Mike, I think it’s useful to see the season and everything in it as a process. I love Leon, who wouldn’t, but last I heard he’s asking for money that All-Pro RBs, which he isn’t yet, are getting. The salary cap thing complicates it all and besides, you have to let the team do a little card-playing. He’d be crazy to walk from THIS Jet team only over money, so I expect he’ll sign sooner than later.

  51. By Randy Lange on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    Yes, david, Vernon Gholston did play on defense.

  52. By Row on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks Ray, exactly right.. If we pass and try to score quick, our defense will be on the field all day. Offense hasn’t been that successful period. We can’t give them a chance to run all day, because they have two grade A RB’s. The other teams offense can dictate our strategy on offense and defense. If we use 3 mins of clock and they use 10, our defense suffers. Just want to see sustained drives.

  53. By MIKE on Sep 24, 2009 | Reply

    Never said I would pay him what he wanted but I would offer a long term deal averaging about 4 mil. Next lock in Revis and Mangold and pay them, they deserve it more than anyone. Like to see what Greene could do with a top O-line. They are playing Murrell and Westerman more than VG and using Scott and an D-end spot. Just shows the combine doesn’t mean anything.

  54. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 25, 2009 | Reply

    4 mil’s exactly what I told a friend I’d pay Leon the other day, Mike — not that I know all that much sitting here on the sidelines worried about my own finances in this dismal economy. If my late dad saw what it costs to buy Jets seats these days ($3.50 apiece in 1964)…well, I could make a very bad joke of the kind I once heard Joan Rivers make about her late husband, but I won’t.

  55. By vince si on Sep 26, 2009 | Reply

    our defense is only going to get better as our players continue to play together not to mention getting pace back.i was at the game sunday it was incredible.coach rex is the real deal,the players know it,the fans know it,and after this year the so called experts will know it.

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