Not surprisingly, Jets head coach Rex Ryan liked the combination of rushing offense and mostly stifling defense that got the Jets past the Jaguars on Sunday. In particular, he enjoyed the play of a few of his young guns on the front line of that defense.
“Muhammad Wilkerson, I promise you he’s getting the Pro Bowl vote from Jacksonville,” Ryan said at his midday news conference today. “It was a dominant performance from Mo. For an interior lineman, he’s just doing an incredible job. Statistically, he had the one sack, but he beat his guy over and over. Backs were having to pick him up — that’s rare when you have interior linemen getting attention from the backs. Usually that’s for the outside edge rushers. It just shows you what teams are thinking of this guy.”
And top draft pick Quinton Coples came on in the second half with one of his most impressive showings as a Jet.
“Obviously, Quinton’s athleticism jumps out at you. We always say he’s country-strong, and he is,” Ryan said. “What we’re starting to do now with him is mixing him up as an inside player, then an outside player. He missed a sack when he went over the top of [Chad] Henne, but he got one sack and he affected three more throws, including that last one at the end of the game. It looked like he was eating that tackle up pretty good over there.”
“I think the pass rush has been incredible,” said DT Mike DeVito of the Jets’ Sunday pressure that produced an unofficial total of 10 QB hits, the most this season. “It’s something we’ve been working on since day one, and to see Mo and Q doing that for us, that’s great. You can do so many more things when you can rush the quarterback.”
The only black mark on Wilkerson’s game actually was incorrectly graded. Referee Al Riveron called No. 96 for a 15-yard facemask penalty on a Henne third-down scramble on the Jags’ TD drive, but replays showed it was No. 98, Coples, who got his finger hooked in Henne’s mask on the play.
Still, that was the Jets’ only penalty of the game, another aspect of the win that pleased Ryan. The Jets are now third in the NFL in fewest penalties and fourth in yards, and they lead the league in both penalty categories since the bye week.
With the push up front and the creative backside play led by Antonio Cromartie and a cast that yesterday included Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen, the Jets rankings continue to rise. If their eighth overall defensive-yardage ranking and their No. 3 against the pass hold through tonight’s Houston-New England game, it will be their highest weekly rankings of the season.
The third quarter’s been the charm for the Jets D the past two games. The Cardinals gained 6 yards in their third quarter and the Jaguars had the same on Sunday. These totals were the best third-quarter showing by the Green & White defense since they allowed the Dolphins 5 yards in their 2007 win at Miami. And they’re the lowest yardage total in any quarter since the ‘Fins had 3 yards in the fourth quarter of their Meadowlands win over the Jets in 2010.
WR Stephen Hill has an LCL knee sprain and LB Bryan Thomas has a pectoral muscle strain. The Jets are listing both as day-to-day. As for TE Dustin Keller (ankle), who stayed home from the Jags game, Ryan said, “I thought he was getting better as the week went on, but not to the point where he could play. Adding another day this week [for the Monday night game] , hopefully that’ll get him back on the field.”
This week’s first injury reports from the Jets and Titans won’t be issued until Thursday.
Bucking the Trend
The Jets on Sunday at Jacksonville did something they had never accomplished in franchise history and that no NFL team had achieved in the 19 previous seasons. They went scoreless in the first halves of back-to-back victories.
This is one of those glass-half-full-glass-half empty deals, akin to winning six fourth-quarter comebacks in a season. It’s definitely a good thing that the Jets beat both the Cardinals and the Jaguars despite zero first-half points, but it’s not something they want to make a habit of, such as trying for three in a row next Monday night at Tennessee.
On 10 previous occasions, the Jets went scoreless in back-to-back games. Only once did they win even one of the two games, in 1971 when they won at Miami, 14-10, before losing at New England, 20-0. (The Jets actually went scoreless for the first three quarters in both those games.) The other nine times they were 0-2.
But the Jets aren’t alone in struggling through two games of not being able to put point one on the board in the first 30 minutes. The last NFL team to do it was New Orleans in 1992. From 1993 through 2011, there were 79 occasions when teams went scoreless in the first half of consecutive games. None of them won both. Less than a third won one of the two games.
Another interesting note is that after 19 years of none of these occasions, the NFL has two teams who have qualified for the distinction this season, and in fact did it the last two weeks. The Jets have been joined by the Rams, who beat the 49ers in overtime, 16-13, last week and took out the Bills, 15-12, on Sunday.
“Inside the Jets”
Radio play-by-play voice of the Jets Bob Wischusen hosts tonight’s “Inside the Jets” show at the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J. The show begins at 7 p.m. tonight and will be aired live on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. Bob’s guests are WR Chaz Schilens, QB Greg McElroy and assistant GM Scott Cohen.
Tags: Bryan Thomas, Dustin Keller, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike DeVito, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, Stephen Hill
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