Jets blitz bites Brady
The Jets have blitzed a defensive back against Tom Brady over four times more than the rest of the NFL has since the start of the 2009 season. Brady has torched other teams’ secondary blitz, throwing four touchdowns and just one interception. Against the Jets though, he has thrown two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Has Sanchez figured out Pats’ pass rush?
Mark Sanchez struggled against the Patriots’ blitz last season, completing 38.5 percent of his passes with three interceptions when the Patriots rushed five or more players. In their first meeting this season, Sanchez went 7-for-10 with two touchdowns when the Pats rushed five or more.
Diminishing returns with Jets added pass pressure
In 2009, the New York Jets defense was a dynamic and unpredictable unit, blitzing on over half of the dropbacks against them. The results were strong, as the Jets defense allowed just one 300-yard passer in 2009, and held 11 of the 16 quarterbacks they faced to passer ratings under 70. A year later, teams have started to figure out the Jets defense. While the Jets are still blitzing on a higher percentage of dropbacks then everyone but the Saints (47.2 pct), they’ve been more conservative with their defensive play calling, and that (plus a year’s worth of game film) has helped opposing quarterbacks in 2010.
Jets blitz losing its luster
The Jets are also one of the most prolific teams in the NFL at blitzing defensive backs, particularly on third down. A year ago, the Jets sent defensive backs after the quarterback on 85 of 168 dropbacks, easily the highest percentage in the NFL (50.6). This season, the Jets have been even more aggressive on third down, sending defensive backs on 79 of 136 dropbacks through the first 11 games (58.1). However, the predictability of secondary pressure is making it easier for offenses to anticipate the rush.
Tomlinson making headway up the middle
Over the previous two seasons LaDainian Tomlinson has struggled attacking the middle of opposing defenses. This season LT has seen a drastic improvement in his ability to rush up the middle, including increases in yards per rush, rushes per touchdown and rushes per first downs.
A few player notes
Some tidbits on a few players, courtesy of Jason Vida:
* Patriots CB Devin McCourty: Only three players in the league have more interceptions than Devin McCourty, the rookie from Rutgers, whose five are the most by a Patriots first-year player since Maurice Hurst in 1989, and tied for the second-most in team history. All five of McCourty’s interceptions have come since Week 7, tying him with Asante Samuel and DeAngelo Hall, both former Pro Bowlers, for the NFL lead over that span. No one has been better at picking off deep passes than McCourty, who leads all players with five interceptions on passes thrown more than 15 yards down the field.
* Jets CB Antonio Cromartie: For the second straight season, no team has been better at defending the deep ball than the Jets. Rex Ryan’s defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 28.6 percent of their passes for 7.4 yards per attempt with a 54.0 passer rating on balls thrown at least 15 yards downfield-- all league best marks. With MVP-caliber cornerback Darrelle Revis missing two full games and playing hurt in several others, Cromartie has stepped up in a big way. His 15 passes defensed are the second-most in the league and seven more than any other Jets player.
* Patriots DE Mike Wright: Assuming he can return after missing last week’s win vs the Lions with a concussion, Patriots defensive end Mike Wright will start Monday night’s game with more sacks this season (a career-high 5.5) than any other player on the field; a fact even more surprising when you consider that the likes of Jason Taylor, Calvin Pace and Bart Scott will be on the opposing sideline. Since the Patriots bye week in Week 5, only three players in the AFC have more sacks than Wright’s 4.5.