Sunday, January 2, 2011
A lot of players rest, but not the defense
By Rich Cimini
Now that was a dominating performance by the defense.
One week after being torched by the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler, the New York Jets forced six turnovers and limited the Buffalo Bills to six first downs and 160 total yards. Wait, it gets better: The Jets were so inpenetrable that the Bills ran only two plays in Jets territory.
Think about that for a second: Only two of their 47 plays on the opponents' side of the field. Yes, the Bills started third-string QB Brian Brohm, and maybe it would've been a little different with starter Ryan Fitzpatrick (knee), but give the Jets credit. It's not easy to put up those numbers in the NFL.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Jets held the Bills to 17 total yards, forcing four turnovers. The last time they had six turnovers in a game was Sept. 28, 2008 against the Arizona Cardinals. They allowed 37 rushing yards, their lowest since Dec. 2, 2007 against the Miami Dolphins.
And the Jets did it without CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, both nursing minor injuries, and DE Shaun Ellis, who was rested.
"They were tremendous," Rex Ryan said of his maligned defense.
• CB Marquice Cole, who started for the resting Revis, recorded two interceptions -- the first two of his career. He returned the first pick 35 yards for a touchdown. It was the first multi-interception game by a Jets player.
"You play and you expect to make plays, so when it happens, it's not like a big deal to you," Cole said. "It's not like I've never had an interception before ... You go out there and that's what I try to do, so to be surprised would be ridiculous."
• LB Calvin Pace made the first interception of his career, also contributing a sack and a QB hit on Cole's interception for a touchdown. It culminated a relatively quiet regular season for Pace, who missed the first four games with a broken foot. He finished with 5.5 sacks, second to Bryan Thomas' 6.5.
• LB Jason Taylor recorded a sack, giving him five for the season. He fell two sacks shy of a trigger that would've guaranteed $750,000 for 2011. He has 132.5 career sacks, moving him into a tie for eighth place with Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O'Neal.
"When I came in the league, it obviously wasn't a goal, but as I got closer to it, it (meant) something to me," Taylor said. "(LT) is a great player, an all-time greatr, probably the greatest to play. To be in the same area code (is great). I'm not the same kind of player. He always did it in a different way and was probably the greatest to play, but it's cool."
• S Dwight Lowery recorded his third interception to finish in a tie with Cromartie for the team lead. DB Drew Coleman recorded his third strip sack and his fourth sack in total. It's hard to believe, but only four players had more sacks than Coleman, a nickel back.