If the Jets are going to stay in the playoff hunt this December, the defense is going to have to continue to excel. And Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine's crew appears up to the challenge, turning in another stingy performance today in a 17-10 triumph over the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
Despite the Jets being shutout in the first half for a second consecutive game, the Green & White were in great shape because they trailed just 3-0. The Jets actually allowed the 31st ranked Jags offense to drive down to the NYJ 16 in the opening minutes, but Garrett McIntyre got a lick on Chad Henne and Bart Scott collected his first interception of his Jets' tenure to thwart a scoring threat.
"You take them however they come," said the Madbacker, who credited McIntyre for doing the hard work. "We understand we can't leave plays on the field when we're trying to win a game that is going to be low-scoring. Those can be the difference.
"It was my turn this week. Next time — it will be somebody else. We just have to keep making enough plays to win."
The Scott INT came on third-down and the Jets dominated in that area again Sunday. A week after throwing a perfect game against the Cards (0 of 15), the Green & White held the Jags to just 2-of-16. New York's AFC representative turned the ball over twice in the opening 30 minutes and the Jags were limited to just a 31-yard Josh Scobee field goal.
"We don't even pay attention to that," Scott said of the Jets offense. "We know if they don't score, they can't win. That's what our job is. You can't waste energy farming anybody else's land. Until we play a perfect game, we can't make a statement on that. We're striving to be the best that we can be."
Once the Jets ground game finally got rolling in the third stanza, the defense had some breathing room. There were tremendous individual performance across the board as S LaRon Landry celebrated a win over his big brother with 10 tackles, David Harris added 10 stops and two QB hits and Muhammad Wilkerson stayed on his tear with three tackles, a sack and three QB hits.
"We're executing well," said Landry. "We're communicating, tackling and we're just reading our keys."
"We've been on fire…," added Mike DeVito of the D-line. "We're going to continue this upward trend."
The Jets allowed Henne to complete only 21-of-43 passes for 185 yards with two interceptions and a 41.3 passer rating. Antonio Cromartie, who briefly had to be checked out in late in the contest after a collision, was excellent and the pass D has not allowed a receiver to break the 100-yard mark this season.
Warm in the third, the Jets didn't even allow a first down. Rookie Quinton Coples' fourth quarter sack preceded Montell Owens (14-91) 32-scoring run in the fourth to make it a 17-10 contest. There were some anxious moments late as the Jags had a couple of fourth-down conversions on their final drive, but Ellis Lankster effectively ended festivities when he picked off Henne at the NYJ 4 with 15 seconds remaining.
"For whatever reason, we like to make it exciting at the end. Hopefully next week we will have a little bit more room, a little bit more cushion and coast in on for the victory instead of carrying it out like that," said OLB Calvin Pace. "But a win's a win."