Jets DE Kony Ealy recorded a career-high four pass defenses and his second career interception during the Green & White's 26-23 overtime win over the Jaguars. After missing two practices this week following the recent passing of his sister, Ealy was awarded a game ball from head coach Todd Bowles.
Ealy's takeaway came on an impressive athletic effort in the third quarter. The 6'4", 275-pounder jumped up, batted the ball in the air, caught it and returned it to Jacksonville's seven-yard line. Shortly thereafter, Chandler Catanzaro extended the Jets lead to 20-10 on a 26-yard field goal.
"We needed a turnover, period," Ealy said. "We always want to play up. That's our mentality on defense and I just had an opportunity to make a play on the ball."
Bat it in the air. Then pick it.@KonyEaly94 does it all. #JAXvsNYJ pic.twitter.com/qPubo3eVxh — New York Jets (@nyjets) October 1, 2017
The fourth-year veteran, whom the Jets acquired on waivers Aug. 27, recorded a timely PD with 54 seconds remaining in regulation. Ealy knocked down a Bortles pass on third-and -goal from the Jets' 4-yard line that forced the Jaguars to kick a game-tying 22-yard field goal.
"We knew coming into this game that he was going to throw the ball low," he said of Bortles. "We just expected it and practiced for it during the week. That's what happened and the results were in our favor."
Prior to today's Week 4 matchup, Ealy tallied six PDs in his career. According to 360.sportradar.com, he became the seventh defensive lineman in the NFL to record four or more PDs in a game since 2000. After the Jets defense allowed over 400 yards in each of its first two games, the unit has tightened up.
In the Jets' two wins, opposing quarterbacks have completed an average of 51% of their passes for a combined rating of 61.2. Bortles completed just 15 of 35 passes Sunday for 140 yards.
"Just the little things," Ealy said on the biggest difference "The attitude of this football team is different than in past years. We're going out there and we're playing. We're not just talking about it."