We like to complete our charting of a just-concluded season in part to see what interesting numbers might jump out. Such as this one, which shows that the Jets' outstanding defense in 2022 wasn't just top 10 in the NFL, wasn't just top five, but was indeed No. 1. At least in one important statistic.
That stat is opposing offenses' touchdown drive rate. The Jets held offenses in their 17 games to TDs on just 15.1% of their drives, and that was the very best in the league for the recently concluded regular season.
Not only did the Green & White beat out Denver (16.2%), Dallas (16.2%) and San Francisco (16.9%) for the top spot, but they got even stingier after yielding 12 TDs in their first four games, all against the AFC North. Over their final 13 games, they allowed TDs on a miserly 11.7% of their drives.
Further, the Jets' 15.1% rate is not only No. 1 this season but it's the fourth-best rate in the NFL over the last five seasons. Here are the top five defenses in this area from 2018-22:
|Defense||Season||Opps Drvs||Opps TDs||TD Drv %|
Are there things to improve on for the Jets D? Of course. The rushing defense was tied for 16th in yards/game, their 12 interceptions were tied for 19th, their 16 total takeaways were 29th, and the third-down defense was 11th. But as Robert Saleh said in his wrapup of 2022:
"We do have a top-five defense. And I'm pretty sure 90 percent of them are coming back. Hopefully it's 100 percent. Obviously, free agency has to do with some of that."
Snapping To It
Connor McGovern was the rock during a rocky season on the offensive line. The Jets center, in his third season in the offensive pivot, finally achieved an O-lineman's dream: He played every one of the Jets' 1,114 offensive snaps.
McGovern has been close before but sat out 20 snaps in 2020 and missed the last two games of last season. And a couple of linemates have also come close. Laken Tomlinson got 1,112 snaps and missed only two plays, middrive and midgame against Chicago, in his first season as the Jets' starting LG. And Alijah Vera-Tucker, as the rookie starting RG in '21, got to 1,026 snaps. missing only 60 snaps.
McGovern's feat makes him the first Jets OL in four seasons to play every down of every game for the Green & White. The last linemen to do it were RG Brian Winters and LT Kelvin Beachum at 1,001 snaps in 2018. And it's the most snaps in a season for a Jets O-lineman since LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson had an unofficial count of 1,121 snaps in the 2010 RS.
See all of the top images from the Green & White's 2022 season.
Tight Ends Catching Up
On one hand, it didn't feel as if the tight ends were as huge a part of the passing game as it seemed they would be when the Jets signed unrestricted free agents Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah and drafted Jeremy Ruckert.
But it was a good season for the TEs nonetheless, compared to the TE classes of recent seasons. The Jets' tights, led by Conklin's 58 catches for 552 yards and three TDs, combined with Uzomah (21 catches) and Ruckert (his first pro catch for 8 yards in the season finale at Miami) for 80 receptions — the position's most in a regular season since 1995.
In that '95 season, Johnny Mitchell (45), Kyle Brady (26), Fred Baxter (18) and Tyrone Davis (1) had 90 catches. That crew and the '88 tight ends of Mickey Shuler (70), Billy Griggs (14) and K.D. Dunn (6) share the single-season mark for Jets TEs since 1970. Ninety catches: a good target for next season's TE group, which could look very similar to this year's crew?
LB Quincy Williams led the Jets again in tackles for loss/no gain and tackles for loss. Last year he had unofficial totals of 16.0 tackles including tackles at the line of scrimmage, 10.5 for loss only. This season, Williams came in with 14.5 TFL/NG and again with 10.5 TFLs. These are unofficial totals because both TFL categories contain tackles on rushes and receptions.
Quincy becomes the first Jet to lead the defense in these stats in consecutive years since old friend and newyorkjets.com analyst Bart Scott did the same from his LB post in 2009 and '10. Marvin Jones led the Jets in tackles at/behind the line five times, including twice in a row twice, in 1996-97 and again in 2000-01.
Another back-to-backer showed up in another of our favorite categories, tackles on third/fourth downs to prevent first-down conversions. That would of course by middle 'backer C.J. Mosley, who followed last season's 16 crunch-down tackles with 18 tackles this season. Eighteen is unofficially the most by any Jets defender since we began charting these key tackles in 1997. The other 18ers: Jonathan Vilma in 2005 and David Harris in '09.