Sunday's 38-20 win over the Miami Dolphins was led in part by superb contributions from the New York Jets defense.
S Calvin Pryor delivered a crushing blow early in the first quarter on Dolphins wideout Rishard Matthews, who left the game. That blast sent shock waves throughout MetLife Stadium.
"People are saying that," said Pryor about that hit setting a tone for the game. "I would hope so. I think it's trying to bring that energy to our defense and trying to be a leader out there."
For the first time this season, the secondary lined up without All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was out after sustaining a concussion last week against the Texans.
But with the depth and talent in the Jets backfield, head coach Todd Bowles' theory of the next man up gave CB Marcus Williams the opportunity to start. Williams would give the Jets offense a spark by intercepting a Ryan Tannehill pass intended for WR Kenny Stills early in the first quarter.
Williams left the game at the end of his interception return with a knee injury, but with his team-leading fifth interception on the season, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense would strike first on a 12-play, 72-yard drive for a touchdown.
The Jets defense led the way for 10 points off of turnovers against the 'Fins during the game.
"We played more basic on defense," said Bowles. "We know we have good football players. We don't have to help them too much. They know how to play together."
The Jets held the Dolphins to 0-for-6 on third-down conversions in the first half and 4-for-15 in the game as well as holding the 'Fins rushing attack to 12 yards on nine attempts.
"We brought some pressure at times and stopped the run early in the down," said Pryor. "That's what creates long third downs and that's what we wanted. Coach called a game today for us to go out there and stop what they were doing."
"We knew coming in that they were a good rush defense team," said Tannehill. "I thought we'd get more than 12, but we knew it was a good rush defense team and they did a good job."
Along with canceling the Dolphins running game, the Jets' defensive front took Tannehill to the turf on two occasions. Muhammad Wilkerson notched his eighth sack of the season in the second quarter, and late in the fourth quarter Sheldon Richardson executed a strip sack, with rookie linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin grabbing the first fumble recovery of his pro career.
"We played Jets football today," said Richardson. "That's something we try to do every game. Usually when we stop the run, we have games like this. We were able to cause turnovers. I finally caused one. Just great team ball."
With the win over the Dolphins, the Jets move to 6-5, right in the AFC playoff hunt as December rolls around.
"Everything we want is right in front of us," said Pryor. "We just have to keep winning, control our own destiny, and hopefully something good happens."