Jets Run Defense Dominant in First Win of 2017

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After allowing 370 total rushing yards in the first two weeks, the Jets held the Dolphins to 30 yards on the ground en route to a home-opening 20-6 victory.

"Everybody was where they were supposed to be," head coach Todd Bowles said after the game. "We didn't leave any open gaps, we gang tackled instead of tackling with a single person and we got after it. Everybody communicated."

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, who ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards last season, was held to 16 yards on 11 carries for an average of 1.5 yards per rush.

"He couldn't get anything," Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said of Ajayi. "Guys were in the backfield so fast."

Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis led the way with 12 tackles, three of which were for loss.

"It was great to see him command the defense and still make plays," Bowles said of Davis. "He was thinking a little bit too much earlier in the year, but now he's thinking faster and it's coming easier for him. He did a good job today."

The Jets focused on containing both Ajayi and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who was limited to 48 yards on six receptions.

"Every week you're going to have guys that you have to stop. This week, Ajayi and Landry were the guys we had to stop. Every week it's going to be certain guys that you have to take out of the game or contain. We were able to do that this week."

Top Photos from the Home Opener Against the AFC East Division Rival Dolphins

The Green & White held the 'Fins to 1-12 on third-down (8%) and 0-3 on fourth-down conversions, one of which resulted in a Terrence Brooks interception on a fake punt attempt in the third quarter. As a result of the Jets' early down success, 75% of Miami's third-down attempts were third-and-7 or longer.

"I feel like we all stepped up and did our jobs," said defensive end Kony Ealy. "We did what we were capable of doing, being who we are. That's big when you're playing a run team like them and they can switch it up and go pass at any moment. We had to make them one dimensional."

The defense was dominant as they surrendered 225 yards, 76 of which came on the Dolphins' final possession. Sunday's game marks the 14th time the Jets have held an opponent to under 70 rushing yards since Bowles was named head coach in 2015, the second-highest total in the NFL.  The unit was energetic for all four quarters, often dancing pre-snap and pumping up the Green & White faithful.

"At the end of the day, it's very important we get the home crowd into it," Ealy said. "That's our fan base and we feed off of them. For us to get this first win, I think we owed it a lot to them as much as the staff around here to let them know this is a different team. We have a special group as you witnessed today and we're as good as we want to be when we go out there and play with that kind of effort."

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