Last week Todd Bowles addressed his feelings about the number of No. 1 rankings the Jets had attained after six weeks of the season.
"We don't worry about rankings. We're just trying to score or keep the opponent to one less point so our offense can win the ballgame," the head coach said. "For us, it's about third downs, turnovers, red zone and stopping the run. All the other stuff, we don't worry about."
Well, many of those No. 1 rankings dipped this week due to Sunday's game at New England, but Bowles will definitely not worry about a new top rank the Jets achieved this week: rushing defense.
In holding the Patriots to a Jets-franchise-record 16 yards, the Green & White rose to first in the league in both rushing yards/game (71.5) and rushing yards/attempt (3.4). They last held the yards/game top spot for the first four weeks of last season and last held it this late in the season from Weeks 8-13 in 2013. The Jets also lead with 25 rushing first downs allowed and are tied for the lead in yielding two rushing touchdowns.
Needless to say, the Patriots were complicit in that performance by deciding not to run much — the nine carries also were a franchise low by a Jets opponent.
But that didn't diminish former QB Steve Beuerlein's view of the Jets D during his appearance on NFL Monday QB on CBS Sports Network last night.
"I was impressed with the defense. They were not intimidated at all," Beuerlein said. "It took Tom Brady a while to figure these guys out. The Patriots rushed for a total of 16 yards. You can make the case that they only ran the ball nine times in the course of the game, but the point is that they couldn't run the ball. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady realized that they were going to have to beat them throwing the ball. That's respect."
The Jets' run defense has emerged over a torrid last three games in which the unit has allowed a total of 109 rush yards — 59 to the Dolphins and 34 to the Redskins before the Patriots — which is easily the lowest three-game total in franchise history, ahead of the 125 yards allowed by the 1986 Jets from Games 6-8.
It's possible the defense will face a similar approach by the Raiders, who are led on the ground by third-year tailback Latavius Murray but are 23rd overall in team rush yards. Meanwhile, Derek Carr is hot coming off of his winning road shootout with the Chargers' Philip Rivers and is packing an 11/3 TD/interception margin and a 100.9 passer rating as he dishes to first-round rookie Amari Cooper and seventh-year veteran/first-year Raider Michael Crabtree.
Among the Jets' top-ranked units of a week ago that dropped back: the rushing offense went from 1 to 3, yardage defense from 1 to 2, scoring defense from 1 to 4. But in outgaining the Patriots for the fifth consecutive game, albeit by a thin 372-353 margin, the Jets lead the league for the second week in yardage margin, an average of 95.3 yards/game.
But as Darrelle Revis said Monday, their Patriots experience will help take on the Silver & Black and beyond.
"For the most part, we felt like we played solid," Revis said. "There were a lot of positive things from this game that we can build on. That was the main focus, make the correction from what we did wrong, but also there were a lot of positives that we took out of this game that we can build on for this upcoming week and moving forward in the season."