Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Head Coach
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed clamped down on the Baltimore Ravens

The main silver lining from the New York Jets‘ 24-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was the performance of their defense. Against an offense that was considered to be a massive schematic mismatch, the Jets defense performed admirably, holding the Ravens to 274 yards of offense.

Many players contributed to the effort, but one particular duo served as the primary driving force: starting cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed.

Gardner and Reed provided dominant coverage in their first game as a duo. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson achieved almost no success when targeting one of the Jets’ starting corners.

Reed allowed 0 completions on 6 targets in his direction. That was the most targets without an allowed reception of any cornerback in the NFL this week; no other corner saw more than two targets without giving up a catch. Reed also recorded an interception and a forced fumble.

Gardner was targeted 3 times and allowed 1 catch for 8 yards. The rookie accomplished this while taking on some tough assignments. In many instances, Gardner would play man-to-man coverage against star tight end Mark Andrews. Andrews finished with zero catches on two targets against Gardner’s coverage. That includes a stellar pass breakup by Gardner on a pass to Andrews in the end zone.

When you combine their numbers, Reed and Gardner were the NFL’s best cornerback duo in Week 1 without debate.

Here are some of Reed and Gardner’s combined metrics and where they ranked out of all NFL starting cornerback duos in Week 1:

  • Yards allowed: 8 (1st)
  • Catches allowed: 1 (1st)
  • Air yards allowed: 4 (1st)
  • Yards per target allowed: 0.9 (1st)
  • Yards per cover snap allowed: 0.11 (1st)
  • Overall stat line: 1/9 passing for 8 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT over 70 combined cover snaps

The Jets have invested a lot of capital into this tandem. Reed was paid handsomely this offseason, signing a three-year, $33 million contract with $10.5 million guaranteed. Gardner was selected with the fourth overall pick in the draft, making him the highest-drafted cornerback in franchise history.

This lethal performance against Baltimore is exactly what the Jets envisioned when they paired these talented corners together.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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6 months ago

Glad to see that we got a great duo at the CB position….safeties anyone?

6 months ago

Lethal is a Great word! Another performance like this and these guys will need a nickname! Just extend This season! Glad the defense showed up! Hear me offense?

6 months ago

Great start for the duo hopefully they keep it up as the WRs get better.