Many players had a hand in the New York Jets’ standout defensive performance
The New York Jets’ defense took care of business in Denver. They made sure the Broncos’ offense remained as ugly and stagnant as it has been all year, holding Denver to 9 points despite getting little help from Zach Wilson and the offense.
This was a team effort. Every unit contributed to the performance.
Here are some of the top contributors to New York’s defensive dominance.
CB Sauce Garder and CB D.J. Reed
Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed were easily the Jets’ two best defensive players. New York’s cornerback duo broke up one pass after the next in a shutdown performance.
Gardner and Reed each recorded three passes defended for a combined total of six. Many of those passes were deep down the field, including a breakup by Gardner on a potential game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Gardner is now tied with the Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs for the NFL lead with 11 passes defended this season.
Oftentimes, it felt like the Jets’ coverage bailed out the pass-rush for its inability to get home quickly. The coverage was consistently tight, allowing the pass-rush get home even on plays where they did not get into the backfield all that fast.
Gardner was credited with allowing 4 catches on 10 targets for 16 yards (1.6 yards per target). Reed allowed 5 catches on 9 targets for 50 yards (5.6 yards per target).
It is remarkable how well Gardner has been playing recently. Over his last two games, Gardner has yielded 24 yards on 16 targets (1.5 yards per target). None of those 16 targets resulted in a first down or touchdown. Teams keep trying him and they keep paying for it.
DT Quinnen Williams
Few are talking about how good Quinnen Williams was in this game – which is a sign of how far he has come. This was another fantastic outing from Williams, but we just expect it at this point.
Williams led the Jets with five total pressures, including a crucial quarterback hit that teed up an interception for Lamarcus Joyner. He also had four tackles in the run game, each one stopping the runner shy of the first down marker. To top it all off, he had a pass deflection.
The Jets still aren’t letting Williams play a star-caliber percentage of the snaps. He played just 62% of the defensive snaps in this one, his second-lowest percentage of the year. Granted, the Jets’ defense was on the field a lot, so Williams tied his season-high with 49 snaps despite the dip in his percentage.
LB C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley was active and dependable in this game. He made eight tackles and was not credited with a single missed tackle.
Mosley was also solid in coverage, allowing just 1 catch for 4 yards on 2 targets.
S Jordan Whitehead
After a reckless start to the season, Jordan Whitehead has become much more consistent over the past few weeks.
Whitehead made four tackles against Denver with zero missed tackles. In coverage, he only allowed 1 catch for 4 yards across 4 targets.
D-linemen Bryce Huff, Jacob Martin, and Nathan Shepherd
It was a ho-hum game for the Jets’ starting pass-rushers outside of Williams. Carl Lawson (2 pressures on 37 pass-rush snaps), Sheldon Rankins (2 on 23), and John Franklin-Myers (1 on 27) had their moments but were not super consistent.
However, the Jets got some fantastic pass-rushing efficiency out of their rotational guys.
Bryce Huff contributed three pressures on only 19 pass-rush snaps (15.8% pressure rate), including a half-sack shared with Lawson. Additionally, Huff had a third-down stop in which he chased down Brett Rypien on a scramble and halted him one yard shy of the marker.
Jacob Martin collected three pressures on 12 pass-rush snaps (25.0%). Nathan Shepherd tossed in two pressures on 14 pass-rush snaps (14.3%).