09/20/2009 8:39 PM ET
Jets to NFL: Ready or not, here we come
Rex has made the Jets defense one of the NFL's best
The Patriots went home embarrassed and feeling bad about themselves.
|The Jets defense did not allow Tom Brady's offense to score a touchdown Sunday.
Tom Brady might have three rings, but when it comes to trash talking
trash Tweeting), it's Kerry
Rhodes 1, "Talk is Cheap" Brady 0.
What's the 16-9 victory at the Meadowlands mean? The Jets are one of
the handful of championship contenders. They can now lay a convincing
claim for having the best defense in football led by five guys who
will probably be in the Pro Bowl come February (baring injury). And
they seem to have a franchise QB in the making, the second rookie QB
to beat Bill Belichick (Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 being the
Wow, have things changed since January or what?
The key development is that Darrelle Revis is not merely a Pro
Bowl-caliber corner, but a Hall of Fame-caliber corner. Yes, it's
early in his career and yes, I cited the "Loser's Curse" study when the team
traded up for him and also in that same draft for David Harris (only
playing like a young Ray Lewis, as is, by the way, the old Ray Lewis).
But when you shut down the freakishly gifted guys like Andre Johnson
and Randy Moss in consecutive weeks, you prove you are worth more than
any player in football with the exception of actual and putative
And how good does that Texans shutout (they scored a defensive TD) and
Revis shut down of Johnson look now. In Tennessee, Houston posted 357
passing yards and four TDs, including 10 for 149 and two scores from
Meanwhile Eric Mangini, who is presently busy fining guys $1,700 for
not paying wet bar tabs of $3 for water bottles at the team hotel,
wasted Revis by matching him up on Wes Welker -- far from a
game-changing weapon. I know Welker was out on Sunday (but capably
replaced by Julian Edelman, a seventh-round pick from Kent State who's
converting from running back).
But enough about the past. Rex Ryan is the man right now and he's
doing it old school (like his dad) by just harassing QBs on virtually
every passing down.
All the things that were supposed to work for New England didn't. They
were supposed to spread the Jets out better than the Texans. And as
Bill Cowher noted in the pre-game, the no huddle is a great option for
gassing blitzers. But the Jets have talent and depth and will only get
deeper and more versatile when OLB/DE Calvin Pace returns from
suspension after four games.
The Jets have so much faith in their defense that they chose to defer
after winning the toss for the second-straight week, thus giving the
Patriots the ball to start the game. No one does that when weather
isn't a factor. They also played so conservatively in the first half
as opposed to playing frenetically on offense like most teams do
versus New England, as the assumption always is that you will have to
score at least four TDs to win.
But there would be no offense today from Brady. Just three measly
field goals. In the second half, Moss - who said that Revis is the
best corner in football even before this game - wasn't given even a
second look by Brady. And Moss was being single covered for the first
time in his life in organized football, I will guarantee you.
Brady was clearly uncomfortable not being able to dictate to the
defense and having bodies flying around him on half of his 47 mostly
futile pass attempts. But who would be?
Meanwhile, the Jets play calling was tight. The third and 13 draw play
and settling for the field goal before halftime was upsetting in light
of how well Sanchez played in the road opener.
But to start the third quarter, the Jets took the training wheels off
and the results were instant -- two Sanchez completions on a
three-play, 56-yard TD drive including the beautifully thrown TD to
Dustin Keller on a route adjustment in the back of the end zone.
When the team put the Franchez's hands in the second half, he showed
the full package -- arm, feet, accuracy, accuracy on the run and even
toughness in taking a vicious hit while hitting Leon Washington in
full stride for a big play lost when Washington dropped it.
He's also so alert for a rookie. After the TD call on a pass to Chansi
Stuckey where Stuckey clearly did not get both feet down, he was
screaming at the sideline to snap the conversion before the Pats could
challenge. But the coaching staff seemed flatfooted for the one time
The Pats were lost. They had two consecutive delay of games AFTER an
injury timeout to take them out of field goal range. And that would be
their last scoring opportunity. The actual game clock kept running in
this sequence, moving from 5:05 to 3:32 without the Patriots even
getting off a legal snap.
The ending was a thing of beauty, with Rex Ryan throwing out the
coaching manual and blitzing seven on second and 10 and then seven
again on fourth and 10. That's just unheard of in today's game. In the
close ups, Brady's pupils seemed dilated. He's a champion and a future
first ballot Hall of Famer, but he clearly had seen and had enough.
Fearless. Cocky. And clearly so very, very good. You can't believe
what you're seeing, I know. But seeing is believing. The Jets have put
the NFL on notice. Big things are brewing in the Meadowlands.
Michael Salfino is a nationally syndicated columnist and a regular contributor to SNY.tv.