The only way to stop a Top 10 offense in the NFL is being in sync on defense for 60 straight minutes. Though no one saw it coming, the Jets really did just that in their upset win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Yes, the second half proved to be trying for Gang Green, as it looked like they were going to blow another lead with the Rams finally seeming like their normal selves. But the Jets came up with the big stops and got the job done.
What was most impressive about the defense’s performance was pass coverage, an area the Jets have struggled in all season. The Rams are a team (after Sunday’s loss) that still averages 255.4 passing yards per game under Jared Goff at quarterback. The Jets, however, held him to 209 yards on the day with an interception and two touchdown passes.
For Goff, that’s a mediocre stat line. Thanks to Pro Football Focus, we can see that the Jets were making it tough on Goff’s receivers to make plays. And for Jets fans, it should be encouraging because it was the young guys making it happen.
Rookie Bryce Hall led the Jets in overall grade on defense with an impressive 87.7. He was terrific in coverage at 89.8, holding the likes of Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and Josh Reynolds to two receptions on four targets for 13 yards total. The slot is also where the Rams excel, but Javelin Guidry stepped up with just 29 yards on four catches (five targets) for an overall 77.2 coverage grade.
And then there’s Marcus Maye, who made the biggest play of them all in pass coverage. On fourth-and-four, the Rams decided to go deep to Gerald Everett and Maye made a great leap and swat to knock the ball on the ground and lead the Jets to victory. His overall coverage grade was set at 74.8, allowing just 25 yards on 3-of-4 passes his way.
The Jets were also getting pressure on Goff, which led to some inaccurate passes. Quinnen Williams had himself a day before he suffered a concussion, owning a 87.4 overall grade and 79.0 in pass rush. He had one sack and one hurry to go along with three tackles. LA’s offensive line, though, allowed 15 total pressures on the day.
It was a tremendous performance by the defense no matter which way you put it, and credit to them for stopping an offense that ranks eighth overall in the league in yards per game right now. Sean McVay is an obvious genius on that side of the ball, but Frank Bush in just his second game as defensive coordinator managed to get the right play calls in and the players did their jobs.
Like Adam Gase said, these guys deserved this win, and the numbers prove the defense certainly deserves a tip of the cap.