Rex Ryan's defense was exposed by the gridiron gumshoe called the Cold, Hard Football Facts on Friday.
More importantly, its criminally misleading storyline was exposed by the Dolphins on Monday, in Miami's 31-27 win over the Jets that was capped by a spirit-crushing 70-yard game-winning drive in the final minutes.
With a chance to live up to the hype, the Jets defense fell down on its face.
It allowed the Dolphins and their alternating cast of snap-takers to not only march 70 yards for the winning touchdown, but to milk the clock like a docile old dairy cow. Miami weaned all but three of the final 305 seconds off the board on their last possession. All four of the players in Miami's "wildcat" ensemble took snaps on the drive: Chad Henne, Pat White, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, the player around whom the wildcat growls.
In fact, our staff uncovered this grainy, top-secret video that shows Rex Ryan's defense committing one fraudulent act after another: getting gashed up the middle in the run game, failing to put pressure on the quarterback, and getting beat long over the middle of what looks like a 10-deep zone.
show video here
Brown took a shotgun snap and plunged in for a 2-yard score to end the final drive and end the short-lived, New York-media manufactured myth of the greatness of the Rex Ryan defense (and it's always "Rex Ryan's defense" ... kind of like how, in the media, Minnesota's quarterback is always "BrettFavre
"The ability of Rex Ryan's defense to get after the quarterback is definitely overstated in the mainstream pigskin press ... the Jets rank a mere 28th in forcing negative pass plays ... the Jets are also 19th against the run, surrendering 4.22 YPA ...The Jets are probably a bit better in the eyes of the public than they are in reality."
All of it came to pass on Monday night:
The Jets failed to record a sack or an interception against traditional quarterback Henne (26 attempts) or even against Brown (two pass attempts). Last we checked 0 for 28 represented a success rate of 0 percent at forcing Miami into negative pass plays
The Jets were also gashed for 151 yards on 36 rushing attempts – an average of 4.19 YPA that was a near perfect statistical match for the 4.22 YPA they had surrendered during the first four games.
It was Henne's performance that probably most exposed the Rex Ryan defense. In just his second NFL start, the second-year quarterback looked anything but impressed by the Jets defense. He completed 20 of 26 (76.9%) for 241 yards, 9.27 YPA, 2 TD, 0 INT and a sparkling 130.45 passer rating.
Of course, you wouldn't have known that New York's defense, while certainly improved this year, had actually struggled in several key areas if you got your news from the dinosaur press.
The Jets are "swagger-licious" and, stop us if you heard this before, they're having "fun" out there, wrote one big-city reporter
as recently as last week. And we all know how important it is for teams to have "swagger" in their step and "fun" on the field.
The New York papers breathlessly reported this season that the "Jets take on the persona of (their) head coach." Apparently, they did: they were out of shape and out of gas by game's end.
The New Jersey papers in the early days of the season gushed about "Rex Ryan's deceptive, unorthodox defensive schemes
" even though we find, later in the story, from Jets linebacker Bart Scott, that every defense in the NFL "runs the same stuff." But a story about "Rex Ryan's tired old copycat defensive schemes" wouldn't sell papers to hopeful Jets fans.
Even sideline reportress Michelle Tafoya couldn't resist. Her postgame interview with Henne began like this: "With all the talk about the Jets defense ..."
The inexperienced Henne must have chuckled inside. If this was a defense to fear, then he must be the world's next great quarterback.
One report this season even lauded the Jets for pressuring quarterbacks even if they're not actually sacking him. That'd be nice ... if it resulted in interceptions or some other noticeable benefit for the defense.
But so far, the pressure has not provided the intended results. All the "deceptive" and "unorthodox" schemes, all the players darting back and forth along the line of scrimmage is so far shaping up as little more than defensive window dressing.
Here are the Cold, Hard Football Facts. Through Week 5 the Jets rank:
But it's safe to say that the hype and promise of the summer has faded here in the autumn. The Jets have given up an ever-growing number of points each week this season:
- 7 in the opener against the otherwise very good Houston offense (Jets won, 24-7)
- 9 in Week 2 against the Patriots, a very big win and the game that seemed to feed the hype about Rex Ryan's Defense (Jets won, 16-9)
- 17 in Week 3 to the winless Titans (Jets won, 24-17)
- 24 in Week 4 to the unbeaten Saints (Jets lost, 24-10), though it must be noted that the high-powered Saint offense was held to just 10 points, while two defensive scores for New Orleans paced the victory.
- 31 in Week 5 to the sub-.500 Dolphins (Jets lost, 31-27)
We know the findings of our gridiron detectives conflict with the media storyline. But here are the findings: if Rex Ryan's Defense doesn't find ways to pressure the quarterback and stop the run, the Jets are not going very far in this year of hope and hype.
In fact, at this rate, we'll probably find that "Rex Ryan's Jets" are just another version of the dreaded "Same Old Jets" lamented by New York football fans for four decades.