- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. | The New York Jets’ stifling defense has made the end zone unfamiliar territory for opposing offenses.

Two games down and no touchdowns allowed. The Jets can’t possibly remain this stingy, could they?

“Hey, the New England Patriots went undefeated during the regular season, so I don’t know,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said with a laugh Monday.

The fact is Rex Ryan’s big-talking, aggressive defense already has caused fits for two high-powered offenses in shutting down Houston 24-7 - the Texans’ only touchdown came on a fumble return off an interception - in Week 1 and New England 16-9 on Sunday. It’s the first time since 1993 that New York didn’t allow an offensive touchdown in consecutive games.

“There’s two ways to handle pressure: either feel it or you apply it,” Revis said. “We want to apply the pressure as a defense.”

That’s exactly what the Jets have done so far, and it has them ranked second in the NFL in total defense. They’re behind only Indianapolis, which still had to play at Miami on Monday night. And they’re doing it without perhaps their best pass rusher in Calvin Pace, suspended the first four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

“This is one of the more talented defenses I’ve played on just across the board,” cornerback Lito Sheppard said. “It seems that everybody’s doing their job and doing it well. When plays are presented for guys to make, we’ve been making them right now. I think that’s the biggest change for me from any defense I’ve been on.”

The Jets kept Tom Brady off-balance for most of the game with 23 combined hits and pressures. They constantly disguised coverages and blitzes out of their 3-4 base defense, and the Patriots quarterback never really had much time to find Randy Moss - or anyone else - downfield. His longest pass was a 29-yarder to Julian Edelman that began as a short toss over the middle.

“That was the key to that game,” Ryan said. “We had to get pressure on him. If you can bring three to get there, great. Four, five, six, seven, eight, whatever it takes. You can’t let Tom Brady be comfortable back there.”

The Patriots went 0-for-3 in the red zone, marking the first time New England had three or more chances inside the 20 and failed to score since 2003.

“Our defense showed a lot of pride, showed a lot of guts keeping New England out of the end zone,” Ryan said. “That’s critical in that type of game. You’ve got to keep them out.”

With Brady given a final chance to tie it and facing a fourth-and-10 from the New England 28, the Jets kept rushing the passer.

“No prevent,” Revis said. “We don’t even have that in our playbook.”

The Jets had no sacks against the Patriots, but Brady was knocked on his back often.

“It’s definitely exciting when you know that you can rattle arguably the No. 1 QB, and we know offenses are going to look at that,” defensive back Donald Strickland said. “Even though we didn’t get a sack, we got 23 hits on him, and we rattled him. He didn’t make the clutch throws that he usually makes. It was definitely exciting. We’re going to take that into the next game.”

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