Jets Defense Saves The Season In Buffalo

Jonathan SzenicsCorrespondent INovember 2, 2008

With all of the talk so far this season about Brett Favre, the Jets offense, and the Jets coaching staff, not much has been said about the defensive efforts of the squad so far. 

After today, that will not be an issue anymore for one of the least talked about units in the NFL

The unit, led by a fumble recovery deep in Buffalo territory in the first quarter, a 92 yard interception return for a touchdown to put the Jets up 13-7, and relentless pressure on Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards throughout the day, was the difference in a surprising 26-17 victory in Buffalo today. 

Many thought that the Jets were bound to be 4-4 after the game, but, somehow, they are 5-3.  Despite a subpar performance from Brett Favre, who won his first career game in Ralph Wilson stadium, a fairly average showing from the offense as a whole, and no game changing plays on special teams, the Jets pulled through, all because of the defense. 

As a result, the season was saved.  Instead of falling to 4-4 and two games behind the Bills, they leapfrogged them in the standings, and depending on the outcome of the Patriots-Colts game later, there could be a three way tie for first at the end of the day, with the Pats in first, followed by the Jets, then the Bills. 

A loss probably would have spelled a wild card chance at best for the team.  Now, a division title is within reach.  At 2-1 in the division after playing each team in the AFC East once, only the Pats have a tiebreaker over them currently, which leaves many doors open down the line. 

Even more importantly, a game that should be won next Sunday at home against the Rams follows.  Assuming that the Jets win, they will be at 6-3 after nine games, with a three game winning streak to their credit, and all the momentum that a team could possibly have in their corner. 

The defense is to thank for all of this, at least today anyway.  With a unit that has experienced an amazing turnaround this season, it saved its best performance for the most important game of the season up to this point.  They played hard, forced three turnovers, countless mistakes, and instead of folding after giving up an opening drive touchdown, they beared down, and punished the Bills for the remainder of the day. 

This is a radical change to the product that was out on the field last season, where, at times, it looked like only an offense was on the field.  The defense can be trusted to make big plays now, and if they do this, along with the normally stellar offensive and special teams units playing up to par, this team can go places, possibly all the way to Super Bowl 43 in Tampa Bay, Florida. 

Will they?  Seven games are left to determine what will happen, but as long as the Jets can make the playoffs, noise could be made come playoff time.