TOJ’s In The Trenches: New York Jets Defensive Line Review, Week 17

In our weekly In The Trenches series, we’ll focus on the performances of the Jets’ offensive and defensive lines throughout the season. In this edition, Dan discusses the performance of the defensive line in the Jets’ week 17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. and preview their week 18 matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

Week 17 Summary

The defensive line sneakily had probably one of their best showings against a good offensive line this season. They didn’t have gaudy numbers but they lived in the backfield and they helped shut down the few carries they saw from the Bucs in the run game. It’s good to see that this unit can compete with the best. That should signal good things for next year, with a healthy, improved group.

Run Defense

The Bucs finished with 62 yards on 21 carries for an average of 3 yards per carry. The Jets finally put an end to their streak of games with 100+ rushing yards allowed and the defensive line had a nice impact in that. C.J Mosley and the support were flowing faster and that properly complimented the defensive line. In particular, Foley Fatukasi was incredible. He’s now 4th in run stop win rates amongst IDLs. As a unit, the Jets’ defensive line is 7th in run stop win rate.

Pass Rush

The Jets pass rush was a bit better than the numbers indicate. They finished with 1 sack and 4 QB hits against the Bucs. They were winning up front but the Bucs were getting the ball out quickly. They didn’t get as much pressure as they would’ve wanted in the 4th quarter, particularly on the Buc’s game winning drive. The Jets are now squarely in the middle of pack at 16th in team pass rush win rate. So they improved 2 spots since last week.

Week 18 Preview

The Jets final game of the season is on the road against the Buffalo Bills. In their first matchup, the Bills offense blew the Jets defense out of the water. 260 rushing yards allowed and nearly 500 yards of total offense. The Bills used plenty of misdirection and creative play designs, but the Jets weren’t even stopping the simple plays. It will be interesting to see how the Jets coaching staff adjusts their game-plan in this second meeting. One difference to expect is that the Jets offense should look much better than that first meeting. That should give the defense and in particular the defensive line, time on the sideline to keep fresh.

The Bills have a strong offensive line. They’re 7th in pass block win rate, they’re 9th in run blocking (adjusted line yards) and 3rd in adjusted sack rate. The only statistic they’ve shown weakness in is run block win rate in which they are 18th. It could be a deceiving ranking, though, given how much misdirection this teams uses on offense. It’s also the area the Jets defensive line excels in (team run block win rate). This really just means if the Jets defensive line is playing aggressive and focusing on getting in the backfield and not getting caught in a bind, they also really need a strong performance from the linebackers and the secondary in cleaning up what they leave behind. The Jets put up a good effort last week against the 2nd best scoring offense in the NFL but the Bucs were beat up. The Bills are 3rd best scoring offense and are healthier. This will be a big challenge.