In the season opener, Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, shut down the most prolific tight end in history by jamming at the line with two players. They held him to three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.
The New England Patriots used the same technique in the final minute of last Sunday night's game. The Falcons, down by a touchdown, had four shots from the Patriots' 13-yard line, but they failed to score. On three of the four plays, they double-jammed Gonzalez at the line. It was pretty remarkable; he was like a gunner being doubled on punt coverage. On the one play he wasn't doubled at the line, the Patriots used a two-man, bracket coverage -- an incomplete pass to Gonzalez.
Gonzalez finished with a career-high 149 yards, but he couldn't deliver in crunch time. The Falcons' red-zone woes continued, and they lost, 30-23.
Asked about the Gonzalez coverage on the final drive, Rex Ryan smiled.
"I certainly saw it against New Orleans as well," he said. "I saw that coverage. [The Patriots] might have seen it, too. So I think I'll give my brother credit for that one first."
Ryan doesn't have fond personal memories of Gonzalez. In the 14th game of the 2009 season, Gonzalez caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the final minute, lifting the Falcons to a 10-7 win. Afterward, Ryan infamously proclaimed the Jets had been eliminated from playoff contention. He can laugh about now because they made it and reached the AFC Championship Game.
"I knew we'd make the playoffs that year," he joked. "It kind of worked out for us. Another guarantee that I made that never came out.
ICYMI: The Jets are dealing with a handful of key injuries. On Thursday, WR Santonio Holmes, WR Stephen Hill, CB Dee Milliner and RB Chris Ivory didn't practice. Officially, no one has been ruled out, but Holmes is out for sure. Hill and Milliner are not expected to play. Ivory probably is less than 50-50. ... Tone being Tone: "I can't throw it to myself and catch it. Otherwise, I would." You get that? ... One last time, Ryan talks about the color-coded wrist band that won't see the light of day. ... As expected, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples will appeal their fines for the hit on Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker. ... Check out the Week 5 "Gang Green Report," with insider stuff on Jets-Falcons.