EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Rex Ryan’s message to his defense on Saturday night was pretty simple.
The mandate was to smother rookie quarterback EJ Manuel.
“Go get that guy,” tight end Kellen Winslow said of Ryan’s message in the team meeting the night before the game. “Not in those words but you know what I mean.”
The Jets heeded their coach’s fiery message and practically snacked on Manuel. The Jets sacked the rookie eight times in their 27-20 victory –- the most sacks by the franchise since sacking the Giants' Phil Simms eight times at home on Dec. 18, 1988.
Under constant duress, Manuel completed just 19-of-42 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown. Manuel, who had only been sacked once in his first two games, at times tried throwing the ball up for grabs for a receiver but nowhere close to that receiver to allow him to make a play.
“We knew we would,” Winslow said of the team getting to Manuel. “It’s just how it goes. Inexperienced quarterbacks have to adjust to the pressure. That was our game plan. Just go get him.”
Manuel was hit a total of 16 times. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson collected two sacks. Safety Antonio Allen, linebacker Demario Davis, linebacker David Harris, safety Dawan Landry, linebacker Calvin Pace and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson also all had sacks.
It’s becoming clear that the Jets are going to get their sacks from a variety of ways. So far, nine different Jets have accounted for the 12 sacks this season.
“If we stay healthy, most definitely [we can] be a top defense,” Richardson said of how good this defense can be.
With the Bills trying to come from behind down seven in the fourth, the Jets brought the pressure and sacked Manuel three times in the final 8:43.
Ryan certainly likes to bring the heat on rookie quarterbacks. Perhaps that’s because it has worked for him. Ryan has improved to 6-1 against rookie quarterbacks with Seattle’s Russell Wilson being the only first-year quarterback to beat him.
When asked if the Jets rattled Manuel, Richardson responded with a question of his own.
“I’ll let you answer that,” Richardson said. “How many times was he sacked? Write it down, there it is.”