Jets defense starts slow, finishes fast in dominant performance vs. Bears

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The Jets defense prepared for Justin Fields all week, knowing there was a chance they could get Trevor Siemian – who they got, but not before they almost got Nathan Peterman at quarterback for the Bears.

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Didn’t matter, because as they explained, the only difference between the QBs was in the run game…and Fields was the hardest one to defend there, obviously.

“We were preparing for Fields, and the only difference is the run game,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “So nothing changed for us, once Fields was out we were playing a completely different game.”

“If he didn’t play, we were just ready to execute the game plan for whomever stepped on the field,” added linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had the Jets’ first INT by a linebacker since 2020.

Of course, that all said, the Bears came out hot, scoring 10 points on their first two possessions to take a 10-7 lead, and getting the Jets on their heels after their own opening drive touchdown.

“Sometimes it takes a bit to adjust,” Mosley said. “Could’ve been the rain, but nonetheless, we got it going after that one red zone drive where they scored. We woke up after that series, got back to our form, and made some big plays and did a good job executing our game plan.”

“Started a little slow, credit to them with explosives on check downs, but I thought the defense did a nice job settling,” Saleh added. “Our guys have a lot of confidence; Buffalo started fast, too, but the guys hunkered down too. I love that group, they play hard and fast and they’re very smart.”

From there, though, the Jets’ D was unstoppable, forcing a pair of three-and-outs on the Bears’ other two first-half possessions, and then only allowing two first downs total on the Bears’ first three second-half possessions.

“It was just to go back out there with energy and turn up so we can get the ball back to the offense,” Bryce Huff, who had a big third-down sack in the second half, said about the halftime message. “We just had to recoup and settle into our rhythm.”

Of course, the offense helped, as they won time of possession by about four minutes, so the defense never had really had to go right back into the fire after a long drive, and they had given the Jets a 31-10 lead by the time the Bears had another drive of more than four plays.

“Everybody was out there having fun and they kept us off the field for a bit so that’s good,” Mosley said.

Oh, yeah, and about those last two Bears drives? The Jets held on fourth-and-five at their own 27 early in the fourth to turn it over on downs, and then Mosley came up with the pick inside the Jets’ five yard line with just over five minutes to go that iced the game.

“For some reason I decided to run all the way to the other end for no reason, but it was a great feeling,” Mosley laughed. “That’s what we’re trying to do – make plays in the run game, get them into third and long, and make plays.”

There were still things to clean up, like allowing the Bears to run for 127 yards even without Fields, but for the most part, the defense bent but didn’t break.

“Mainly that was (David Montgomery) not wanting to go down,” Mosley said of the lead back’s 79 yards “They have the No. 1 rushing offense and it showed today. They ran to a good level, but when it came to it, we played well and had fun out there today.”

A stark difference from last week, where every minute was tense in a game the Jets lost 10-3 in the final minute – a game the defense felt they should have won.

“We knew we just had to bounce back, and we had a positive mood around the facility,” said Sauce Gardner. “We were pushing each other and were real confident coming in.”

And, while some can point to the fact that five of the Jets’ wins have come against backup quarterbacks this year, they still also beat Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers, too – and to them, it’s not about the name under center, it’s more about playing your game.

“That doesn’t matter at all, you have to go out and execute. Everyone gets paid, so names don’t matter,” Mosley said. “You can lose any day of the week. You have to execute no matter who is on the field and keep your focus. It may bother other people, but we’re the ones on the field that have to play.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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