Jets' opportunistic defense shuts down Colts
INDIANAPOLIS — Darrelle Revis' new team is getting the same results he's always had against Andrew Luck.
The veteran cornerback is still mystifying the young quarterback.
Revis picked off one pass, recovered two fumbles and helped the suddenly opportunistic Jets defense come up with five turnovers again Monday night to help New York pull away for a 20-7 victory at Indianapolis.
"It's Monday night, on a big stage, and we knew what type of game this was going to be," Revis said.
So he delivered a prime-time performance.
Revis' homecoming has been everything New York fans hoped for. With Revis and Antonio Cromartie locking down outside receivers, first-year coach Todd Bowles has been able to rely on his defensive front to stop the run and routinely pressure quarterbacks.
In the opener against Cleveland, New York converted five turnovers into 21 points.
Against the supposedly, high-powered Colts offense, they did it again. The Jets matched that five-turnover total, kept the Colts out of the end zone for three full quarters and never gave Luck a chance to get comfortable. The result: New York is off to its first 2-0 start since 2011.
"The name of the game is turnovers and keeping the score down, regardless of whatever else happens," Bowles said.
Indianapolis (0-2) is keeping its dismal start in perspective.
After starting last season with back-to-back losses, they won five straight.
This time seems different. Luck was 21 of 37 for 250 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and lost one fumble. After a strong start, Frank Gore finished with 15 carries for 57 yards and Donte Moncrief was the only receiver to top the 50-yard mark. Moncrief caught seven passes for 122 yards and Indy's only touchdown.
Part of the problem was Revis and his teammates.
The other problems were self-inflicted. On Monday, Indy was called for 11 penalties, Gore bobbled a handoff at the Jets 1-yard line that Revis recovered in the end zone, Adam Vinatieri missed a 29-yard field goal — the first time he's missed one from shorter than 30 yards since 2007 — and for the first time since 1997, the Colts were shut out in the first half in back-to-back weeks.
Indy has scored just 21 points in eight quarters, and inside the stadium, the fans who roared for Robert Mathis' return and Jeff Saturday's induction into the ring of honor, booed heartily as the mistakes piled up.
"You can't penalize yourself, you can't turn the ball over," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "We have to protect, give him (Luck) a clean pocket. You can't drive the length of the field and put the football on the ground."
The Colts' problems began early.
On Indy's first series, Calvin Pryor intercepted a pass and ran it back to the Colts 9-yard line. Four plays later, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 6-yard TD pass to Eric Decker.
Fitzpatrick finished 22 of 34 for 244 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception — getting his first career win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Fitzpatrick became the first player since 1950 to start five consecutive road games against one team while playing for five different teams. He was 0-4 in the previous starts.
Eric Decker had eight receptions for 97 yards before leaving with a knee injury, and Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 101 yards and one touchdown.
But it was defense that ruled the day.
"All we talk about is trying to dominate as a defense and we take a lot of pride in that," Pryor said. "Our main focus is to come in week in and week-out, bring the intensity, try to dominate as a defense, create turnovers, get the ball back to our offense and let them go execute.
The Jets struggled to put this one away, though.
New York couldn't score again until Nick Folk made a 35-yard field goal late in the first half.
Indy finally got on the board with Luck's 26-yard TD pass to Moncrief with 10:07 left in the game.
Fitzpatrick answered on the next series with a 15-yard TD pass to Marshall and Marcus Gilchrist's late interception set up Folk's final field goal.
"As a secondary we're trying to be the best we can be and be the best secondary unit in the league," Revis said. "That's what we're trying to showcase out there."