First win fortifies Jets’ confidence in their defense

The Jets’ offense woke up Sunday, but the defense is the unit that kept the team alive in their 27-24 overtime win over the Titans.

The Jets smothered Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, sacking him seven times and giving up no play longer than 27 yards. When the offense was sputtering early, the defense held the Titans to three field goals. Then it sealed the game with a stop in overtime.

“Huge,” quarterback Zach Wilson said of the defense’s performance. “They’re putting us in positions to win. We’ve seen that in the past couple of weeks. The game’s never over. Those guys are always fighting to the very end. They’re giving everything they have. It’s nice to have a defense that is willing to give everything they have. Coach [Robert] Saleh obviously pushes the all-gas, no-brakes [mentality]. It’s really cool to see those guys come up big in big moments.”

There was a long list of defensive players who had big stops Sunday. C.J. Mosley (13 tackles, 1 sack), Quincy Williams (12 tackles, 1 sack), Quinnen Williams (7 tackles, 2 sacks) and Bryce Hall (0.5 sack, 3 passes defensed) led the way. Javelin Guidry made a huge tackle of Derrick Henry in overtime. Bryce Huff had 1.5 sacks. It was a total group effort from the defense.

C.J. Mosely sacks Ryan Tannehill

“Defense has been spectacular all season,” Saleh said. “The stats don’t do justice to what they’ve been able to accomplish and at all three levels. The D-line was outstanding today. The linebackers were outstanding today. The young DBs play after play after play and through all the adversity.”

The Jets were particularly stingy on third down, holding the Titans to 5 of 19 (26.3 percent) conversions.

“It was going to come down to third down and getting off the field, playing man coverage and doing everything we can to make Tannehill’s life miserable,” Saleh said.

WR Jamison Crowder played his first game of the season and had a big impact. He had seven catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. He had a 11-yard catch in overtime on third down to get the Jets inside the 10 before they kicked a field goal.

“You guys saw it. He’s a security blanket,” Saleh said. “That big third-down conversion in overtime that I thought was going to end up getting us that win. He’s reliable one-on-one separating. When you have one of those security blankets and you know he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be, those guys are priceless.”

CB Brandin Echols left the game with a concussion. … WR Denzel Mims was active for the first time since Week 1 but was not targeted.