Jets grounded by Saints D

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

It took 54 minutes for the New Orleans Saints to score an offensive touchdown yesterday.

But in cementing their legitimacy as a budding NFL powerhouse, that was a good thing.

It was the Saints defence that stood out in an impressive 24-10 win over the New York Jets, one of the other riveting stories in this young NFL season.

The Saints offence met its match yesterday, but on their way to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1993, the defence schooled hotshot rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and erased any doubt they may be one dimensional.

Darren Sharper got it started with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown. And later in the first quarter, Will Smith forced a fumble in the Jets end zone for another.

Gregg Williams, the one-time Buffalo Bills head coach, is the architect of a defence that is giving the Saints the balance the most serious contenders need. And they have become a turnover machine.

So on a day when Saints quarterback Drew Brees was held to 190 yards and no touchdowns, it hardly mattered.

Wake-up call

After being inactive for the first two weeks, the CFL's two-time defensive player of the year, Cameron Wake, made a smashing impact for the Miami Dolphins in their 38-10 pounding of visiting Buffalo.

The former B.C. Lion, who also was the CFL's outstanding rookie, sacked Bills QB Trent Edwards on the opening series, the first of his fledgling NFL career and one of three on the day.

It was more than a former CFL star that made life miserable for the embarrassing Bills, who are now 1-3 and on the fast track to another forgotten season. Edwards was horrible, throwing three interceptions and Terrell Owens was a non-factor again after being held to three catches for 60 yards.

Not done yet

In the best early game of relevance, the Patriots showed they aren't ready to surrender the AFC belt to Baltimore just yet.

New England hung on for a 27-21 win when the Ravens' Michael Clayton let a fourth-down pass from Joe Flacco rebound off his chest on the Pats' eight with 28 seconds left.

But that wasn't the only thing to go the Patriots (3-1) way. The Ravens (3-1 as well) fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to a field goal. Flacco was picked off in the end zone to conclude the first half and the aggressive defence was flagged with two roughing the passer penalties at crucial times.

Despite defections and injuries, the New England defence did its part and now the Patriots have a share of the AFC East lead with the Jets.

Forget the Titans

In one of the most notable tumbles in recent seasons, the team with the best record a year ago is a wreck.

The Tennessee Titans, with a league best 13-3 in 2008, are 0-4 and full measure for it. In parts of yesterday's 37-17 loss to Jacksonville, the Titans looked like they had packed it in. Who knew the departure of Bart Andrus to the Argos would have such an effect?

Only one team in NFL history has opened 0-4 and made the playoffs. And next up is a date with the Colts, another 4-0 team that made it look easy again with yesterday's win over Seattle.

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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