“I’m definitely never going to forget this moment,” Gardner said, via ESPN. “It’s a tribute to the Jets fans. They put in on my head, the Jets fans. I just had to take it and run with it.”
Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard didn’t take too kindly to the cheesed-up Gardner, knocking the block off the rookie’s head. But the wideout said the move wasn’t meant disrespectfully.
“Sauce, that’s a cool name. It’s just a little competitive spirit,” Lazard said of why he knocked it off. “Nothing too harmful in that aspect or anything. I’m sure he probably would’ve done the same thing if I was wearing a Jets hat or helmet walking off their field, so that’s just the competitiveness in me. No disrespect to him.”
Sauce earned the cheesehead on Sunday, blanketing Lazard and other Packers receivers and frustrating Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense. Gardner allowed one catch for 8 yards on seven targets for a 39.6 passer rating allowed Sunday. Through six weeks, the first-round corner has allowed a passer rating of just 63.6. He also joined Desmond Trufant as the only players since 2000 with at least one pass defensed in each of his first six career games.
The Jets defense dominated for long stretches Sunday, with Quinnen Williams playing like an All-Pro, netting two sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
“He was definitely frustrated,” New York defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said of Rodgers. “That’s what we wanted to see. That’s our objective every week, to piss off every quarterback we line up against in a smart, dominant, violent way. I think we were successful in doing that.”
Gang Green swarmed Rodgers all game, then the rushing attack behind Breece Hall got going in the second half as the Jets turned a 3-3 halftime score into a 27-10 shellacking.
“We believe we can be as great as any team in this league,” Rankins said. “(We’re) showing the rest of this world that this is not just a team you can write off or a team that, ‘Oh, maybe they’ll be good in a few years.’ No, we’re coming to win right now.”