Lost in the excitement of Jets’ win was absence of defense

Antonio Cromartie.

There’s still work to be done.

Lost in the euphoria of Sunday night’s improbable comeback win over Dallas was the fact that the much-hyped Jets defense had a rocky night. The Jets were victimized by big plays, complete breakdowns and systematic drives.

Even though they walked off the field all smiles following Nick Folk’s 50-yard winning field goal, the Jets conceded 390 yards of total offense to the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo.

That qualifies as sloppy and ineffective play for a unit that two weeks earlier had been touted by head coach Rex Ryan as among the best in the league.

“We made a few mental mistakes that really cost us,” Ryan said. “Quite honestly, Romo made a couple of throws on us — the perfectly thrown ball is almost impossible to defend, and he made a couple of those throws [Sunday] night.”

While that is true, the secondary had no answers for Dez Bryant. Ryan said that Bryant “seemed like he was open the whole night.”

In total, six Cowboys receivers registered multiple catches.

While it is easy to pick on the entire secondary, cornerback Antonio Cromartie emerged as the whipping boy.

“Just the placement of where I was, even on both of the touchdowns. The first one, I just lost the ball, otherwise I just would have jumped in the air if I would have found it,” Cromartie said. “And on the second one, I just have to fight for the ball more and try to [position myself] a little bit better going for the ball.”

Do the Jets have the right pieces?

Corrections might not make up for all of the flaws though.

The secondary looked painfully slow at times and relied too much on big hits instead of being ball hawks. And the linebackers struggled to contain a viable receiving option at tight end.

And with Tom Brady throwing for 517 yards in the Patriots’ Monday night blowout win at Miami, the Jets’ defense better learn the error of their ways fast.

Not every opponent will gift wrap a victory for the Jets as Dallas did in their Sunday night collapse.



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