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Despite being heavy underdogs, the Jets gave a solid account of themselves this week, exploiting some sloppy play from the Saints to make Sunday's game competitive deep into the fourth quarter. In the end, the Saints' offensive playmaking abilities were too much for the Jets to keep up with, but at least they quieted those critics who had been saying they'd get blown out again.
Let's review the defensive performance from Sunday's loss:
The Jets were without Muhammad Wilkerson this week, and then lost Leonard Williams midway through the third quarter. Despite this, they had held the Saints to a respectable total on the ground, until Mark Ingram's clinching 50-yard run with 1:33 to go.
However, the pass rush was completely ineffective with no sacks and only one quarterback hit.
Before he departed, Williams made some good contributions with five tackles, including some run stuffs, and a slick interception. However, he was pancaked by a double team on one play, missed a tackle and only pressured Drew Brees once.
With Williams out, Xavier Cooper basically had to play full-time for most of the second half, and he was in on a few stops. Earlier in the game, it was Cooper's hit on Brees that set up the Williams interception.
Steve McLendon got some good penetration up front and also created pressure a few times and drew a hold. Mike Pennel also made some good plays against the run but he was driven off the line a few times and had a costly unnecessary roughness penalty.
Kony Ealy had yet another quiet game with the only direct pressure he had coming as he got a free release on a screen pass.
Darron Lee had a productive first half with six tackles, including one for a loss. But he only had one tackle in the second half, and was blocked out of several running plays, perhaps as a by-product of the missing personnel upfront. He also missed two tackles and got beaten on an Alvin Kamara touchdown catch, although he made a couple of nice plays in coverage too.
Next to Lee, Demario Davis made a few plays including a loud hit in the hole, but this was one of his quieter games overall. He ended up with seven tackles, but no real impact plays and it looked like he got lucky in coverage once or twice.
Jordan Jenkins had three tackles and a fumble recovery, but he also had a missed tackle, an illegal use of the hands penalty, and gave up a first down in coverage.
Josh Martin got the start again this week but had a quiet game. He dropped into coverage more than usual this week and was exploited a couple of times.
Off the bench, David Bass was in on a couple of run stops but didn't make much impact as a pass rusher.
Reserves Julian Stanford and Obum Gwacham saw brief action off the bench.
There was some good playmaking in the secondary this week with Buster Skrine and Jamal Adams each forcing fumbles that led to turnovers, with Skrine also making a recovery.
Skrine had one of his best games of the year with two good plays in coverage, including a diving pass break-up. He was also in on a couple of running plays. However, his missed tackle on the clinching Ingram touchdown was costly. Adams also made some good plays against the run and ended up as the team's leading tackler, although he also had two missed tackles.
Morris Claiborne fared better in coverage this week, although he gave up one first down in coverage and there was another play where there was a mix-up between him and safety Marcus Maye. Claiborne also found himself blocked out of three plays down the field, including Ingram's long catch-and-run on the opening drive.
Maye was in on a couple of run stops but got lucky when he was beaten deep for a touchdown and the replay booth overturned it because the receiver didn't get both feet down.
Darryl Roberts was benched this week, as Juston Burris surprisingly moved back into the starting line-up ahead of both Roberts and Rashard Robinson. Burris held up quite well, but there was one play where he dropped too far off, giving up an easy 3rd-and-long conversion.
Roberts and Robinson ultimately didn't get any reps. It will be interesting to see who gets the lion's share of these reps over the rest of the season.