When a pitcher in baseball throws a shutout in his first eight innings and then gives up a homerun in the ninth to lose 1-0, he usually does not get much of the blame for the loss. He did better than anybody could have imagined. He would have won the game had the offense done almost anything. The defense of the Jets finds itself in a similar situation after last night's game. They failed to get the big stop to win the game.
I understand the thought that they need to get a big stop in crunch time. Do they really deserve much blame, though? Maybe Eric Smith does for losing contain and being too reckless to perform his responsibility.
Take this into account, though. The defense was really responsible for that touchdown at the end. Denver was set up on the edge of field goal range on T.J. Conley's shanked punt. The Jets held them to a field goal. The other Broncos points were because of Mark Sanchez's interception. The Broncos started five times with the ball in New York territory and only got those three points off the Conley punt. The defense was not just keeping the Broncos off the board. It was preventing Denver from moving the ball.
The real issue was the offense scoring thirteen points and giving seven of those back. With even an adequate offensive showing, that game is not even close. The defense is not in a position of having to make a play in a game where it was otherwise close to flawless. It should have come to it. The defense did such a good job the rest of the game that the Jets would have won handily most weeks. We would have been praising it as dominant had the offense come close to doing its job.
The unit probably deserves a bit of the blame, but put the biggest portion where it belongs, on the offense.