Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
The Jets won their third consecutive game on Sunday, but this was a performance that was very rough around the edges. The Browns gained almost twice as many yards as the Jets (419 to 212) but kept shooting themselves in the foot whenever they had a chance to score.
Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' win over the Browns in week five:
The Jets' run defense continued to struggle, giving up over 140 yards on the ground. However, much of this yardage was attributable to quarterback scrambles and option runs. On non-quarterback runs, the Browns only managed 81 yards on 23 carries.
Once again, the Jets got disappointing contributions from Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, who combined for just four tackles and no quarterback hits or tackles for losses. They're still awaiting their first sack.
Wilkerson did at least spend some time in the backfield this week -- he had two quarterback hits that don't count on the stat sheet due to defensive penalties, one of which was called on him for roughing the passer. He also played a key role in bottling up the key fourth down run in the fourth quarter.
Williams stuffed two runs and chased the quarterback out of the pocket once, but the direct contributions from both of these players remain relatively insignificant, which is all the more surprising given that the team has still been winning games.
With Kony Ealy out this week, the Jets played a lot of 3-4 base and also some packages with seven defensive backs and only one natural lineman in the game.
Nose tackles Steve McLendon and Mike Pennel both held up well at the point of attack, with McLendon in on four tackles -- including a couple of run-stuffs -- and Pennel generating a pressure on a bull rush. Newcomer Ed Stinson also saw action on the line.
Lawrence Thomas, who we were told would only play defense in an emergency, was on the field as a pass-rushing nose tackle for one play, which happened to be Duke Johnson's long touchdown reception.
Demario Davis had a productive game. He only had six tackles this week, but made useful contributions as a pass rusher, picking up a coverage sack and three other quarterback hits on unblocked blitzes.
Darron Lee had his best game of the season so far, with six tackles, including one for a loss. He was flying around making several plays near the line and in coverage, and also generated a pressure on a twist stunt. He did a much better job of limiting his mistakes this week, but that's not to say he was error-free. He had a big third down penalty in coverage, a missed tackle, and a few plays where he got stuck on a block.
At outside linebacker, the Jets only had three players active, so David Bass, Jordan Jenkins, and Freddie Bishop all saw considerable action. Jenkins saw more action than usual coming off the right side, which meant he had to take on Joe Thomas a lot. Nevertheless, he was able to pressure the quarterback a couple of times. Bishop and Bass were mostly ineffective, although Bishop had a crucial fumble-recovery in the red zone and Bass got around the edge once for a pressure.
Rookie Jamal Adams bumped back down to earth this week as he had some rough moments. Isaiah Crowell got past him in the flat for a third down conversion, he had a defensive penalty, and he was picked on a few times in coverage, including on David Njoku's touchdown where the tight end got away with a push-off. Adams also was unable to get off his block on Johnson's huge catch-and-run, although this looked like a hold. He tied for the team lead with nine tackles, though.
By contrast, Marcus Maye had a big moment with his first career interception as he undercut a route to the end zone. Against the run, Maye made a nice play to blow up an end-around, but also had a couple of missed tackles, including one on the Johnson touchdown.
At cornerback, Marcus Williams saw his first snaps of the season due to injuries and was picked on a few times, including on a 3rd-and-long conversion. He also failed to make a tackle on Johnson's touchdown. Tackling remains his biggest weakness.
Buster Skrine held up well in coverage this week and continued to make contributions in the running game, blowing up a run in the backfield.
Morris Claiborne had perhaps the biggest play of the day when he intercepted a third quarter pass and returned it inside the red zone. He broke up one other pass but also had a defensive penalty. He eventually tied for the team lead with nine tackles, which isn't necessarily a good thing for a cornerback. In all, Claiborne was targeted 13 times, with mixed results.
Finally, Terrence Brooks and Rontez Miles saw action in those seven defensive back sets mentioned early. Brooks had one tackle but Miles gave up a first down in coverage, and also missed a tackle on Johnson's touchdown.