While it was the fourth down interception by Rontez Miles that will be remembered as perhaps the biggest defensive play of Sunday's game, it's possible the one Calvin Pryor made just before half time was even bigger.
Odell Beckham looked set to come down with a touchdown catch that would have given the Giants a 24-10 lead, but Pryor was able to come over and knock the ball loose, forcing the Giants to settle for a field goal. Remember, the Jets won 23-20 in overtime, so 24-10 might have been an insurmountable deficit.
Pryor also batted a pass into the air, which might have been a pick-six if it bounced a little more kindly for him. He did miss a tackle and got blocked out on a screen pass, though. In addition, it seemed like he might have at least partially been at fault for a mix-up in zone defense that saw Will Tye left uncovered for a big play. Even so, Pryor has continued to be a lot more consistent this year, while also sprinkling in some impact plays.
Miles was forced into extended action because Pryor suffered a stinger, and he came up big with the interception. That wasn't his only positive contribution, though, as he made a couple of stops in the running game and almost intercepted another tipped pass.
He was the closest defender on one downfield completion that looked like another mix-up in zone coverage, but otherwise held up well. When Beckham almost got deep for an over-the-shoulder catch, he was in position to level him with a big hit, but showed good discipline to bail out and avoid a potential penalty after Beckham didn't make the catch.
Marcus Gilchrist didn't fare quite so well, as Beckham blew past him in the open field for the Giants' second touchdown. He also gave up a couple of big catches in zone coverage, although one was negated by a penalty. Gilchrist did make one big play, with an open field tackle on a running play to prevent a much bigger gain.
Most of the pre-game focus was on the corners with both Marcus Williams and Darrelle Revis out, and they had mixed results. Once again, Antonio Cromartie had one of his better games with Revis out of the lineup.
Cromartie almost intercepted two passes and was in a good position on two other incompletions, he also made a crucial stop at the goal line before the Jets stuffed the Giants on third-and-short to force them to settle for a field goal. He did give up one first down, but otherwise held up well in coverage. I did detect a bit of a momentary loaf on the Beckham touchdown, though, which prevented him from having a chance to catch him in the open field.
Buster Skrine was the other starter, showcasing his versatility in terms of an ability to play both outside and inside. As previously noted, he was involved in, if not responsible for, the coverage mix-up on the Beckham touchdown.
In direct coverage, he gave up a couple of first downs, including one on fourth down in overtime. However, he was also in good position on a couple of other interceptions. He did get called for pass interference once and was perhaps lucky it wasn't twice.
Darrin Walls was the third corner, playing most of the game with Skrine reverting to the slot when he entered. Walls only gave up one short catch and also came up to make an open field stop at the line of scrimmage on a short pass. However, he also had a missed tackle, a holding penalty and two plays where he was beaten but lucky that the pass wasn't on target.
Surprisingly, the Jets didn't use any dime packages at all, so Dexter McDougle and Dee Milliner didn't get any reps on defense.
Next up…for a while, it looked like the Jets special teams would cost them another game, but they just about overcame more struggles on that unit…