As expected, he didn't play every snap - Jaiquawn Jarrett rotated in for four plays and the Jets had just one safety in on three others - and he wasn't constantly in the box, but he had one of his most productive games with a team-leading and career-high 10 tackles.
Most encouragingly of all, there were no real examples of him taking a bad angle and his tackling was extremely consistent. He also gave up just 15 yards on six targets in coverage.
Other than almost getting beaten on the first play, Pryor did get beaten for one other first down and there was a play where the Jets were lucky not to be punished on which it was obvious from the way Demario Davis reacted that Pryor was out of position in coverage. So, there's still some room for improvement, but this was a definite step in the right direction.
If Jarrett is going to push Pryor for more reps, he didn't help himself here. Initially on the field with one of the nickel packages, Jarrett collided with Darrelle Revis and then slipped over in coverage to give up a first down. He then wasn't able to get over on the deep throw for the Browns' touchdown. On that particular play, Antonio Cromartie obviously expected help from the inside and on the other side of the field the Jets had two players matched up with slot receivers that blitzed so the safety on the other side came up to pick up one and a linebacker ran across from the right side of the formation to pick up the other. Jarrett should probably therefore have taken a deeper drop, but it's possible Cromartie was the one who missed a sign. Either way, Cromartie had no chance to recover once he basically passed off the receiver to the inside.
Other than that play, Cromartie wasn't really tested. He did have the fumble recovery in the end zone and there was a scramble where he overpursued badly in the open field. News is just breaking that his apparent season-ending injury is nowhere near as bad as first thought and he might even be able to play on Monday, which is incredible considering how ugly that looked.
Either way, the Jets probably regret using the IR-DFR designation on Dee Milliner because if they didn't then Milliner could fill in as soon as he is ready (which would presumably be before week 10 which is the earliest he can return at the moment). You don't have to use that designation on the day after cut-downs. A guy like Milliner being on IR longer than he needs to be and in a situation where he could be useful is not the reason the rule was introduced, but teams are abusing it as a way to keep young players from being exposed on the practice squad and that's disappointing. Had they taken the risk with Jarvis Harrison or Deon Simon, neither of whom were that impressive in preseason, then that designation would still be available now for a guy like Lorenzo Mauldin or Cromartie himself.
In other news, it was somewhat surreal to witness the return of a Jets icon and almost felt like he'd never been away as he got a massive ovation and helped spur the Jets to another big win. That's enough about Fireman Ed though, how do we feel about the return of Darrelle Revis?
By his standards, it wasn't his best game, as he gave up three first down catches on six targets, had another first down dropped, got credit for breaking up a short pass that was actually caught but never reviewed and had a pass dropped while in coverage. Still, he nearly scored on a fumble return, was in good position on another incompletion and two of the first downs he gave up were a little unfortunate as he slipped on one and the other came as the Jets blitzed six and it got picked up perfectly, giving the quarterback extra time to find the receiver working back to the ball. I still need to see him in a match-up with a viable number one receiver, which the Browns lack.
The other starter, Marcus Gilchrist, didn't have a massive impact but still racked up six tackles, including one on third down to force a punt. He did get blocked out of the hole on one running play and there was also a play in zone coverage where he was late getting over and left the receiver open in the end zone behind Quinton Coples but the Jets were fortunate that the throw wasn't accurate enough and the receiver came down out of bounds.
Marcus Williams replaced the injured Cromartie and the Browns sure did go after him with seven targets. He held up well though, intercepting one and breaking up another two. Williams was the only defensive back with a penalty, but that came while blocking for Revis. He did give up a couple of first downs, including a 20-yard gain, but the Jets can feel pretty confident about how well he stepped up, especially since he was challenged so much.
Finally, Buster Skrine saw his role increased when Cromartie went down. He played on the outside in base packages and reverted to the slot in the nickel. He gave up one first down and almost had a forced fumble on Johnny Manziel, who was ruled down.
Next up...special teams might not have had a major impact, but there were still a few interesting things to report...