For the first half, the Jets’ defense was there.
That is, if you don’t count the opening drive of the game when the Vikings opened the game with a four-play, 68-yard drive in just over 1:30.
From there, though, the Jets kept Kirk Cousins out of the end zone expect for a field goal on a drive that was thwarted at the New York eight.
The game was theirs for the taking, and the defense was doing its part. The offense had its own issues for another column.
Both teams nearly split the time of possession in the opening half with the Vikings holding a mere 20-second advantage.
Somehow, however, the Jets’ defense looked a little winded in the third quarter.
They also apparently had lost the intensity level they had before halftime.
Cousins and the Vikings’ ground game began to take shape and Nordsmen to a 20-10 advantage at the start of the final quarter.
Minnesota began to win the line of scrimmage in the final quarter as the Vikings’ rushing attack accounted for all 51 yards on two plays that boosted the advantage to 27-10.
The Jets’ defense did give the ball back to Sam Darnold, who then threw his second interception of the half.
On a fourth-and eight from the Jets’ 34, Cousins had plenty of time and found Aldrick Robinson, who managed to haul in the pass with Mo Claiborne all over him for the perennial nail-in-the-coffin.
This was a day when the Jets’ defense needed to win the turnover battle with their quarterback sputtering and their offense struggling.
They didn’t. They came up empty.
Still, this wasn’t totally devastating. It just was a wasted opportunity to begin climbing to the next level.
For the record, they allowed a respectable 316 total yards and still managed to keep their points allowed average down.
Yet, it was a sharp contrast from the past three weeks when they unit began to show their potential as the one of league’s best.
But the Jets owed up to their play. At 3-4, the season is still long, but it can quickly shorten. They could discover that in Chicago next week.
“In the second half, we didn’t play strong,” said linebacker Brandon Copeland, who had the team’s lone sack. “Our goal should be three-and-out on every series. We are in a lot better situation that at the start of the season.
“All losses are frustrating,” added linebacker Darron Lee, who had a quiet day with two tackles. “We just beat ourselves. But we are a closer football team than we were last year. We’ll be fine.”