Moeller: The Jets Defense Just Didn’t Finish Against The Texans

It was 50 years to the day that the Jets dominated the Dolphins defensively, 31-7, on Dec. 15, 1968 to end the season and clinch the division.

The Jets’ defense limited the Dolphins to 167 total yards and intercepted two passes.

Fifty years later, there were some resemblances in their 29-22 loss to Houston at Met Life, but not enough of them.

Instead, it was the continuing saga of not being able to finish games.

Houston’s J.J. Watt and Jadeavean Clowney showed why they are arguably the league’s best paired pass rushers.

Like they have all season long, they came up with the big plays in crunch time against the Jets.

They are one of the key reasons Houston can clinch its division either Sunday or next week.

It’s also about timing. Something that has haunted the Jets during the Todd Bowles era.

With the emergence of Sam Darnold, the Jets’ offense looks like it can solve the problem. Tinker a bit with the offensive line and have the wide receivers work hard in the offseason.

Defensively, the Jets still need some work.

I’m not taking anything away from the defense’s performance against the Texans. They recorded six sacks against Deshaun Watson and had him on the run most of the game.

But the Jets’ overzealous blitzing – it did work most of the game – and the subsequent single-man coverage after not getting to Watson hurt them on too many occasions.

The Jets didn’t have an answer to stop DeAndre Hopkins, who seemingly made countless timely catches among his 10 receptions for 170 yards and a pair of scores.

Yet, they did play in rabid fashion in the second half forcing three straight three-and-outs in the third quarters and certainly stole the overall momentum away from the Texans.

Still, the defense couldn’t make the key stop after the offense scored the apparent go-ahead and winning touchdown with three minutes left.

Watson, who was hurried in the final drive, took his team down the field and culminated with floater to Hopkins, who outleaped and out-positioned Morris Claiborne for the ball and the touchdown. Claiborne also was flagged for a holding penalty down the stretch that kept the drive alive.

Claiborne had some moments against Hopkins, but he nor Trumaine Johnson couldn’t stop him. Jamal Adams also made some plays, but the secondary overall was exposed by Watson.

Lineman Henry Anderson had three sacks and has been a force up front. Linebackers Brandon Copeland and Avery Williamson have been jelling to make the unit a respected one.

All season long, it is about putting a complete-game effort together. They did it in dominating fashion against Detroit in the opener and had a credible effort against Indianapolis.

“We can’t get a stop when we need it the most,” said Anderson, who had three sacks. “It’s frustrating and we’ll keep battling.     We have been coming together as a unit.

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About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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