Jets Fall Apart in Second Half, Lose to Raiders

Second-half meltdown sends Jets to first loss of season

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It may not seem like a lot of time, but 150 seconds can change everything in a football game.

That's exactly what happened for the Jets in Oakland on Sunday. They failed to convert a fourth down on the Raiders' 37 with 2:27 left in the third quarter with the score tied 17-17 and handed the ball over to the Raiders.

They would run their next offensive play with 14:51 to play in the game -- but do it trailing 31-17. A quick Raiders drive highlighted by a long Darren McFadden run and touchdown run on a reverse by rookie receiver Denarius Moore was followed by Antonio Cromartie fumbling away the ensuing kickoff.

The Raiders needed two plays to score another touchdown, and a game that once looked winnable for the Jets had gotten totally out of control.

While the lightning may have struck quickly, the storm was brewing for quite a while.

After a first half that saw the Jets move the ball better than they had all season on the ground, the Raiders tightened up on defense and shut down everything that Mark Sanchez tried to do.

The offensive line showed how much it misses Nick Mangold as pass rusher after pass rusher came through untouched, resulting in four sacks and a complete halt to the passing offense.

And the defense was gashed all day long, winding up with 234 rushing yards against them and a crucial blown play to put the Raiders in position for the field goal that wound up icing the game for Oakland. After a Plaxico Burress touchdown brought the Jets back within a touchdown, the Jets defense couldn't generate any pass rush and Jason Campbell found Michael Bush down the field for 29 yards. Sebastian Janikowski's field goal sealed the 34-24 loss for the Jets.

The performance was brutal all over the place, but Cromartie had the worst day of any Jet. His fumble followed four penalties in pass coverage, some of which were absolutely mindless plays that offered Cromartie no advantage and did nothing to make the Raiders less likely to complete passes.

He eventually left with a rib injury before he could do any more damage, but it is safe to say Cromartie won't be winning a second straight Defensive Player of the Week Award. No one from the Jets defense will be taking home any honors this week, although they will likely receive a collective butt-kicking from Rex Ryan while watching the video of this debacle.

We've seen hideous performances by the Jets offense before in the Ryan era, but we've never seen anything like this from the defense. It is a very disturbing development with the Ravens and Patriots looming in the next couple of weeks and something the Jets need to get under control if they want to avoid going from 2-0 to a losing record almost as quickly as they blew Sunday's game in Oakland. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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