Jets defense completely dominated in embarrassing outing

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Jets came to town to play their only nationally televised game of the season Thursday night feeling pretty good about themselves.

Their upset victory over the Bengals four days earlier at MetLife Stadium, on the shoulders of unheralded backup quarterback Mike White and some clutch defense had them intoxicated with a belief that they’re a team that can “play with anybody’’ in the NFL.

Then the Jets had to play another game.

That game came against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Jets looked like they were playing while intoxicated, getting absolutely routed 45-30 — a final score not remotely indicative of Indianapolis’ dominance.

This was complete.

Completely embarrassing.

Completely unacceptable.

There’s no defending the way the Jets defended in this game.

“We were just as shocked as everyone else who was watching,’’ linebacker C.J. Mosley said.

“A fire got started, and we just didn’t do a good job of putting it out,’’ linebacker Jarrad Davis said.

Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal catches a pass while Ashtyn Davis during the Jets’ 45-30 loss to the Colts.
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The Jets’ defense, which on Sunday against the Bengals set a significant tone with an early goal-line stand, allowed 532 yards of offense to the Colts. Of those, 260 came on the ground, which is an affront to a defense’s manhood.

Of those 250 rushing yards, an amazing 211 came before first contact was made by a Jets defender, according to ESPN statistics.

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 172 yards and two TDs on 19 carries for an average of 9.1 yards. Nyheim Hines rushed for 74 yards on six carries.

“It’s hard to give up 260 yards and win a game,’’ Mosley said. “They lapped us. We did our best not to quit.’’

So, they got that going for them.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh looked physically ill as he spoke to reporters after the game, which was the second in the past three in which his defense allowed more than 500 yards of offense.

“Obviously, it wasn’t good enough,’’ Saleh said.

Two alarming elements to this performance: The Jets’ defensive front is the strength of the team and it was obliterated by the Colts offensive line, and the Colts were salty all week about throwing the ball 52 times in an overtime loss to the Titans on Sunday and told everyone who would listen that their goal in this game was the run the football.

The Colts telegraphed their game plan and still annihilated the Jets defense.

Kylen Granson stiff arms a Jets defender.
Kylen Granson stiff arms a Jets defender.
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“We knew that they were going to try to get their run game started, especially the way they’d been talking all week,’’ Saleh said. “Obviously, we weren’t up for the task. As far as the defense we’re going to get it looked at.’’

Taylor, asked what the Colts’ running game did to the Jets’ defense, said, “I think it would drain them and take the life out of them, break their will,’’ adding, “This game is about who’s toughest.’’

There’s little question about which team was toughest on this night.

The Colts had four offensive possessions in the first half and scored a touchdown on all four of them en route to a 28-10 halftime lead.

Indianapolis punter Rigoberto Sanchez could have taken the night off, because the Jets’ defense did.

The Jets tried to duplicate their winning formula from Sunday, winning the coin toss, taking first possession and letting White sling it around. It was working decently until White injured his right forearm on his follow-through of a first-quarter pass when DeForest Buckner hit it on a pressure.

White, who was 7-for-11 for 95 yards and a touchdown, was replaced by third-stringer Josh Johnson after he threw a scoring pass to Elijah Moore with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter. White never returned, proving that the Jets cannot have nice things.

This, of course, should have been the time for the defense to step up and hold the fort, with the third-string quarterback in the game.

Instead, the defense got worse, which was unacceptable.

The Jets’ defense played the part of a batting practice pitcher lobbing bunnies over the plate to the Colts’ offense. It was disconcerting to all involved not wearing a Colts uniform.

Perhaps the most insulting moment of the night for the Jets came when Carson Wentz threw a 2-yard TD pass to Danny Pinter, a backup center who’d checked in as an eligible receiver.

A defense giving up a TD reception to a dude wearing No. 63 on his jersey is one team toying with the other.

The next Colts possession ended on a 78-yard Taylor scoring run on the first play of the series.

At that point it was 42-10, with the Colts having scored on six of their seven offensive possessions.

Intoxicating all right.

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