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‘Tough’ Jets defense isn’t blameless even with offense a mess

The Jets defense held the Bills out of the end zone Sunday.

It wasn’t enough.

After the Jets’ 18-10 loss to Buffalo at MetLife Stadium, a couple of their defensive players praised the way the defense played despite the fact that the offense was historically horrendous in the second half, gaining only 4 yards on 16 plays in the final 30 minutes.

If we’re not grading on a curve here, though, the Jets offense did stake the team to a 10-0 in the first half and the defense failed to protect that lead.

“I definitely hate that we let them get that many field goals,’’ linebacker Avery Williamson said. “There were some times we could have gotten off the field, so yeah, that is on us.’’

Bills kicker Tyler Bass kicked six field goals, but he also missed two — a 45-yarder on Buffalo’s first offensive possession with the Jets leading 7-0 and a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter with the Bills leading 15-10.

“I feel like the defense came out and played like some dogs,’’ said linebacker Tarell Basham, who had a sack and forced fumble in the second quarter that led to the Jets’ only TD. “From the get-go, we said we wasn’t going to let them in the end zone. We’ve got to be better about letting them cross the 50 [-yard line] on those field goals we allowed.

“But besides that, we came out and we executed the game plan for the most part and we made some plays. We left some plays out there, too.’’

Jets safety Bradley McDougald breaks up a pass in the end zone in the 1st quarter.
Jets safety Bradley McDougald breaks up a pass in the end zone in the 1st quarter.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

In a game with so little margin for error because of the Jets anemic offense, too many plays were left out there. In the end, the Bills offense still produced 422 total yards, 368 of which game from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen (307 passing and 61 rushing). They couldn’t contain Buffalo slot receiver Cole Beasley, who bled them out with paper cuts — 11 catches for 112 yards — when they tried to get off the field.

“A couple plays here or there we’ve got to make that would change the outcome of this game,’’ Basham said. “But how we played, I liked.’’

So, too, did head coach Adam Gase, who said, “Defensively, I thought there was a lot of good there.’’

The fact is, for all the good the Jets defense did, the Bills offense wasn’t exactly crisp.

In the third quarter, trailing 10-6, the Bills had a first down at the Jets 20, lost 11 yards on a first-down run and then committed a false-start penalty to push themselves back further before settling on the field goal to make it 10-9.

Later in the third, an Allen TD pass to Gabriel Davis was called back because of an illegal-formation penalty and had to settle for a field goal and a 12-10 lead.

In the fourth quarter, a blown coverage leaving tight end Tyler Kroft completely uncovered resulted in a 38-yard gain to the Jets 20, but the Buffalo drive stalled, leaving them with a 37-yard field-goal attempt that Bass missed.

So, the Buffalo offense did its part to stall those drives.

“I felt like we let a couple plays get out in the second half, but we held them to field goals,’’ Williamson said. “I wish we could have held them to nothing. We played tough today.’’

Sometimes, though, tough isn’t enough.

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