When word first filtered out about Antonio Cromartie's Thursday practice injury, the prognosis seemed serious for our defense.
In fact, Cromartie said after today's 19-6 loss to Pittsburgh at MetLife Stadium that he was thinking the worst as well.
"I thought I tore my ACL, to be honest with you," he said. "I felt the same pop that I felt in my left one. But it was just a freak accident, non-contact. The knee just gave out."
Cromartie confirmed it was a hyperextension. And even though head coach Rex Ryan felt sure on Friday that his corner's availability for today's game might not be determined till gameday warmups, Cro said he knew 24 hours before KO that he'd be OK to play against the Steelers.
"I got a chance to run for a little bit on Saturday, so I felt pretty good," he said.
Antonio Cromartie wouldn't even use the knee for an alibi on the two long third-quarter plays he was involved in, the 55-yard Ben Roethlisberger-to-Emmanuel Sanders touchdown and a 25-yard pass interference call while covering Antonio Brown.
Cro just smiled about the PI call, saying, "I didn't think I touched him." On the TD play, he said, "The knee didn't affect anything at all. It was just me needing better technique on that one play and that's it."
Hill's Latest Climb
It's been a rock-'em-sock-'em several weeks for WR Stephen Hill. Two weeks ago he was crushed by Tennessee S Michael Griffin on our first offensive play and sat out the rest of the game with a concussion.
Today it seemed he might have taken another head shot on a blast from S Troy Polamalu late in the first half. But Hill said, "I just got the wind knocked out of me." What's more, he held on for a 20-yard catch that helped position Nick Folk for his short field goal right before the half.
But Hill said there's an important pang that he and his teammates are feeling now as they head for Sunday's home game against the Patriots.
"I feel like it's going to be a hunger game," he said. "I think it's a must-win for us, definitely, if we want to win this division. It's definitely a hunger game and we have to go out there and, as we say, eat. We've got to go out there and make plays."
Praise for Geno
Ryan Clark's interception may have been the Steelers' first takeaway all season and Geno Smith's first pick thrown in nine quarters and it may have helped keep the game under Pitt control, yet Clark still had words of praise for Smith going forward.
"I think Geno is going to win a lot of games for the Jets," Clark said. "I'm excited for him and the organization. It's good for a young guy to go through a lot. For him to get pressed and picked apart, and he responds and plays good football, he's a big reason they've won three games this year."
Hill had three catches in all for 46 yards, giving him team-leading totals with 18 catches and 300 receiving yards. ... LB David Harris had a game-high 10 tackles, one sack of Ben Roethlisberger and another tackle for loss. DE Muhammad Wilkerson also notched a Big Ben sack, his team-leading fifth this year and his eighth in the last 11 games. ... The defense entered the game second in rushing yards allowed per game (76.2) and yards allowed per carry (3.1) and improved both by giving up 73 yards at 2.8 per carry to Pitt.