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C.J. Mosley: Lions' Go-Ahead 4th-Down TD Was 'Very Tough Pill to Swallow'

CB D.J. Reed on Main Reason Jets Defense Came Up Short: 'They Outexecuted Us When It Was Time to Execute'


The Jets defense had a bitter twist on its most recent routine of playing lights-out and not having the offense and special teams come along for the ride to a much-needed victory.

On Sunday, the defense contributed as well to the Jets' 20-17 loss to Detroit at MetLife Stadium — even if it was one little old 51-yard pass play from QB Jared Goff to second-year TE Brock Wright that put the Lions back ahead, this time for good.

"We're all devastated. We'll put that one on us, take it on the chin. You've got to give them credit," CB D.J. Reed said. "Without that last moment, I thought we played great. They outexecuted us when it was time to execute."

"They came out with a play and they got us," LB C.J. Mosley said. "It's a very tough pill to swallow. But at the end of the day, to win in the NFL, to be successful, relevant and all those things, you've got to be able to execute at all levels. At the end of the day, that's what we didn't do."

The play in question was the Lions' fourth-and-a-foot play at their 49 right after the two-minute warning. With the Jets ahead, 17-13, it was a tough but doable challenge for the D — the unit had, after all, stoned the Lions offense on fourth-and-goal a foot from their goal line on the game's first series. Make the stop and the Jets would be kneeling and then jumping for joy over a hard-fought win.

Except the play call wasn't a Detroit run or even a throw to one of the usual fourth-and-short skill-position suspects. The "leak play" was a Goff soft toss left to a wide-open Wright, who Mosley said was not the TE the Lions normally targeted when they dialed up this play. And with DBs moving to their left to cover the WR targets, they had to do a "wind sprint," in Reed's phrase, to try to get a hand on Wright. They couldn't get to him until he fell into the end zone for the 20-17 lead.

"It's backbreaking because we gave it up, right?" head coach Robert Saleh said. "But we're in the position we are because I think our defense plays its tail off. It's the NFL. You're going to have ebbs and flows from a defensive standpoint."

And there are always reasons for an excellent unit like the Jets D, which came into the game ranked third in the NFL in total yards, fourth against the past and sixth in scoring. If one were to subtract that 51-yard play, the sizzling Lions offense would have been held to a modest 308 yards and no offensive touchdowns.

Of course, that's not how statistics work. And the Green & White defense had a few shortcomings as well. They forced zero turnovers for the fourth time in the last five games. They got none of their usual pressure on Goff — five QB hits, no sacks.

See the best images from the Week 15 matchup between the Jets and Lions.

Then there was the matter of missing starters. DL Quinnen Williams would have helped in the pressure department but his calf injury from Buffalo kept him out. S Lamarcus Joyner had a lingering hip issue that flared up after Friday's practice and got him designated as "out" on Saturday.

Even one young member of the offense called his unit out for not helping with the heavy lifting in recent weeks.

"I know, being on offense, we've put them in bad positions this season," rookie WR Garrett Wilson said. "That sucks but it's the truth. They've been upholding their end but I can't say that we have. It was a great call by the OC on fourth down. It's tough. We still had a chance to do down there and tie the game or win the game."

Even special teams can take a slice of the blame pie for this one, with a short punt and unsuccessful coverage enabling Kalif Raymond to open the scoring with a 47-yard punt-return TD.

But Saleh's message in the MetLife home locker room wasn't how to point the correct finger at the correct unit. It was about all units "complementing" each other.

"The message was playing complementary football," LB Quincy Williams said. "It doesn't matter if you're the better team on paper. They're just not going to hand us the win because it's close or we're at home or something like that. The biggest thing is just coming in ready to play and being consistent."

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