It was another difficult day for the Jets defense during the 30-10 loss to Arizona at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, but not in the same way that the D struggled in the first four games of this season.
Still, despite some minor successes against dangerous second-year QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, the major outcome was the Green & White's fifth loss, which left one of the Jets defensive standouts, LB Avery Williamson, at a loss for words.
"It's definitely very frustrating," Williamson said. "We've been working our butts off all week and just not coming out on top. It's tough. I can't express how tough it is. It's just one of those things. We just can't ... we haven't been able to finish.
Among the finishing issues the Jets defense had on Sunday:
■ Murray completed 27-of-37 passes for 380 yards. That's the most passing yardage by an opposing QB at MetLife since Aaron Rodgers' 442 in the overtime loss to Green Bay in 2018 and, in a regulation home game, since Blake Bortles' 381 in the Jets' win over the Jaguars in 2015.
■ Murray lasered in on WR DeAndre Hopkins in the second half for 4 completions for 106 yards and a 37-yard TD with 8:35 to go that opened the final 30-10 advantage. For the game, Hopkins finished with 6 catches for 131 yards, making him 3 of 3 against the Jets after ringing up 100-yard games for the Texans in 2015 and '18.
■ With enough timely running, the Cards got to the magic 500-scrimmage-yards plateau before falling back to 496 for the game on Murray's three kneel downs.
Despite those issues, safety Marcus Maye said, "We had some good moments," and that was true. One of those moments belonged to Williamson, who grabbed a Murray pass deflected behind the line by Neville Hewitt, for the fourth interception of his six-year NFL career and his second in green. He returned the pick to the Cards 10 to set up Sam Ficken's 26-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
"I've been trying to get a turnover since I've been back," said Williamson, who missed all last year with a preseason knee injury. "I've just been trying to get a forced fumble or something. I had a good feeling today. I knew that I was going to get a turnover some kind of way. And I almost had a fumble. But getting a pick and just flying to the ball and making something happen, it definitely was good. I wish I would've gotten to the end zone, but it's good, man. I'm just glad I'm back and healthy."
Another small victory, although it sounds hollow next to Murray's passing line, was the defense's game plan to keep the elusive one contained in the pocket. Murray's 8.28 yards/carry was fourth among NFL quarterbacks coming into the game, but he was held to 9 carries for 31 yards, or 3.4/carry, but with a 2-yard option-keeper TD.
"We've got to respect the zone-read and stuff like that," Williamson said. "I feel like we did a pretty good job of containing him. It's tough. He's a good quarterback. We knew we had to keep him in the pocket as much as possible. But he made some good throws, unfortunately."
The last point to make is the Jets' penalty situation: There really wasn't one against Arizona, certainly not of the scope and concern generated by the defense's six personal foul penalties vs. Denver. Against the Cards, the defense was flagged for three penalties, with two holds for 9 yards marked off against it while an offside penalty was declined.
"Pretty good," Maye said of the focus on the yellow flags paying off. "Penalties were a big emphasis this week. We had a few here and there, but nothing that really hurt us. We've just got to continue to get them off our radar."
Now the unit needs to redouble its efforts to get some W's to replace all the L's on their computer screens. It won't be easy, especially considering that the NFL switched Game 6 opponents for the Jets, moving the L.A. Chargers to Week 11 and making the upcoming road trip more manageable, to division foe Miami. But the Dolphins went on the road on Sundaytoday and scored 43 points at San Francisco. It won't be any easier for the Jets.
"We just have to continue to be positive," Maye said. "Continue to show up to work every day with the right mindset to get better, just continue to communicate with each other, continue to support each other. That's all we can do."
"We've got to figure it out, in a hurry," Williamson said. "We're five in the hole and we've got to do something. But it's definitely frustrating."