His status for Sunday was up in the air until game time but Antonio Cromartie suited up and started against the Miami Dolphins. For the Jets it may have been a bad thing because the play of the eight-year veteran was below normal expectation levels.
Effort was a big concern for the Jets' defense, and even though they held the Dolphins to six first half points, it all unraveled in the third quarter due to poor coverage and an inability to make sure-handed tackles.
"We feel like as long as we are on the field it is another opportunity for us to go out and try to make a play," said Cromartie. "That is how we look at it and that is how you have to continue to look at it."
The Dolphins were the ones taking advantage in the second half as they racked up 17 points to put the game out of reach for the Jets. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had one of his best games of the season, throwing for two touchdowns and 331 yards, which was his highest yardage total this season. He continually found open receivers in the middle of the field who were able to take advantage of the Jets poor tackling with long runs after the catch.
Cromartie was as guilty as anyone in this regard. He allowed wide receiver Brian Hartline to beat him on a slant route in the third quarter for a 31-yard touchdown.
"I think the biggest thing for us is that we just have to do our job. We just have to play within our assignment, doing what we have to do, trust that the next man is going to be doing their job also," said Cromartie. "It is just going out there and playing football to the best of our ability. They didn't do anything different from what they did in the previous weeks."
The secondary needs to improve if the Jets want to finish off the season strong, but that starts with their best cornerback. His ability to return kicks was a nice boon for the special teams, averaging 31.5 yards on four returns, but his ability to shut down opposing wide receivers will help give the team a fighting chance.
"I wouldn't say non-competitive," said Cromartie concerning the way the game ended. "Every game is competitive. Some things don't go your way. You just have to put your finger on it, find out where we are at and go from there."