Cromartie can't escape Marshall

Antonio Cromartie and Brandon Marshall will continue to face each other at least twice a season. Icon SMI

Maybe Antonio Cromartie should consider filing for a restraining order.

Part of his excitement over a fresh start with the New York Jets had to be sweet relief from further Brandon Marshall torment. Cromartie, the former San Diego Chargers cornerback, left Marshall behind in the AFC West.

Marshall tracked down his rival last week, when the Denver Broncos traded the dangerous receiver to the Miami Dolphins. Cromartie's and Marshall's clubs will continue to square off at least twice a season.

While All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis likely will shoulder most responsibility for removing Marshall from the game when the Jets and Dolphins play, one of the chief reasons the Jets acquired Cromartie was to mix up their coverages so that Revis isn't always on the No. 1 receiver.

ESPN Stats & Information researcher Matt Lyon, with help from ProFootballFocus.com play-by-play data, produced some numbers that show Cromartie has had trouble containing Marshall the past two years.

The first game that comes to mind is Marshall's gaudy performance against the Chargers in Week 2 of the 2008 season. Marshall caught 18 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.

What an awful day for Cromartie. The NFL's official game book from that sunny afternoon had Cromartie on the scene for five Marshall receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. NFL game books, however, only note the defender who made the tackle. While that often indicates the responsible defender on a pass play, it's not always accurate.

But the game book also reminds us Cromartie committed three accepted penalties against Marshall (unnecessary roughness, facemask, defensive holding) for 22 yards. Another Cromartie defensive holding call was offset.

Cromartie has had better days against Marshall, including Week 11 last season, when Marshall didn't catch a single pass against him. Of course, Cromartie found himself against Eddie Royal much of that game.

Over the past two seasons, ProFootballFocus.com's data shows Marshall caught seven of nine passes thrown to him while Cromartie was in coverage, a remarkably high 77.8 percent for 74 yards and a touchdown and a 138.0 passer rating.

Against other Chargers defenders, Marshall caught 32-of-45 passes thrown at him, 71.1 percent, for 296 yards, one touchdown, one interception and an 86.9 passer rating.