Jets overcome defensive meltdown

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Linebacker Bart Scott is one of the most accessible guys in the Jets' locker room.

So the fact that he wasn't in the mood to talk to reporters after one of the most improbable wins in franchise history tells you all you need to know about the defense’s disastrous fourth quarter.

“I’m not talking,” Scott said. “I don’t want to say anything inflammatory today.”

Yes, Mark Sanchez’s “Miracle at the Meadowlands” on Sunday afternoon masked an embarrassing fourth quarter for the Jets’ defense.

Gang Green went up 16 points with 14:51 to play when Nick Folk nailed a 30-yard field goal.

From there, the Texans abused the once-vaunted Jets defense to the tune of 20 unanswered points over the next 14 minutes, capped off by Neil Rackers’ 22-yard field goal with 0:55 seconds to go which put the Texans up 27-23.

If Sanchez hadn’t hit Holmes for the game-winning score in the back left corner of the end zone with 10 seconds left, the Jets would have blown the second-largest fourth quarter lead at home in franchise history. They let a 17-point home lead slip away in 1960, back when they were the Titans and playing home games in the Polo Grounds.

“We’re happy with winning, but we’re not happy with how we won,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said after the 30-27 win. “One thing we’ve got to learn is once we’ve got a team down, to keep them down.”

Rex Ryan said he’s concerned about the defense’s mental approach in the fourth quarter.

“We have to look at it and see why we we’re making these mistakes,” Ryan said. “… We have to fix it, and we have to fix it in a hurry.”

The low point for the defense came on Texans tight end Joel Dreessen’s 43-yard touchdown with 9:23 left. Dreessen’s haul came one play after Shonn Greene’s fumble at the Houston 48 and pulled the Texans within a touchdown at 23-17. Arian Foster scored on a one-yard run with 2:24 left. Rackers' subsequent extra point gave the Texans a one-point lead with 2:24 left in the game.

Revis and Jim Leonhard characterized the Dreessen play as blown coverage. It was unclear who exactly missed their assignment. The Jets were in zone coverage and blitzed on the play. Somehow, Dreessen broke free and found himself wide open on the left sideline.

“We’ve got too much talent on this defense to do stupid things like that,” Leonhard said.

The Jets' defense came into Sunday’s game having allowed a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Cleveland’s Colt McCoy last week, so the matchup with the high-powered Texans offense (406 yards per game on the road) was seen by some as a chance for the team's most prideful unit to make a statement.

For the first three quarters, they answered the call, limiting Foster to 66 yards on 15 carries. Revis also turned Andre Johnson into a non-factor, holding him to three catches and just 12 yards entering the fourth. And Matt Schaub had just 91 yards in the air through three quarters.

All of which made the Jets’ fourth-quarter meltdown all the more alarming.

“We’re lucky we got out of here with a win, but we can’t be happy about it,” Leonhard said.

Ryan acknowledged that the team blew assignments in the fourth quarter, something they'll have to fix before they take the field against Cincinnati on Thursday night. The blustery coach even apologized to Jets fans for keeping them on edge for the third straight week. But he also said he'll be more than happy to apologize again if his Jets engineer another late comeback on Thanksgiving.

“Obviously, we’d like to be able to win these games a little easier than we have been, but we keep finding ways to win and that’s what championship teams do,” he said. “Again, if I have to apologize every week, I will. All the way to the Super Bowl.”