Houston Texans' wideout Andre Johnson can be a major headache for opposing cornerbacks to deal with, but Antonio Cromartie rose to the occasion on Monday night.
The New York Jets lost their best player in All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis for the season three weeks ago, but they aren’t about to completely change the way they play defense. Cromartie, who has started across the field from Revis the last three years, is now the No. 1 lockdown guy, and he has filled in admirably, most notably with a stellar night against arguably the most physically-gifted receiver in the NFL in the Texans’ Johnson.
Cromartie lined up in front of Johnson in man coverage throughout the Jets’ 23-17 loss to the Texans, holding Johnson to just one catch for 15 yards. It was the first time Cromartie faced Johnson. Cromartie also had an interception and participated in three plays on the other side of the ball.
Cro looked good in limited work on offense and got open on a sideline go-route that would’ve been a touchdown with a better throw from Mark Sanchez. But despite the Jets’ depleted receiving corps, Cromartie is intent on shutting down opposing receivers.
“I’m focused on being the best corner I can be right now and that is about it,” Cromartie said after the game. “Whenever I get that chance and when my number is being called to play on offense, I will go out there and handle the play.”
Cromartie and the Jets’ secondary did fall victim to some miscommunication early in the game, though, as Texans' tight end Owen Daniels found a gap in the middle of Gang Green’s defensive backfield for a touchdown, mainly due to drawing Cromartie out of position on a double-move and the safeties being fooled by play-action.
Other than that, Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub was limited to just 14 completions on 28 pass attempts for 204 yards.
“… I think we took a step in the right direction,” Cromartie said. “I think the biggest thing is just trying to build on it and play the way we know we are capable of. We still have some things we want to clean up and try to get better on and just continue to work. This game we fell hard on the back end, too. We missed a couple of plays out on the field and when we just go back and look at it, I think we will get a whole lot better too.”
Cromartie has Reggie Wayne and the Indianapolis Colts next week.