Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Ed Reed gives the thumbs up pregame but probably feels the opposite after the loss.
ORCHARD PARK — The last Jet to make his way off the field, up the ramp and into the postgame locker room was safety Ed Reed, the newest member of a middling unit. He sat at his stall in the back, next to cornerback Antonio Cromartie and across from cornerback Kyle Wilson. In dissecting their 37-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, they reviewed responsibilities on various schemes, talking about curls and flats, and what needed to be improved.
The addition of Reed during the week was billed as a boost for a secondary that has been beaten by deep balls throughout the season, but the secondary proved a weak link again on Sunday.
Reed, the longtime Ravens legend who was cut by the Texans last week, acknowledged that his comfort level with Rex Ryan’s defense was a key reason for his signing with the Jets and reuniting with Ryan. He joined the Jets with fresh legs, and was told to go as long as he could, knowing that safety Jaiquawn Jarrett was available on the sideline to give him a breather.
Reed blitzed on what turned into a touchdown and patrolled different sides of the field when necessary. It was the touchdown on which Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel quick-snapped the ball and threw deep along the sideline to Marquise Goodwin that left both Reed and Cromartie shaking their heads.
Reed was playing in the middle of the field when he saw the ball sail deep toward the end zone. He believed the wind, which was carrying the ball most of the day, had subsided on that play.
“I was so pissed with myself,” Cromartie said. “Honestly, I looked back at the ball too long. I felt like I drifted away and it slowed me down. He got up on top, and he just made a play on the ball. I know I can make that play. It’s just me doing the little things, me getting my head back around and knowing where the receiver is.”
Reed’s communication was not restricted to the secondary. After most of his teammates had emptied out of the locker room, quarterback Geno Smith remained at his stall. Reed pulled on his long coat and donned a Yankees hat.
“Ignore the noise,” Reed told the rookie. “Work, work.”
While Reed started and played most of the game, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner lost T.J. Graham, his assigned wideout, on one play to surrender a TD and Cromartie watched Goodwin blow past him on a fly pattern down the right side for another score. Cromartie acknowledged his mistake. Milliner vowed to improve.
They will need to patch any and all holes quickly as they vie for a playoff berth.
“The biggest thing for us is bringing our defense on the road,” Cromartie said.
Linebacker Calvin Pace shook his head in disbelief as he entered the locker room following the blowout.
“Getting the ball thrown over our head is unacceptable,” Pace said. “No. 88 (Goodwin) has world-class speed. What else does he do besides run deep? Eleven (Graham), he’s a deep-threat. Get back.”