SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Jets’ defense has endured all manner of indignity this season, and then this: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers rushed for 193 yards Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
Carlos Hyde. Of the lowly 49ers.
But in the end, the only thing that mattered was Hyde’s 17th and final rush. On a fourth-and-2 from the Jets’ 37-yard line early in overtime, Muhammad Wilkerson led a charge to stop him for no gain.
The Jets soon scored on a 19-yard run by Bilal Powell to win, 23-17.
“Damn near 200 yards,” Sheldon Richardson told Newsday. “But he didn’t get the two yards that matter, though.”
Richardson and Wilkerson have been among the most disappointing figures in the defense’s disappointing season, a narrative that at last is taking a turn for Wilkerson, who seems to have gotten healthier and sharper in recent weeks.
“As a defensive lineman, fourth-and-[short], you have to put it on your shoulders, the front seven, really,” he said. “You have to make sure we get off the ball, get off blocks and make the tackle. Pretty much man-to-man, you have to beat your man up front. And we did that. We stopped them.”
It was a Jekyll-and-Hyde day for the defense, which allowed Hyde to run seven times for 141 yards in the first half as the 49ers took a 17-3 lead.
Richardson attributed it to “guys doing too much, playing out of gaps, overplaying gaps, leaving creases and he hit them, broke a few tackles here and there. Kudos to him, though. Good back.”
Said safety Calvin Pryor, “That never happens on us. To have a guy rush for one-something [hundred] on six or seven carries in the first half, that’s definitely out of character for us. Everybody was [ticked] off. We were angry.
“So we had to go do something about it, and we did.”
In addition to corralling Hyde, the Jets discombobulated 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In the first half, he was 11-for-15 passing for 116 yards. In the second half and overtime, he was 4-for-11 for 17 yards — 13 of which came in the extra period.
“We didn’t really make any [halftime] adjustments,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “What we really had to do was just stop the run so we can start pass rushing.”
Coach Todd Bowles said the Jets believed that if they could stop the run effectively, they could get after Kaepernick.
The fourth-down stop, he said, “is what I’m used to seeing” from his defensive line.
Said Hyde, “I didn’t have a lane where I could go. I just tried to hit it up in there and tried to get a push, but they did a good job there.”
None of the 49ers’ last eight possessions produced points.
Pryor said the players had challenged one another at halftime to be better, and to be “accountable and responsible.”
Added Williams, “We were saying, ‘Let’s finish, let’s finish, let’s finish.’ ”
For one Sunday, at least, they did.
With Kimberley A. Martin