With a rookie quarterback and limited offensive-skill position talent the Jets’ margin for error is relatively scant.

So the last thing they can sustain in a game and survive is to have one of their best defensive players directly responsible for giving up 10 points to the opposition — especially when the offense managed to score only two field goals.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was the difference in the game in a 19-6 Jets loss to the Steelers Sunday at MetLife Stadium — for all the wrong reasons.

First Cromartie was smoked by Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders who made an inside move on him and scored on a way-too-easy 55-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 16-6 lead 2:30 into the second half — a lead that felt more like 36-6 the way the Jets’ offense was running in water.

“I looked up and saw Emmanuel running by himself and I kind of hesitated for a moment because I couldn’t believe he was so open” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethisberger said.

“All I know is when the ball was in the air I was wide open and the rest was history” Sanders said.
The second Cromartie gaffe came later in the third quarter in the form of a 25-yard pass interference penalty while trying to cover receiver Antonio Brown on a deep ball. That moved the ball from the Pittsburgh 38-yard line to the Jets’ 37. A few minutes later the Steelers made it 19-6 on a 32-yard Shaun Suisham field goal.

Cromartie was actually fortunate not to have allowed a second touchdown pass but Brown dropped the ball on a back-shoulder move on the Jets cornerback.