The final tally looks pretty grim: The Jets were flagged 12 times for 133 yards in their 25-17 preseason victory over the Bengals on Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium. That total includes a whopping six—three for personal fouls, three for unnecessary roughness—that went for 15 yards, plus a seventh that wound up being declined.

Yeesh.

Sure, the Jets want to get that corrected. And, yes, they're aware they can't succeed during the regular season by giving up so many yards via mistakes they can control.

But several Jets—with the blessing of head coach Rex Ryan—also suggested there was a method to the team's frequent madness on Saturday night—that the Bengals had engaged in behaviors that, at times, warranted physical responses.

"I think the main thing is," Ryan said, "our guys were protecting each other."

An example: In the first quarter, quarterback Geno Smith threw a pass that was picked off by safety Terence Newman, who caught the ball near the ground. Jets receiver David Nelson touched Newman while he was down to end the play, but right tackle Breno Giacomini said he never heard a whistle.