Drive after drive, the Jets marched into Vikings territory during the second half of Sunday's 27-22 win. Fists clenched and teeth gnarled across Vikings fandom as the Jets continually threatened to score.

But days after coordinator Ed Donatell defended his 31st-ranked defense by saying "yards never won or lost a game," the Vikings defense took that to heart by allowing a ton of yardage but only one touchdown in six straight red-zone trips for New York.

If safety Harrison Smith was stressed while backed up in his own end zone, that was long gone by the time reporters approached his locker inside U.S. Bank Stadium.

"It gets pretty fun, though," Smith said. "I don't know why. You feel like you're just kind of a kid playing ball when everybody knows there's only so much grass to play with."

Jets quarterback Mike White's fairytale run with New York came to life again after a rough start, in which Donatell let a Vikings safety play shallow on occasion and they tackled well underneath. But after halftime was a different story. The Jets got chunk after chunk thanks to inconsistent cornerback play and the biggest run the Vikings have allowed all season.

The deciding factors revolved around how the Vikings turned White back into a pumpkin in the red zone. White completed just 6 of 17 throws for 24 yards inside the Minnesota 20 while five different Vikings defenders got their hands on passes for four deflections and an interception. Why such an improvement when backed up to their own goal line?

"There's just not as much space to defend," head coach Kevin O'Connell said. "It allows us to naturally tighten some things up and trigger downhill."

"I give our safeties a ton of credit for how they've impacted the game in those situations," O'Connell added before praising the physicality of the front seven, too.

When asked about the Jets' red-zone issues, White said the Vikings deployed "looks that we weren't scouting for."

Here's a look at safety Camryn Bynum's game-sealing interception.

Needing a play, the Jets essentially go back to a similar double in-breaking route concept that helped them convert a fourth down earlier with a 31-yard throw to receiver Corey Davis. White targets Davis again. But White said he did this time because the Vikings' attention on star receiver Garrett Wilson, who had eight catches for 162 yards, took him out of the play.

White said he thought Smith was also in position to take away receiver Elijah Moore, who runs the inside crossing route. Edge rusher D.J. Wonnum beats the left tackle to pressure White, who said he felt like he had to get the ball out. White reverted to what worked on an earlier down, but Bynum breaks on the throw.

"They essentially took Garrett away in the boundary," White said postgame. "Harrison Smith was waiting on Elijah, and the safety just drove on Corey. We thought at the time he was our best option, felt the rush on me, so I didn't want to finish up with the ball in my hand. Just wanted to give our guy an opportunity and see what was going to happen."

How did the Jets end the game with six straight red-zone drives? And how did the Vikings get stops? Here's a walkthrough of those drives from watching the game again.

  • Rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans let Wilson get separation on a 23-yard crossing route. Evans then missed a tackle on Moore on a 10-yard sweep. White targeted Wilson on third down from the Minnesota 18, but the pass was thrown under pressure from Za'Darius Smith and overhead. Result: Jets field goal.
  • Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah's block and release got beyond Danielle Hunter, who dropped in coverage, and into an open void for 31 yards to the Minnesota 17. A Jets illegal block on first and goal from the 6 pushed them back to the 16-yard line. Duke Shelley, replacing Evans, deflected a throw to Jets tight end Tyler Conklin; a check-down on third and long led to only a 4-yard gain and a Jets field goal.
  • Evans, back in the game after O'Connell said he cleared independent and team concussion evaluations, pulled up to avoid another collision with a teammate as Wilson slipped by for a 60-yard catch and run. Slot corner Chandon Sullivan missed a tackle on Wilson. From second down at the 9, a Patrick Peterson run stop and Za'Darius Smith deflection at the line led to another Jets field goal.
  • Jets running back Zonovan Knight slipped past linebacker Eric Kendricks, Shelley and others on a 48-yard run — the longest allowed by Minnesota this season. Shelley is flagged for interference on Wilson, setting up first and goal at the 3. White's sneak on fourth down was ruled a Jets touchdown upon review.
  • A corner route from Davis in front of Bynum gained 23 yards. Then Sullivan got pulled across the middle of the field with one crossing route, opening a window behind him for White to find Davis for a 31-yard gain on fourth down to the Minnesota 16 (a similar play the Jets would run on the final INT). Knight spun away from Smith to the 1-yard line. Back-to-back incompletions, including a drop by Jets receiver Braxton Berrios in the end zone, led to a Jets turnover on downs.
  • An 18-yard toss to Wilson just under Harrison Smith kickstarted the Jets' desperation drive with about a minute left. Smith responded by driving on Wilson's post route for a near interception and deflection. Coaches moved Peterson over to Wilson's side on the drive. Bynum made the game-sealing interception on a throw to Davis, running another in-breaking route. "I know they're running double in-cuts all game that got us a few times on that last series," Bynum said. "Mainly all the big plays were in-breaking plays."

The Vikings defense entered Sunday ranked 27th in points per red-zone trip allowed, per Football Outsiders, but recent results will nudge that ranking up. Through the past two games, the Vikings have surrendered just one touchdown in nine red-zone drives.