Game Balls: Jets vs Bills, “And It Was All Yellow”

Dan Marcus hands out game balls for the New York Jets week 3 over the Buffalo Bills

After what was a nearly-perfect first half that saw the New York  Jets extend their lead to a comfortable 20-6, the Second Half would prove to be much more daunting due to self inflicted wounds. The Jets were flagged an eye-popping and team record-breaking 20 times, 10 of which were called on two players alone (we’ll get to them). However, a win is a win and it was a big one for this Jets team. Despite the mistakes and the sloppiness there were still some outstanding performances so, it’s time to paint up some Game Balls.

Game Balls

Front Seven

This is becoming a trend because although there are any number of guys that could receive individual Game Balls, this group plays so well as a unit. Everybody contributes from Mo Wilkerson all the way down to Leger Douzable. For that, they’ll have to share one. However, I will say that Damon Harrison has officially supplanted Kenrick Ellis as the starting Nose Tackle. He has been a dominant force and will now likely start commanding double teams, which will mean trouble for opposing offensive lines given how deep this unit is. As for the numbers, the Jets had eight sacks overall and the Front Seven accounted for six of them. “Big Mo” Wilkerson recorded two of them to go along with five QB hits. This defense is scary good. If he can afford it, Geno Smith needs to take them all out to dinner because they are the “Wolf” to his Vincent Vega: he makes messes and they bail him out.

Bilal Powell

Much was made during the lead-up to this game of the Jets need to be more balanced on offense. Mornhinweg answered the call, rushing the ball 41 times for 182 yards (4.4 YPC). The bulk of those yards were gained by Bilal Powell, who became the Jets “Bell Cow” after Chris Ivory went down with a hamstring injury in the First Half. Although Powell isn’t a real home-run threat, he still ripped off some pretty nice gains (when they weren’t being negated by penalties). Powell racked up 149 yards on 27 carries for a 5.5 YPC average. A much-deserved Game Ball.

Marty Mornhinweg

You can’t talk about the offense without talking about the guy developing the game plan and calling the shots. Marty Mornhinweg came out “guns a-blazing” yesterday and called most of the game out of the hurry-up, the NFL’s new darling trend. Not only was the hurry-up very effective but he also dialed up some vertical passing plays that would ultimately prove to be a difference in the game (notably two long Touchdowns to Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes). It could have easily been three long Touchdowns if Geno Smith had just put a touch more air under a long throw intended for Stephen Hill off of a gadget play.

The Jets recorded their highest offensive output in the Ryan Era, racking up 513 total yards including: two 100-plus yard receiving performances, a 300-yard passing day from Geno, and a nearly 150-yard rusher in Bilal Powell. If Mornhinweg is able to reign in Geno’s turnovers as well as the penalties, then this offense can only continue to get better.

Santonio Holmes

I don’t usually “toot my own horn” but for those that read “Super Fast Friday,” I did mention that I thought this game would prove to be Santonio Holmes’ coming out party and that it was. Sunday was most definitely “Tone Time” as he emerged as Geno Smith’s most reliable target, making some spectacular catches, punctuated by a spectacular 40-yard throw and catch in the 3rd Quarter, where he made a great adjustment while the ball was in the air to come up with the reception. Oh and of course, he did reel in the game-winning Touchdown pass on a 69-yard bomb. It looks like Santonio is finally healthy but he would probably tell you otherwise.

Stephen Hill 

Nothing made me happier than to finally see Stephen Hill actually get open and then actually catch the ball when it was thrown to him. Although he only recorded three reception they were three big receptions as the bulk of his production came on two vertical throws: the first came on the first drive of the game as he reeled in a 45-yard pass on 3rd and 7. Hill followed that up with a 51-yard Touchdown-catch in the 2nd Quarter and now a Game Ball. It’s good to see Hill back on this list but it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up against better secondaries.

Take A Lap!

If you think for one second that a team commits 20 penalties and only a handful of guys are doing extra running, then you would be mistaken. The whole team will be doing wind sprints for the debacle that was Sunday, they looked like a Greg Schiano-coached team but there were a few players who will be doing some marathon-prep in practice this week and let’s find out who they are: 

Kyle Wilson

It only keeps getting worse for Wilson, as the Fourth-Year Cornerback and former First-Round pick has never really learned to play the position and was flagged for six, yes SIX penalties yesterday. You can tell how little the organization thinks of his skills as a football player as he was never really in consideration to be the other starting Corner alongside Antonio Cromartie. If that’s not bad enough, they think even less of him as a Punt Returner as they were willing to take their chances with no Punt Returner than roll the dice with him back there.

That said, I thought a few of the calls on him Sunday were very questionable, especially that personal foul call, which Stevie Johnson should have gotten an Oscar-nod for. However, it’s still the “same old song and dance” with Wilson, he never gets his head around and is flagged for more Pass-Interference penalties than any Jets Corner I can remember and I would imagine he’s lacing up his track spikes as we speak.

Vlad Ducasse

Vlad finds himself here because he committed four penalties and as ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted via Twitter, it looked like he was going for the cycle with a False Start, Holding, and a Face Mask all in the first half. I’m still of the belief that he commits so many penalties because English is his second language but that’s mere speculation on my part. It’s funny because aside from the penalties, I thought he had a pretty good game, especially in the running game. That said, you can’t shoot your rookie QB in the foot with dumb penalties and for that he better get the ole puke bucket ready.

The Officiating Crew

You can’t be called for 20 penalties in one game without a complicit officiating crew. Scott Green’s bunch had a pretty quick trigger and at times it felt like they were going with a more broad interpretation of the rules, leading some to believe that maybe they were making it up as they went along. Maybe I need Mike Pereira to explain it to me but why is it that Buffalo was granted four Time-Outs in the first half and I’m still scratching my head over the EJ Manuel fumble that wasn’t.

In all seriousness, I thought that they were very quick to call virtually anything they saw instead of letting the player actually play the game so maybe if they run some laps, it will teach them to keep the hankies in their pockets.