New York Jets Game Balls – “Cleveland Steamrolled”

Dan Marcus hands out game balls for the New York Jets 31-10 over the Cleveland Browns

As with every Victory Monday, Dan Marcus has metaphorical hardware to hand out and some players who are slated for some extra cardio. And without further ado, let’s hand ’em out…

Brandon Marshall

Arguably the Jets’ biggest off-season acquisition not named Darrelle Revis showed why he is consistently mentioned among the top/most complete receivers in the league. Marshall hauled in six receptions on nine targets for 62 yards and a TD but the stats only tell half the story, as the difference he makes for this offense was apparent almost immediately. As a team that has lacked a prototypical “Number One” Wide Receiver since Keyshawn Johnson went on to his second career as a theoretical physicist, studying the differences between flashlights and stars, it was refreshing to see the impact a player like that can make.

If this game was any indicator of what’s to come this season, Marshall is sure to settle in as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target as he has the physicality and play-making ability to haul in big catches even when he has elite defenders draped all over him. However, Marshall’s biggest contribution came as a defender when Fitzpatrick made an ill-advised throw into double coverage that was ultimately picked off by Tashuan Gipson. Refusing to give up on the play, Marshall promptly ripped the ball out of Gipson’s hands as if the fourth-year Safety had just taken the food out of his mouth and in doing so not only reversed an error but totally changed the momentum of the game. In the interest of being succinct, I won’t even get into his run-blocking prowess because something tells me that this is the first of many Game Balls to come.

Marcus Williams

The second-year UDFA out of North Dakota State was thrust into the starting role opposite Darrelle Revis after Antonio Cromartie went down with a knee injury and as he did many a time when called upon in a similar role last season, Williams rose to the occasion. In fact, Williams actually out-played Cromartie, who had been having a less-than-stellar day before exiting. Sporting a new number (20), Williams was tested early by Cleveland’s offense and made them pay, racking up three passes defensed and a huge interception of Johnny Manziel that led to a Brandon Marshall touchdown that put the Jets up 21-10. As of the time this article is being written, Antonio Cromartie’s status is still very much up in the air pending an MRI and it is very likely that he will be called upon as the starter for the remainder of the season but if this is any indication of what he can do in that role, the Jets shouldn’t miss a beat even if they do lose Cromartie.

Chris Ivory

Despite all of the vitriol directed towards a certain former Jets GM who shall remain nameless, the acquisition of Chris Ivory is one of the moves that has more than panned out, as he is arguably the most important member of this offense. After two seasons in which he was under utilized by Marty Mornhinweg, it appears as though he will finally be getting consistent and quality work in Chan Gailey’s system. As he typically does, Ivory came out of the gates with a “full head of steam”, running around and through opposing defenders, to the tune of 91 yards on 20 carries (4.6 YPC)  with TDs to boot. A healthy dose of Ivory might be just what the doctor ordered for this Jets offense but for now, Chris take this Game Ball and call me in the morning.

Offensive Line

Obviously, it would be pretty hard to rack up 154 yards on the ground without five monstrosities masquerading as people dominating at the point of attack. The old adage about Offensive Linemen still holds true here and because we didn’t hear any of their names called, it must have been a pretty good day. Oh, and we would be remiss if we didn’t also mention the fact that they were able to keep their injury-proned Quarterback upright and duress-free for the entire game without yielding a single sack and for that, Game Balls for everybody.

Chris Owusu

The fast man who showed flashes of play-making ability in the 2014 season finale against the Dolphins, figured prominently into Chan Gailey’s game plan against the Browns and made the most of his opportunities. Owusu was targeted six times, while playing on the outside as Eric Decker and Marshall alternated in the slot, hauling in four balls for 55 yards including a big 46-yard catch-and-run on 3rd and 10 in the first quarter. The fourth-year receiver out of Stanford has been the latest beneficiary of Jeremy Kerley having fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff and may continue to see consistent reps if Kerley’s stock continues to remain low at One Jets Drive.

Take A Lap

Quinton Coples

As I wrote earlier, Coples is a guy that is firmly “On The Schneid” this season and did nothing in this game to create any momentum towards getting off of said schneid. After seeing a significant amount of action in the base package and a good amount of passing downs, Coples failed to make any plays while still looking relatively lost trying to rush the passer from the Outside Linebacker position. Number 98 continues to frustrate fans and scouts alike but one game does not a season make so we’ll give him a sufficient berth but in the interim: TAKE A LAP!

Antonio Cromartie

I might ultimately feel bad if our worst fears our realized and it turns out that Cro sustained a significant injury that could spell the end of his second go-around with the Jets but my God, the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same with Cromartie. I’m specifically referring to the 3rd and 20 play in the first half that saw him get burned by Travis Benjamin as he simply stopped running to admire the ball go over his head and into the arms of Benjamin for a go-ahead touchdown. Having yet to look at the tape, it is entirely conceivable that Cromartie was expecting help over the top from Jaiquawn Jarett but knowing his game like I do, from where I was sitting it looked to be entirely his fault, which given the situation is absolutely inexcusable: TAKE A LAP!

Ryan Fitzpatrick

All told, Fitzpatrick didn’t have a bad day at all, especially when you consider the level of Quarterback play we have grown accustomed to from Jets signal-callers in recent memory. However, he did make a couple of noteworthy mistakes that could have proved costly if not for some heady play by his teammates including the aforementioned interception that was erased by Brandon Marshall and an errant Shotgun snap that the Jets managed to recover while backed up towards their own end. Sure, we may be nitpicking here but mistakes like that could prove to be decisive against better teams so hopefully that beard is aerodynamic.