The New York Jets ended their four game losing streak with a comeback victory against the now 1-12 San Francisco 49ers, 23-17 in overtime. Many will be frustrated with the win because of draft position but ultimately the Jets were probably locked in to picking between 4th and 6th anyway. This was an encouraging day for many of the younger players on the roster and hopefully will be a game for many of them to build off of going forward.
Offensively, this was the Bilal Powell show. The criminally underused backup running back took advantage of Matt Forte leaving early with an injury and put together a career day: 29 carries, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 catches, 34 yards on 5 targets. One day, one season the Jets will utilize Powell more frequently and properly overall. Elsewhere, Robby Anderson made a handful of big boy catches in traffic, finishing with 6 catches for 99 yards with 12 rushing yards added on. Anderson remains Bryce Petty’s clear favorite target, as he had 11 of them compared to only 5 targets for Brandon Marshall and 7 for Quincy Enunwa. Wesley Johnson had another strong game, making his case to be the team’s starting center next season, paving the way for Powell along with Brian Winters and James Carpenter.
So how about the quarterback? Bryce Petty went 23/35, 257 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 6 sacks and 19 rushing yards (including a 2 point conversion). Petty played much better in the second half than the first half and made a few big plays late, while avoiding any critical late game turnovers (The Fitzpatrick Special). Overall, it was a very average performance against a very bad defense. Petty still holds the football for too long and doesn’t regularly work through his reads, while still struggling with accuracy from time to time. However, at his best, he does give his receivers a chance to make plays down the field and has the necessary arm strength for the intermediate and deep passing game. The next two weeks will be a bigger challenge for him against two AFC East teams with plenty to play for.
Defensively, the unit started out incredibly slow but from about halfway through the second quarter, through overtime, they dominated the game. Carlos Hyde had a disgusting 193 yards rushing but most of the damage was in the first half. Colin Kaepernick was only 15/26 for 133 yards. The Jets sacked him twice (welcome back Marcus Williams and welcome to the NFL Jordan Jenkins with your first career sack). It was an active game for Jenkins, rookie corner Juston Burris and second year nose tackle Deon Simon. Darron Lee is still struggling at times but you can see flashes of his ability. The consistency isn’t there yet but he should be on track to be a competent starter next season.
On special teams, the Jets didn’t do anything to shoot themselves in the foot. Nick Folk was clutch and buried a long field goal to send the game into overtime. Nick Marshall is likely to be the primary returner the rest of the season.
You want to see all the Jets 29 and under playing as much as possible and as well as possible so on that front, today was a fairly encouraging day. It will be interesting to see how they handle a desperate for a win 8-5 Miami team (with their backup quarterback) in primetime.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com