After a couple of bad performances, the Jets got back on track at home against the Broncos. It was a real complete effort from the coaching staff all the way to special teams. It was a great performance for the team and the fan base after a couple of weeks of hostility following losses.
Sam Darnold put in arguably his best performance of the season against Denver. The numbers might not show that (10/22, 198 yards, 3 TDs & 1 int) but he showed the ability to throw the deep ball, didn’t have happy feet and drove the ball down the field when he needed to. He also had a throw that a 21 year old should not be making in the NFL.
You’d like to see the completion percentage a little higher but there were some drops and uncalled PI’s that attributed to it. This was the first game where he didn’t key on Quincy Enunwa the entire game and it paid dividends.
Running Back: A+
Whenever you have a running back break the franchise record for rushing yards in a game and as a team rush for 323 yards, you’re getting an A+. Michael Nania put it best for Isaiah Crowell: he’s a boom or bust guy. He was the boom this Sunday with an excellent display of both power and elusiveness (15 carries for 219 yards, 14.6 YPC).
Bilal Powell finished with 99 yards on 20 carries and showed just what a 1-2 punch this tandem could be. For now it looks like Crowell will be the feature back with Powell at the number two but if these guys can put up even half the production of Sunday, the Jets and Sam Darnold will be in a great position.
Wide Receivers: B
Robby Anderson looked like the 2017 version of himself putting Bradley Roby and Chris Harris both in a blender on his three catches. His second gear makes him almost impossible to keep up with and Darnold hit on the same shot he missed the previous week against Jacksonville.
Quincy Enunwa had a very off game where he didn’t catch any of his five targets and had some drops. Jermaine Kearse had a nice third and 12 catch for 14 yards on an out and Terrelle Pryor chipped in a phenomenal one handed catch for a touchdown. It was nice to see Anderson step up after having a rough start to the year.
Tight Ends: B+
The Jets put a lot on the tight ends this week especially in the blocking aspect of the game to slow down the Broncos pass rush. They did a tremendous job and even contributed in the passing game. Eric Tomlinson has shown that he’s a very sneaky good YAC guy and Jordan Leggett is slowly but surely coming into his own. Chris Herndon is still going to take some time to get up to speed after missing the entire preseason with an injury.
Offensive Line: A
Sam Darnold only got sacked once and the big guys up front did a great job of paving the way for 323 yards rushing. Brandon Shell continued his upswing with a very good game lined up across from Von Miller. They’ve rightly been criticized the entire season but in the midst of a rough two game stretch, they came up big in what was a must win game for this regime.
Brian Winter is also awesome.
EYES ON RG pic.twitter.com/ANcSYGQ1LA
— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) October 7, 2018
Defensive Line: A
Leonard Williams had two sacks and is starting to show shades of the guy the Jets expected when drafting him with the sixth overall pick. The whole defensive line got great pressure on Keenum when it mattered (not much concerned with the garbage time stats) and made it very difficult for him all day. They also got a great push up front in the run game after the Broncos drive.
Avery Williamson had a very good game against the run, which was what the Jets expected when they signed him this offseason. Jeremiah Attaochu had strip sack and Jordan Jenkins pitched in with a half a sack. The linebackers didn’t get killed over the middle like they did against the Browns and Jaguars until it was garbage time. It was a very positive performance coming off of the last two weeks.
Morris Claiborne and Marcus Maye were phenomenal in coverage Sunday. Claiborne should have had two interceptions and Maye…well Maye won’t be living down that 104 yard interception return that got stopped at the one yard line for a while. Jamal Adams continues to be the leader of this defense. Wherever they line him up, whether it’s in the box or put him in coverage, he seems to have taken that second year leap. The absence of Trumaine Johnson wasn’t really felt.
Buster Skrine is now out with a concussion and Parry Nickerson didn’t show much. Darryl Roberts wasn’t great but he was sufficient. Rashard Robinson was the Jets best cornerback in the preseason and with him being back they should have a stable group moving forward.
Special Teams: B-
Andre Roberts had a 51 yard punt return (and also leads the league with 23.1 yards per return on punts) which saved this grade because he’s been making some bone headed returns that set the Jets up with bad field position. On the flip side, he’s the best Jets punt returner since Leon Washington. Jason Meyers missed a 30 yard field goal but made all of his extra points and was 2/3 on field goals overall.
Credit to Todd Bowles and Jeremy Bates for calling great games on both sides of the ball. Bowles called the defense with the absence of Kacy Rodgers and did a really good job, especially after halftime. He kept the pressure on when we’ve seen the Jets defense come out flat in the second half of games.
Jeremy Bates opened it up for Darnold and Darnold delivered. They got away from the screens to Enunwa as a majority of their plays and mixed in a majority of different runs. We didn’t see the same five or six plays the Jets seemed to run all the time in the first four games. Hopefully Bates looks at this and expands on it facing a depleted Colts defense.