The Jets put up 40+ points again this season on Sunday against the Colts for the first time since I’ve been alive. It put the Jets on a two game win streak heading into their toughest home opponent yet in the Minnesota Vikings. Here’s my weekly report card for Week 6.
The second week in a row for the rookie! Each week Sam Darnold plays in an NFL game, the better he’s gotten. This week was the second week in a row where Jeremy Bates opened it up for him more and Darnold delivered. 24/30 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. His touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor was a rocket. Threw it before Pryor even turned around. The touchdown pass to Chris Herndon was a great play call and execution.
However the most important part of Darnolds day was bouncing back after a bad interception where he targeted Robby Anderson. It’s real easy for a rookie to let things spiral out of control but Darnold got right back on track afterwards and didn’t miss a beat. He’s getting better every week which is exactly why you let him play through this season.
Running Backs: B-
After Isaiah Crowells record setting Week 5, he look somewhat hobbled after being injured all week in practice. He didn’t have his usual explosiveness. He still managed a 13 carrie 40 yard day. Bilal Powell ran very well (16 carries, 59 yards). He continues to show why he’s the best back on the roster. Powell ran hard and was picking up some good yards after contact. While it wasn’t the Week 5 numbers from both, both we’re productive enough and showed they can be the viable 1-2 punch we expected.
Wide Receivers: A
Quincy Enunwa went out with an injury and guys stepped up. Jermaine Kearse seems to have developed that chemistry with Darnold and caught nine passes for 94 yards on 10 targets. Terrelle Pryor caught a touchdown and Robby Anderson should have had another.
It was comforting to see this group not fall on their faces when Enunwa went out. This was the second week in a row where Darnold spread the ball out to multiple guys and it’s no coincidence he had his two best games. This group played well when they all needed to step up and I don’t see that changing as we move forward.
Tight End: B
Chris Herndon is rounding into the relatively productive tight end we thought he had the chance to be when the Jets drafted him. He caught both of this targets which included a circus catch and a 32 yard touchdown on a great play call from Bates.
Eric Tomlinson had his only catch called back on a penalty and Neal Sterling caught both of his targets. If Sterling’s health issues are behind him, look for more similar roles (Sterling/Herndon being the receiving tight ends and Tomlinson being the blocking) moving forward.
Offensive Line: B+
The offensive line gave Darnold a whole bunch of time to throw the ball and left him relatively unscathed (sacked twice, only four pressures). The Colts defense isn’t full of world beaters but this is the second week in a row (getting redundant) where the Jets offensive line looked to be what their expected peak is. They blocked well on some runs and kept Darnold upright for the most part. That’s all they need to do moving forward.
Defensive Line: B-
This would have been in the C range had it not been for the goal line stand in the first half. They got NO pressure on Luck. He could’ve made a full course meal back there. They also got gashed in the run game. Leonard Williams had another no stat game but threw Quenton Nelson around like a rag doll that set up the Lee INT. Steve McLendon and Henry Anderson continued their good seasons but even then didn’t get a whole ton of pressure up front. Need to see more sustained success from this group, especially Leonard Williams.
Darron Lee continued his stellar season with another interception and led the team in tackles. Avery Williamson showed me a good deal that he’s not just a two down backer. He recorded an interception as well. He’s also shown he’s a thumper who is the good run stopper the Jets signed him to be.
I’m reserving this paragraph for Brandon Copeland, who had his best game as a Jet. On the goal line stand, he sniffed out a screen pass that started that stand. He was getting some pressure but looked more dynamic than just being an edge rusher.
This Jamal Adams guy? Pretty good. He forced a fumble in a huge spot and got the assist on the Morris Claiborne pick six. Claiborne continues to be the best corner on this roster and it’s not even close. Darryl Roberts only allowed 2 catches for 22 yards in 46 coverage snaps in the absence of Trumaine Johnson. Parry Nickerson could have had his own pick six but struggled mostly in coverage.
Marcus Maye got a stop at the half yard line that kick started the goal line stand but went out with an injured hand that’ll sideline him for a few weeks. He may not put the stats on the board but he’s a huge component for this secondary. His absence will hurt.
Special Teams: A+
Jason Myers is the MVP of the league. My column:
For not really knowing who was going to be the kicker heading into the season, Myers has been all world. 7/7 on field goals and made all three of his extra points. He has accounted for the second most points in the league (63) behind Todd Gurley who has 70. Ever heard of him?
Andre Roberts leads the league in punt return yards but only had one return on Sunday. He also had a 28 yard kickoff return.
Todd Bowles in his second game calling the defense did an average job of it. They got gashed in the run game, got no pressure but did force three turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown. Kacy Rodgers comes back this week from his illness so we’ll how they fare against the Vikings offense.
Jeremy Bates called another great game but needs to get off to quicker starts. It seems like it takes him a couple of quarters to really get it going. That’s fine but if he can put together a complete game with Darnold having the confidence he does now, this Jets offense can unlock a new level.
GIF OF THE WEEK
Chris Herndon Moss’s a Colts defender