New York Jets Game Balls: Put Away Your Towels

Dan Marcus hands out game balls for the New York Jets 20-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers

I didn’t know if I would get the opportunity to write another one of these, given what transpired over the last eight weeks but the New York Jets finally got off the schneid in a big way against the Steelers in what felt like a road game. For those that were in attendance, although it came as no surprise, it felt like Jets fans were outnumbered by a significant margin with the stands awash in black and gold. However, as weird as it sounds, the Jets didn’t give the Steelers fans an opportunity to even get into the game, coming out to a quick start on offense, while the defense managed to do what they couldn’t do all season: turn the ball over. Although they didn’t make it look easy, the Jets came away with their second win of the season and as such here are your oft-imitated but never duplicated Game Balls

Jaiqwan Jarrett

This should come as no surprise as Jarrett, in only his third career start as a Jet replacing a slumping Calvin Pryor, was the best player on the field yesterday. It seemed like they were calling his number on virtually every one of the Jets’ big plays on defense as he recorded 10 total tackles, including a sack and came up with three of the team’s four turnovers, doubling up the defense’s turnover production. It appears as though Rex’s open competition during practice has been working and for that Jaiqwan Jarrett gets his first ever Game Ball.

Michael Vick

At this point even half-way competent Quarterback play will warrant some type of recognition from Jets fans but Vick made enough plays to get the Jets out to an early lead they would never relinquish. Although his numbers won’t jump off  the page, he kept the offense moving and more importantly, did not turn the ball over. A performance like this against a pretty decent team in the Steelers makes people think of what could have been if Rex would have flipped this switch earlier but we don’t deal in “what ifs” here.

It will be interesting to see if Vick can build off of this performance and continue to show that he’s still capable of winning games as a starter in this league and that includes not turning the ball over and of course, staying healthy. Given the Jets blaring needs at the position, he could be auditioning for a role next year as the team will almost certainly bring in a vet to man the offense regardless of whether they draft another Quarterback. But that’s a story for another day, like I said, let’s live in the now and give credit where it’s due.

Marcus Williams

Williams is a guy that virtually came out of nowhere, an opportunity borne out of injuries, desperation, and an inherent lack of talent at the position has turned into a starting gig for the remainder of the season. Although the Jets aren’t asking him to do that much, he is doing a more-than-serviceable job at the position, especially when you consider he was a practice squad player only a few weeks ago. Williams racked up four tackles, two passes defensed, and his first ever Game Ball.

Sons of Anarchy:

I’m giving this Game Ball to the whole unit because each of these guys made a play at one point or another during yesterday’s game with the highlight being Mo Wilkerson’s strip of Antonio Brown in the first half. Considering how deficient the secondary has been, this unit has not really had the opportunity to pin their ears back and rush the passer but yesterday they showed why they are hands down the most talented unit on this team.

Rex Ryan

Say what you will about his antics and his obvious shortcomings as a head coach, if there is one thing Rex knows how to do it’s Game-Plan. It’s even more impressive when you consider this Jets team doesn’t have what anyone would call starting-caliber talent in the secondary. Rex confused Ben Roethlisberger, showing him a number of different looks, mixing and matching different blitzes and coverages en route to turning the Steelers over three times on defense. I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to give him another one before “Black Monday” comes but this Game Ball is well-deserved.

Nick Mangold

This has nothing to do with his play but for absolutely “helicoptering” Steelers’ Safety, Mike Mitchell when he tried to pull a “Schiano” in trying to leap over the line while the Jets were in victory formation. Mangold saw him coming and put his “you know what” in the dirt, in what was a memorable moment in a season that has had so few.

Take a Lap

Willie Colon

I feel like every time I see a flag on offense, the only number that comes out of the official’s mouth is “66.” Colon is a solid Guard but he’s good for at least one penalty a game and did not disappoint yesterday. If there’s one thing you can’t tolerate, it’s self-inflicted wounds and Colon has done his fair share of shooting this team in the foot and for that he will probably limp his way to another team this off-season.

Jace Amaro

The Rookie Tight End has shown flashes of being a legitimate play-maker but he continues to drop the ball in big spots but I guess you have to take the good with the bad with young pass-catchers. It is important to note that Amaro did have a big catch and run negated by a penalty but when you drop the football, you take a lap.