We know from week one the New York Jets are capable of hitting on all cylinders, silencing critics who say they have no offensive weapons or pass rush and delivering a convincing win. The problem has been consistency and making sure *that* team shows up every week or at least close to every week. After a three game hiatus, those Jets were back in a 34-16 pummeling of the overmatched Denver Broncos. This was a clinic in all three phases of the football game and an afternoon filled with redemptive performances for players who had been struggling lately. Most importantly, it was a step in the right direction for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold who compiled three touchdown passes, all on plays of 20 yards or longer.
Let’s start with the most important player, Darnold who finished 10/22, 198 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT with a YPA of 9.0. He was sacked only once and converted two short third downs on QB sneaks. The accuracy numbers do not pop off the page but they are misleading. There were at least two drops on him today and a few borderline pass interference penalties that were missed. He was on target for the most part today and most importantly was on point when attacking down the field, including an absolute dime on Robby Anderson’s second touchdown:
THIS is why you let Darnold play through his mistakes. He missed these throws last week against Jacksonville, learned from it and came back to hit the same passes the following week. You want this learning curve to happen now, not next year in pursuit of a meaningless 8-8 season with Teddy Bridgewater or Josh McCown.
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) October 7, 2018
Darnold was supported by a dominant rushing attack paced by Isaiah Crowell who had the game of his life with 219 yards on 15 carries (!) with 1 touchdown. Bilal Powell added in another 99 yards on 20 carries as the Jets offensive line dominated in the trenches. Crowell played like a man possessed after struggling the past three games, breaking tackles and showing off his home run ability.
Another player who has struggled the past three weeks and had a massive day was the previously mentioned Robby Anderson, who demonstrated why he is one of the league’s best young vertical threats. Through five games, he has three touchdowns over 35 yards and absolutely scorched Bradley Roby on his first touchdown of the day. We are yet to see the Jets offense humming when BOTH Anderson and Quincy Enunwa are rolling (he struggled today with a pair of drops and a holding penalty). Terrelle Pryor also deserves credit for dealing with reduced playing time but still having a key block on Crowell’s touchdown and grabbing a beautiful one handed touchdown late in the 4th quarter.
Credit to Jeremy Bates for putting together a game plan that took advantage of Denver’s struggles with the deep ball and for sticking to the running game despite a slow start.
Defensively, Todd Bowles put together a strong all around game plan, including a myriad of blitzes that Denver could not figure out. Leonard Williams had his best game of the season, finishing with 2 sacks, 3 QB hits and 5 tackles. If Williams can bring this type of effort every single week, he is going to more than earn a massive contract extension from the Jets. This is the player the Jets drafted him to be 6th overall. Jeremiah Attaochu got in the mix as well recording his first sack of the year, while Marcus Maye grabbed a half sack and ran back an interception 103 yards on the game’s final play and somehow didn’t score (yes, really).
The defense bent but didn’t break, regularly tightening up in the red zone. It was a strong outing for the secondary without “top” cornerback Trumaine Johnson and slot corner Buster Skrine who left early with a concussion. Jamal Adams grabbed another TFL and was active around the line of scrimmage as usual.
Last year the Jets had a pair of “unexpected” home wins when they beat Buffalo and Kansas City, both times they followed up with bad losses to teams they “should” have beat in Tampa Bay and Denver, let’s see if the staff and team has progressed enough to handle business at home versus Indy next week and get back to .500.