Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.
-Grateful Dead, from Uncle John’s Band
There was danger at the door for the Jets when everyone thought the Jets were on easy street at one point in the third quarter. In a game that the Jets should really have won by ten points, typical Jet mistakes kept the Jacksonville Jaguars in the game and even gave them a chance to win. The Jets were bailed out by two penalties. One late in the fourth quarter to negate a Jaguars touchdown and a questionable overtime misconduct penalty called on Jags veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny to give the Jets excellent field position that helped pull this game out. I have been one of Todd Bowles biggest critics about his coaching and clock management. The end the first half helped reinforce my belief. But give Bowles credit! His Jets stayed together doing things on the field we don’t see too often. I was convinced at half time this was the Jaguars game. I even told a lot of my friends who text me during the game that watch the second half and Leonard Fournette wear down the Jets defense. This was not to be the case. On a day when the Patriots dropped a home game and the Bills won to gain first place in the AFC East, the Jets were not to be denied. There is tons of credit to go around but look what the defense did in the second half. They only gave up one score, a field goal and this after an interception that gave the Jags great field position.
Leonard Williams was outstanding today. The way he played was not reflected in the box score with the number of tackles or assists he had. He clogged up the middle a la “Snacks Harrison” and he looked like he was being held on almost every play. Linebacker Demario Davis who did not have a good first half was outstanding in the second half and the overtime. And the same goes for Darron Lee who I was going to smash in this article based upon what he did in the first half. Both of these players rose to the occasion which is what you want your players to do. Linebacker Julian Stanford even made great open field tackle. The rookie safeties played good and Marcus Maye was the better one today coming up with a few big stops. Kony Ealy continues to make game changing plays. He was an inch away from scoring a touchdown after catching his own tipped pass. He tipped a couple more during the game. In fact the tipped pass might have been the Jets best plays on defense today.
The Jaguars opened up the scoring on a 10 play 61-yard drive that ended with a touchdown reception by Leonard Fournette. From the opening of the game, you could just see that Fournette would be a handful and he was. And with the heat, the chance of wearing down the Jets defense was a possibility. The Jets answered with a 75-yard run by Bilal Powell on a play that usually happens against the Jets. Powell got tripped up as he went through the hole leaping over a defender then hitting the turf. The Jaguars thought he was down but Powell had the smarts to get up and run and scored a 75-yard touchdown. The play was challenged to no avail and the Jets tied the score.
In the second quarter the teams traded field goals. The Jets should have had another one. After a great fake punt, it looked like the “Same Old Jets” as the clock management was abysmal causing a 5-yard delay of game penalty and a missed field goal. What a bad taste it left with the typical glass half empty feeling that seem to follow all Jet fans in games like this.
In the third quarter it was all Jets on offense. The Jags initial drive was stalled around mid-field after a third and one run by Fournette was stopped on a great play by Morris Claiborne and Darron Lee. The Jets defense showed some real grit on that play. After the Jags punted, on second down running back Eli McGuire went through a hole, made one beautiful cut and romped 69-yards for a touchdown. It was great play for the 6th round draft pick from Louisiana-Lafayette. McGuire finished with 90-yards rushing on ten carries. He also added two receptions for 32-yards. Matt Forte misses the game with a bad toe and Eli McGuire comes through on his third pro game ever and puts on a show. You can’t make these things up. And remember it was McGuire who had a 4th quarter fumble against the Dolphins last week. With 2:11 to go in the third quarter Bortles goes back to pass and Kony Ely deflects the pass, catches it and only a saving tackle by Bortles kept Ely out of the end zone. The Jets settled for a field goal.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jets were driving and after a 41-yard pass to Robby Anderson, was the play that would have been up there with the butt fumble if the Jets lost. With the play going to the right, McCown throws the ball before Powell turns around. The ball hits the ground and because it was thrown behind McCown, it was considered a fumble (or lateral) and was returned for a touchdown by Myles Jack who was all over the field for the Jags.
The Jets could not close the deal and kept the Jags in it. The Jets got the ball and put a little drive together but punted. The Jags then went three and out. On the next series on a third and six, a McCown pass intended for Powell was intercepted as Powell slipped on that invisible banana that has been following the Jets for decades. Jet fans were preparing for defeat, as the Jags began driving. On the play after the two minute warning Fournette took a short pass and went in for a touchdown. The Jets caught a break and the play was nullified by a holding penalty. The Jags ended up with a field goal to push the game into overtime.
The play was going back and forth with not much happening. The biggest play of the overtime for the Jets was a timely 70-yard punt by Lac Edwards. This is what set the Jets up later in the overtime for the win. When the Jags punted back to the Jets, Kerley returned it for seven tough yards. This is where the Jets caught a break when Paul Posluszny got hit with the 15-yard penalty. With 32 seconds to go in overtime, Catanzaro put the ball right through the center of the uprights. The Jets are now 2-2 going into Cleveland.
….In the first half the Jags had four sacks but had only one in the second half and over time. This is called a coaching adjustment….I was ready to bury Darron Lee and he came through big time…..Four games into the season and no one has signed Revis…..Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an incredible catch jumping straight up between two defenders…..If McCown leads Anderson just a little bit more on that long pass, the game is over right there…..Gotta get the clock management thing right…..Give Bilal Powell credit for getting up and running…..Wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Jermaine Kearse continue to perform better than expected…..Happy for McCown. If you saw the look on his face after the fumble recovery, he looked distraught…..I confess, I wanted Ross Martin instead of Catanzaro.....David Bass another pick up off the scrap heap had a sack…..DL Lawrence Thomas made a great block as a fullback on the Powell long TD run…..
Who Is This Eli?
Here’s the NFL draft profile on Elijah McGuire from before the draft:
The son of the late Elijah McGuire, Sr. (who passed away when Elijah was just 12 years old) led the state of Louisiana in rushing as a senior with 2,603 yards while also throwing for 497 yards and five scores. Since signing on with the Ragin' Cajuns as a running back, he's racked up over 4,000 career yards. He was the Sun Belt Conference's Freshman of the Year in 2013 and first-team all-conference pick (863 yards, eight TD rushing; 22-384, 3 TD receiving), leading the FBS with an average of 8.4 yards per carry. McGuire was named the conference Player of the Year the following season with 1,264 rushing yards (7.6 per carry), 14 scores, and 45 catches for 468 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers were down a bit in his junior year (210-1,058, 13 TD rushing; 33-293, three TD receiving) but he still earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt notice. McGuire set a career high with 232 carries as a senior (1,168 yards, seven TD) and made plays as a receiver (29-238, two TD), so he was recognized as a second-team all-conference selection. McGuire has also returned punts at times over the past three seasons (career totals of 28-197).
STRENGTHS Compact frame with good thickness in legs. Runs with good ball security. Very athletic with plus acceleration. Runs with forward lean and has strong burst through the hole when he sees it. Plant-and-go runner. Able to cut it back two gaps away. Build-up speed to the corner seems to fool linebackers who think they have the angle. Has some subtle wiggle approaching line of scrimmage. Excellent hand-eye coordination as pass catcher. Effective from the slot and into routes.
WEAKNESSES Drops head, causing him to lose sight heading into the hole. Poor feel for spacing of the running lane. Runs too close to defensive linemen when open area is available. Lacks desired downhill toughness. Has no jump cut for optimal elusiveness. Lateral cuts driven by outside foot and lacks width. Will run up blocker's back when there is still yardage to be had. Gives into tackles. Never finished with more than five broken tackles in a single season. Arm tackles throw him off his path. Pass protection needs work.
DRAFT PROJECTION Round 6-7
SOURCES TELL US "He has a foot injury that really did a number on him. I'm not saying he's a physical runner or an early-round pick but he didn't move the same this year after he got hurt. Better player last year for a reason." -- Scout with NFC East team
BOTTOM LINE Has decent size, speed and athleticism, but right now he's a better athlete than running back. His vision is okay, but he is simply too quick to give up on runs rather than competing at a high level. His production fell sharply this past season thanks to a foot injury, but his weaknesses transcend any injuries. He has developmental traits that could land him at the back end of a roster or on a practice squad.
Check out my new blog: Schupak Sports