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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Jets Win Ugly!

“This is a game the Jets usually blow. They didn’t today because Sam Darnold was the quarterback.”
-Ray Lucas, Jets Post Game Show, SNY

Amen to Ray Lucas! In a game that was highlighted by big plays with back and forth scoring the Jets came out on top 42-34. Kicker Jason Myers was 7-7 in field goals setting a new scoring record for the Jets. This is the second week in a row a new Jet record was broken. Last week it was the single game rushing yardage by Isaiah Crowell. Watching the game the defensive stats were not good but it was their bend but not break ability that really was a big part of saving the day for the Jets as they celebrated at half time their Super Bowl 3 victory over the then Baltimore Colts. Besides the defense not breaking, on the second play of the game Morris Claiborne had a pick six that was tipped by a Colt Marlon Mack and then by Jamal Adams. The biggest play by the defense may have been another pass interception by linebacker Darron Lee (6 tackles, 2 assists) later in the game. He was in great position and snared his 3rd INT of the season to stop the Colts from driving yet again. Sam Darnold (24-30, 280 yds. 2-TDs, 1-INT) was in control the whole game and he looked great. Two mistakes, a first half interception and a near second half one on a roll out were the only blemishes on an a great day for the 21-year old rookie quarterback. His two touchdown passes were impressive especially his pass to Terrell Pryor (5 Rec., 57 yds., 1-TD) that was a laser of a pass in between a tight window. Darnold is improving game by game and people should not be concerned about his interceptions. Rookie quarterbacks throw interceptions. It is part of the growing process.

After last week the Colts were not going to let the Jets put up gaudy numbers on the ground. The ground game was nowhere close to the Denver game but besides some predictable 1st and 2nd down runs, I thought Jeremy Bates did a great job calling the plays. Case in point was the bubble screen that Jet fans have seen too much of this season only to have Darnold fake it and find rookie tight end Chris Herndon (2 rec. 56 yds. 1 TD) open long for a 32-yard touchdown. In fact on this play both Herndon and Jordan Leggett were open. Sam Darnold spread the ball around like he has been doing every week. He had 7 different receivers catch passes. Unfortunately on Quincy Enunwa’s lone reception he fumbled the ball to the Colts and injured his ankle and never returned. There has been no update on him yet. Robby Anderson dropped a nicely thrown ball in the left corner of the end zone. Anderson usually makes these catches. I said last year and I’ll say it again. Robby Anderson (3 Rec. 39 yds.) has a chance to be a special football player. If he works hard on his short routes he can become a star in this league. Neal Sterling was back and made 2 catches. All of a sudden the Jets have 4 tight ends that play and can catch the ball though Eric Tomlinson keeps getting untimely penalties. Moving forward Sterling and Herndon should get the majority of the snaps for the tight ends. With the offense moving the ball one of the negatives was the number of bad snaps by center Spencer Long. On one of them, it was 3rd down and it killed a drive. Long was also called for being an ineligible receiver down field. Real bad penalty. Besides kicker Jason Myers having a career day and Sam Darnold throwing at an 80% clip, WR Jermaine Kearse was terrific! He caught 9 passes for 94 yards and some were clutch on 3rd down. I have been saying that Pryor should be getting more repetitions than Kearse but Kearse has been as solid as they come since becoming a Jet. He is reliable, clutch and is an excellent locker room presence. His 2017 numbers:
Games started 14, 65 Receptions , 810 Yards, 5 touchdowns. And this with Josh McCown throwing. At 28 years old you cannot put a value on his leadership qualities and this after putting up with Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Branden Marshall. I was against bringing him back but give Mike Maccagnan credit. Kearse remains a great find and is an integral part of a very underrated receiver corp.

The Jets defense came up big on a few plays. They have done great on take aways this year and of all the positions, I have been impressed the most by the Jets linebackers.  Avery Williamson, Brandon Copeland and Darron Lee have looked great. Jordan Jenkins is playing well but not up to the level of the three mentioned. All have played better than anyone would have expected in pass coverage. The most impressive thing about the linebackers in the first six games has been their ability to wrap up running backs and receivers denying them from getting extra yardage. And besides the Lee INT, Williamson had an impressive interception that he almost returned for a TD. The Jets need more help from the defensive line. In the first quarter they had a decent pass rush but it disappeared as the game went on. In the secondary Parry Nickerson did not have a good game. However, I’d take his play every week over Trumaine "overrated" Johnson who was out today and Darryl “cushion” Roberts who loves to play 12 yards off the receiver. Nickerson was out of position too much but at least he is giving a 100% effort. He is a rookie and very quick so let’s see if can grasp the defense. On one touchdown pass by Luck, he leaped and missed it by only about 2 inches. Speaking of defensive backs, I’d like to know what happened to the pre-season wonder Derrick Jones. All we heard during pre-season was how great he was playing.

Special Teams
Hey, pinch me! The New York Jets have pretty good special teams this year. With Myers kicking, Edwards punting and Andre Roberts returning, the ST look solid. Give special teams coach Brant Boyer credit, he has the right personnel in there. Let’s see how long they can keep it up.

Green Tidbits
…..Jeremy Bates should have less shotguns and Darnold over center more often….3rd quarter the Jets defense seemed gassed…..One play that got me was when Colts had a 1st and 20 and got the first down on the first play…..Still don’t like Bowles burning time outs early…..Even without the tipped pick 6 by Morris Claiborne, he is having a great season thus far. Reminds me of the great quote by the Orioles manager Earl Weaver. “Give me 25 guys with a 1-year contract and I’ll win the pennant every year…..Two minute drive by Darnold at the end of the first half that resulted in a field goal was the most impressive drive by Sam so far this year…..Jamal Adams made a great play causing a fumble…..Terrelle Pryor is an incredible athlete. His leaping catch on 3rd down was very impressive…..In the 2nd half Colts RB Marlon Mack looked like Saquon Barkley……Marcus Maye hurt his thumb but I’m not sure he is better than Doug Middleton….Good job by Sam not getting any passes tipped.....Shout out to Jet fan and Green Rewind reader Joly M. who helps me when I butcher the English language getting these articles out…..

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
Jets CB Mo Claiborne scored on a pick-6 with 14:48 left in the first quarter — the fastest defensive TD in team history. He felt he was due after no interceptions last week despite getting his hands on a few balls. "‘I told ya'all.' That's what I was thinking," he said, referring to teammates who razzed him throughout the week.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
They don’t have the look of a champion yet, but they’ve seemingly found a balance between confidence and delusion. The path to prosperity is paved with annoyance, failure and frustration. White noise can drive you crazy if you’re not careful.The Jets hardly looked like world beaters in a 42-34 win against the Colts Sunday, but there was tangible proof beyond the scoreboard that makes you believe that something good is coming. Their young quarterback played with an unflappable coolness that is fast becoming his trademark. Their young, energetic, fast defense made opportunistic plays on a day when their leader admitted that their performance wasn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing. Every last one of them exhibited a resilience that will be necessary if this whole thing is truly going to work. Darnold & Co. weren’t perfect, settling for seven field goals, but they kept scoring, which is hard to complain about, right? All told, Gang Green scored on their final eight possessions (6 FGs, 2 TDs) excluding kneel downs to end the game. Bowles’ defense might have allowed 428 yards, but they made enough plays – including holding the Colts to a pair of field goals after Jets turnovers on back-to-back drives – to win. “It was very ugly,” Jamal Adams said of the defensive performance. But a team that struggled with finishing games last season learned a valuable lesson as easy as A.B.C.: Always. Be. Closing. 

Brian Costello, NY Post
Offense: Grade: B+
The Jets did a lot of good things offensively, but they only reached the end zone twice, settling for seven field goals. Rookie QB Sam Darnold (24-of-30, 280 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 113.9 rating) did a nice job of taking what the Colts gave him. His only forced throw was the interception. The running game did not get going like last week as the offensive line struggled with the Colts’ movement on the defensive line. WR Jermaine Kearse (9 catches, 94 yards) had his best game of the year.

Defense: Grade: C
This was a weird game for the Jets defense. The unit gave up 428 yards and looked helpless at times against Andrew Luck, but it did force four turnovers and managed to come up with some big stops at crucial moments. Holding the Colts to field goals after two turnovers in the first half might have been the defense’s best sequence of the game.

Special teams: Grade: A-
Jason Myers gets the game ball. The kicker accounted for 24 points, kicking a franchise-record seven field goals and adding three extra points. He also had eight touchbacks. It was an otherwise uneventful day on special teams with only one punt for Lachlan Edwards and one punt return for Andre Roberts. A holding penalty on a kick return is the only negative.

Coaching: Grade: B-
The coaches deserve some credit for finding a way to win ugly in this game, but there is a lot to correct from this game. Defensively, the Jets benefitted more from Colts mistakes than from their own game plan. On offense, Jeremy Bates struggled to get the running game going. Todd Bowles got consecutive wins for the first time in over a year, so give him some credit.

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