The New York Jets have responded to a two-game losing streak with a two-game winning streak, coincidentally by beating two teams named after a type of horse, and have worked their way back to a 3-3 record. It was a weird game yesterday verse the baby horses, but it was a game the Jets controlled the entire way. After the game Todd Bowles told his players that this was the type of game that they would have lost in the past, you fans are furiously nodding your head in agreement as were the players.
“Yeah. I definitely see the growth aspect of this team for sure,” Darron Lee said. “I agree with coach, last year we probably would have lost that game. (We) probably had too many penalties, missing assignments or whatnot. That shows the growth of this team. the dedication of this team. And trying to take the step in consistency.”
Lee spoke about the growth of the team, but his specific personal growth as a player was on display again yesterday. Lee has been a completely different player this season, he’s doing everything well. There’s still some hiccups here and there, but overall no player has grown more from last season to this season and he’s a big part of the reason why the Jets defense has the second most turnovers in the league this season with 15. 15 turnovers through six games is a crazy amount of turnovers and of course you can’t expect them to keep up this pace, but the pressure this defense is generating on offenses (not talking specifically about the pass rush, although that has been way beyond what anyone expected, but the aggressiveness as they attack the ball in the air or on the ground) is what is causing the turnovers and even if the turnovers decline the frustration of opposing offenses won’t as long as this defense keeps attacking.
Lee had eight tackles yesterday, six of them solo, and an interception. He was excellent in coverage all game, with one exception on a Colts touchdown where it appeared he turned his man loose, and earned himself a game ball with his play.
Avery Williamson has been outstanding all season long, yesterday he was as outstanding as ever with five tackles, one pass deflection and an interception off of a Morris Claiborne deflection. The Tennessee Titans let Williamson walk this offseason because they thought he was strictly a two-down linebacker but yesterday he was great in coverage as well. Williamson will likely continue to be solid to great game after game, but the flash plays won’t pop out as much. Through six games Williamson has shown to have as much of a positive impact on this defense as anyone and he has some company with that distinction.
The Jets went into yesterday’s game with Truman Johnson and Buster Skrine out, leaving Morris Claiborne as the only regular starting cornerback out there. The Colts receivers are way below acceptable for an NFL team but Andrew Luck is back and as good as ever and Claiborne continued his strong season. Claiborne got the game off to a great start after Jordan Jenkins and Jamal Adams rushed Luck and made him try to force a screen to Colts running back Marlon Mack, after the pass bounced off Mack’s hands, then Adams’ hands Claiborne was there to catch it and run it back for six to give the Jets a quick touchdown lead.
On the offensive side of the ball yesterday was all about the growth of Sam Darnold. Passing stats without context very rarely paint an accurate description of how a quarterback played, but yesterday was one of those rare example. Darnold was 24-30 for 280 yards (9.3 yard average), two touchdowns and one interception for a QBR of 90.5. All the context you really need is of his 30 pass attempts only two of them were bad throws, the interception which started with a low snap had Darnold rushing the play and he stared down Robby Anderson which allowed Malik Hooker to read him and as the pressure collapsed at Darnold’s feet he launched the ball off his back foot for an easy interception. The second bad throw came in the fourth quarter, Darnold took off to scramble for the first down then stepped back as he thought he wouldn’t make it and tried to get too cute and was almost picked. However one of his incompletions might have been his best throw of the game, Darnold threw a gorgeous pass to Anderson in the end zone, where only Anderson could get it and Anderson just couldn’t bring it in. Here’s where I remind you that Darnold is a 21-year-old rookie with a whole lot of room to grow and go ahead and get excited Jets fans because while he still has some kinks that need to be ironed out this kid has all the tools you could hope for.
Jason Myers is the first ever kicker I’ve awarded a game ball to, going seven for seven on field goals will do that. Myers had a long of 48 and made all three of his field goals and once again did a great job on kickoffs leading to touchbacks. Fans were understandably concerned about their kicking situation leading up to the season but Myers has been incredible for most of the season so far.