Three Up, Three Down From Jets' Loss To Patriots

The highs and lows for the Jets, after falling to 1-5
Michael Nania
Wed, October 23, 9:58 AM EDT

Three Up

Le’Veon Bell

There is very little positive you can say about the Jets’ performance in Week 7, but once again, Le’Veon Bell was one of the few shining lights in a blowout loss. Bell ran for a season-high 70 yards on a season-best 4.7 yards per carry. As has been the case all season, Bell created nearly all of those yards on his own. In this game, it was all about power for Bell. He did a great job using his size and strength between the tackles to truck over defenders, following it up with impressive wiggle to squeeze out solid gains.

Bell has never stopped giving a 100-percent effort no matter how many points down the team has gone. While the numbers will not back it up, his performance has been elite. The Jets have gotten every penny’s worth out of Bell, but it continues to look more and more unlikely that this offensive line is going to allow him to produce up to his talent level.

Leonard Williams and Quinnen Williams

Leonard Williams most notably picked up a quarterback hit on Brady that led to an (undeserved) interception by Trumaine Johnson.

There was nothing spectacular in the box score from this duo (combined five tackles, 1.5 for loss, two passes defended, no sacks), but I thought they were creating consistent pressure. It seemed like a nice continuation of the improvements made by the duo against the Cowboys in Week 6.

The Jets selected Williams at number three overall to be a game-changing superstar. While he has not quite been that good just yet, the signs that he can be that good have been there. He seems to be continuously getting closer to his sky-high ceiling.

Jamal Adams

Adams made a few impressive tackles short of the sticks, including a really impressive run stop on third down later in the game.

Similar to Bell, Adams has never stopped giving his all on every down this season. He is not a playmaking machine in the box score, but Adams makes a profound impact on the game each week that simple statistics do not capture.

It is very difficult to have two players as good as Adams and Bell on a team this bad. You almost have to feel bad for them, as their elite efforts waste away on an embarrassingly bad team.

One day, Adams will be the highest-paid safety in the league. Joe Douglas better make sure that contract is signed with the Jets.

 

Three Down

Sam Darnold

Darnold went from hero to zero in the matter of one week. It is almost unfathomable that a player could have a week-to-week drop this drastic.

After galvanizing the entire franchise in Week 6, Darnold brought the whole team down in Week 7. In easily the worst outing of his career, he put forth one of the worst quarterbacking performances the world has ever seen. Darnold completed 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards, zero touchdowns, and four interceptions, also losing a fumble. He averaged 2.7 yards per attempt and posted a 3.6 passer rating. Three. Point. Six.

Let’s run through a few tidbits that demonstrate just how awful Darnold was.

Darnold’s 3.6 passer rating was the worst by a Jets starting quarterback since Bryce Petty (no longer in football) posted a 0.0 against the Patriots back in 2016. It was the worst passer rating ever by a Jets quarterback to throw at least 30 passes in a game.

Darnold’s 2.7 yards per attempt average was the worst in Jets history in a game with at least 30 pass attempts.

The last quarterback in the league to throw for fewer than 100 yards and at least four interceptions was Nathan Peterman in 2017.

This performance just comes as a complete shock. It’s hard to explain what got into the man who just eight days prior was single-handedly lifting up an entire franchise.

Whatever the issue was, it goes without saying that it has to be fixed. Darnold’s performance against the Patriots was embarrassing.

Trumaine Johnson

Johnson’s contract is the worst in the NFL and has good argument up against the worst contracts in any sport worldwide. He is an absolutely terrible football player getting paid like one of the sport’s best.

The overpaid corner was toasted for a long touchdown and allowed multiple other big gains with awful coverage. He would have beaten for another long touchdown if he hadn’t taken a blatant pass interference penalty to prevent it.

The Jets need to bench Johnson immediately. Releasing him after the season will already lay a huge dead money hit on the cap sheet, but if he suffers a serious injury, that total would be even greater.

Put Johnson on the bench and give Nate Hairston starting reps. Hairston is younger, cheaper, and a significantly better player who will give a much stronger effort. Johnson is an embarrassment to the organization, and for the sake of smart cap management needs to kept on the inactive list each week until the team can say good riddance after the year.

Offensive line

The Jets offensive line took a big step forward in Sam Darnold’s return game, but just as their quarterback did, they took a huge step backwards against the Patriots.

All of the issues that plagued the unit early in the season returned. Blown protections. Horrible run blocking. Penalties.

Ryan Kalil left the game with an injury before returning, then launched a snap out of the back of the end zone to force Darnold into taking a safety. Following that folly, the Jets benched him for Jonotthan Harrison.

The team would be smart to stick with Harrison for the rest of the season. Kalil clearly is not capable of producing at a competent level in the NFL anymore. He looks exactly like a guy who was dragged out of retirement weeks before the season and did not play a single preseason game.

Harrison would be a surefire upgrade. He may not even be average, but even a slightly below average level of performance from Harrison would be a huge boost over what Kalil provided.

The Jets desperately need to figure out how to mitigate the weakness of this offensive line. If that unit played better against New England, we are probably not sitting here talking about Darnold having a historically bad performance.

It’s on Adam Gase and offensive line coach Frank Pollack to solve this seemingly un-solvable puzzle.

 

By Michael Nania

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