Welcome to another edition of Bumper Old School Analysis as we review the Packers-Jets game from yesterday.
Let's go old school and recap how the Jets played on Sunday in depth on a position-by-position basis:
Sam Darnold is coming to town
Rookie Sam Darnold put together another great display with a career-high 341 yards and three touchdowns. He's really starting to string together some good performances to finish the season strong.
However, the more skeptical Jets fans will declare that carrying momentum into the end of the season could be meaningless. Much of that pessimism comes from the fact that both Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez had strong finishes to the season in each of their first two seasons.
However, the way it's trending, Darnold's strong finish is a level above what those players achieved, though. Next week will be an interesting test, with New England needing a win to wrap up home field advantage.
The usual deep dive with more in-depth coverage of Darnold's performance will follow later today.
The offensive line gave up two sacks but no other quarterback hits (officially), enabling Darnold to have success in the passing game. However, the run blocking was poor, as the Jets gained just 47 yards on 20 carries with only two runs of more than five yards.
Ding Long Merrily on High
Spencer Long seems more settled at left guard, but the running game has still been pretty weak since he's been there and he's struggled more in pass protection than he did at center.
Long was involved in both sacks that the Jets gave up, as one saw him and Kelvin Beachum mess up the passing off of a stunting end. The other saw an unblocked blitzing inside linebacker get home as Long basically ended up blocking nobody.
Long only gave up one other pressure, but made some positive contributions in the running game as he made a good block at the point of attack on the longest run of the day and a nice block on the move on the option-pitch play for the Jets' first touchdown.
Brian Winters had a solid performance in pass protection this week and had also a good block at the point of attack to spring the longest run of the day in the first quarter.
He was, however, called for a holding penalty that caused a fourth quarter drive to stall, having already allowed his man to get off his block to stuff a run earlier on the drive.
Beachum all ye faithful
Other than the sack on the stunt, Beachum only let his man get to Darnold once and also had a good block on the Jets' first touchdown and on Darnold's fourth down quarterback sneak.
However, he also let his man get off his block to stuff one run and whiffed on a block at the second level.
At right tackle, as anticipated, Brent Qvale fared much better this week as the team were able to prepare to give him help where needed. However, he still had a false start and a personal foul for a chop block. He was also badly beaten at the point of attack on one run stuff.
At center, Jonotthan Harrison gave up a couple of pressures and allowed a few runs to be blown up. He had a couple of good second level blocks though, although he also whiffed on one.
Elijah McGuire continued to display what a good weapon he can be in the passing game with 50 yards and a touchdown on three catches. There were also a couple of near misses down the field.
However, although he once again rushed for a touchdown, McGuire didn't have much success running the ball. His first carry went for 10 yards, but his other 13 carries went for just 25. In his career, in games where he's carried more than 10 times, McGuire has gained just 187 yards on 73 carries for an average of just 2.6 yards, so he's not really establishing himself as a potential workhorse back.
Trenton Cannon didn't get many opportunities this week, although he was used a lot as a decoy on jet sweeps and on a couple of downfield routes. He was also the decoy on the fake receiver screen that led to Darnold's first touchdown pass. Cannon's three touches netted nine yards and no first downs and another target in the end zone was broken up, as he initially got some separation but perhaps wasn't strong enough at the top of the route as he let the defensive back get across him.
At fullback, Dakota Dozier missed his lead block on a short yardage run that was stuffed.
Rudolph the red-nosed Jermainedeer
Jermaine Kearse has had a disappointing season this year, but had a solid performance on Sunday with four catches for 55 yards on four targets, as he and Darnold got the perhaps-underused quick slant working again.
Kearse's longest play of the game went for 29 yards as he dragged defenders with him down the seam. He also added a couple of good blocks.
Kearse's performance was outshone by that of Robby Anderson though, as he kept up his late-season momentum. Anderson had a career-high nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown for the third straight game.
The Jets continue to have good success hitting Anderson on the intermediate routes, which is how they should have been using him all season. Anderson now leads the Jets in catches (47), yards (728), touchdowns (six) and yards per catch (15.5). The average per catch is a career high.
Although Andre Roberts and Charone Peake played 33 snaps between them, the only other wideout to get targeted was Deontay Burnett, who was thrown to twice but both were incomplete.
Still, he must have impressed the coaches with this sensational catch that was out of bounds:
It's beginning to look a lot like Chris' class
On the subject of one-handed catches, what about this snag by Chris Herndon? And this one counted:
Herndon's 82 yards on six catches were a season high and he also scored his fourth touchdown of the year. Darnold hit him on consecutive plays on the final drive to put the Jets in field goal range down at the 15-yard line with a chance to clinch a come-from-behind win.
Jordan Leggett and Eric Tomlinson didn't feature much on offense this week, although Leggett did catch a pass close to the first down marker in the fourth quarter. Tomlinson also had a catch but it was negated by a penalty. He also had a penalty of his own, got stood up on a running play that was stuffed and gave up a pressure in pass protection.
Leonard Williams was looking feisty in the first half, as he picked up a sack and a quarterback hit and wrapped up the runner for no gain on a cutback run. He was driven off the line on an early first down run though.
When Williams left the game just before half time, the Packers had 168 yards and seven points. By the end of the game, they had 540 yards and 44 points. And that doesn't even take into account penalties.
With Williams out, Mike Pennel and Steve McLendon were ineffective at slowing down the Packers running game. Third-choice running back Jamaal Williams had 95 yards on 15 carries, as the pair combined for just one tackle. McLendon added a pressure.
While Shepherd boosts his stock by night
Rookie Nathan Shepherd continues to not see much time but he was pretty disruptive in his brief action on Sunday as he drew a holding penalty and had a quarterback hit. He also burst into the backfield on one running play and although he was unable to make the stop, his teammates cleaned up behind him to limit it to a short gain.
Goodwill to all Henry
Henry Anderson made some good contributions again with a sack, a hit and a good play where he dropped off to break up a screen pass. However, while he was in on a couple of run stops, he was pushed around quite a bit in the running game, especially after Williams' ejection.
Have yourselves Avery little Christmas
Avery Williamson is putting the finishing touches on a career year. Entering this year, his highest number of tackles was 104 and he had a total of eight passes defensed in four seasons. After yesterday's game, Williamson has 115 tackles and six passes defensed. He's also tied his career high with three sacks.
Williamson had some impressive plays in coverage this week, as he made some deep drops and some good plays on the ball. However, he was only in on one run stuff near the line and only generated one pressure as a blitzer despite rushing the passer almost 20 times.
Neville Hewitt played every snap this week and the downgrade in coverage was apparent as he gave up a handful of first down catches and missed a tackle. However, he was productive overall with nine tackles, a sack and two other quarterback hits.
Hewitt was almost the hero though, as he was inches away from winning the game for the Jets. He knocked the ball away from Rodgers on his quarterback sneak but just a split-second after the nose of the football had broken the plane of the goal line.
Gold, Frankie Time and Myrrh
The Jets' edge defenders didn't have much success in this game, although Frankie Luvu was able to record a sack cleaning up as Rodgers stepped up in the pocket. He also had one other quarterback hit and stuffed a third down run at the goal line. He got caught inside badly on an outside run though.
Brandon Copeland had three tackles as he stuffed one run near the line and hustled to chase down two plays from behind. However, Copeland was guilty of losing contain on the edge a few times.
Jordan Jenkins was also ineffective as he had just one tackle and one pressure in over 50 snaps. He also had some issues in the running game as he missed a tackle on one long run and was badly driven out of the play on this one:
Tarell Basham and Bronson Kaufusi also got some reps, mostly in pass rush situations, as each was credited with a quarterback hit.
Let it Mo, let it Mo, let it Mo
Morris Claiborne didn't have a great game on Sunday, as he gave up the winning touchdown in overtime and also had a third down penalty just before half time that led to a Packers field goal. Claiborne gave up a couple of other first downs, including a 42-yard catch.
All I want for Christmas is Tru
Trumaine Johnson had a costly pass interference call on third down in overtime, a play that left him shaking his head because he was in perfect position to break up the pass but the officials deemed he had pushed off.
Over the rest of the game, Johnson had held up well in coverage against Davante Adams, giving up just 26 yards on five targets. However, he gave up two first downs on plays where the safety was late getting over. The question again has to be asked though - if Johnson is holding up well in direct coverage, why are the Jets running schemes that require him to rely on - and occasional be let down by - safety support?
There was one other third down where Johnson's man got downfield for a 33-yard gain but again this was a coverage mix-up. The Packers ran a fake receiver screen and Buster Skrine went with his man to the outside, effectively blocking Johnson's path to follow his man as he leaked downfield and Jamal Adams - who was furious at the end of the play - was unable to react and recover in time.
Skrine had also been called for two pass interference penalties and gave up a few first downs, but he also made some positive contributions with a pass break-up and four tackles within five yards of the line of scrimmage, including one for a loss.
Parry Nickerson was in for one snap as he saw his first action for a while as Skrine missed a play, but he was manhandled by a blocker downfield on the play.
Deck Jamal with boughs of holly
It was a quiet game for Adams this week, who also appeared to be at fault on Jake Kumerow's 49-yard touchdown catch as he and Johnson initially went to cover the same player. That should never have been a touchdown though, as Darryl Roberts badly overpursued on the back end.
For Adams, this was one of his quietest games of the year in terms of impact plays, but he was still productive with a team-high 10 tackles and two pressures.
Adams also had a great pass break-up on Jimmy Graham in the end zone, although unfortunately the official saw that as pass interference.
A Christmas Darryl
Roberts had as really poor game this week. Aside from blowing the play on the Kumerow touchdown, he also had a costly 15-yard penalty for an illegal hit, one other penalty and another missed tackle. He also blew a coverage for a potential touchdown, although Johnson was able to recover back and bail him out.
He was almost able to redeem himself, though, as his 103-yard failed two-point conversion return would have given the Jets a 37-36 win. Unfortunately, he had held the receiver prior to the pass and the Packers converted on the next play.
Chestnuts roasting on an open Myers
With his pro bowl spot secure, Jason Myers missed another field goal this week, although he did redeem himself with a nice tackle and the field goal to send the game to overtime.
He also made all five of his extra point attempts and had five touchbacks.
Laching around the Christmas tree
Lachlan Edwards didn't get much work this week, but did a good job with no return yardage allowed and two of his four punts downed inside the 20.
Andre in a manger
Andre Roberts had another monster game this week, as his 99-yard touchdown up the middle highlighted another tremendous performance. That was pretty easy though, as he only had to elude the kicker. Tomlinson, Basham, Anthony Wint, Peake, Luvu and Leggett all made their blocks on that return as only Herndon really missed his assignment. Tomlinson had another good block on one other return.
In kick coverage, Cannon and Peake once again did good work as gunners, but it was Wint who made the outstanding play, forcing a fumble that Peake recovered with a nice hit on a kick return.
Rontez Miles added a first down run on a fake punt that was well blocked by Jenkins and Copeland at the guard spots.
The Jets once again finished the game in disappointing fashion and made a bunch of frustrating mistakes throughout. However, there were plenty of impressive moments from players who will be hoping to contribute more next season and, of course, there's the silver lining of having improved their draft position.
While it's widely anticipated heads will roll after next week's season finale in New England, we'll have to wait and see what's in store. At least the last few weeks have seen the team being competitive and some of the young players have been able to flourish as a result.