We're going to continue today's analysis with some things you might not have noticed from yesterday's win over the Giants:
Cleared for take-off
As we observed last week, Sam Darnold hasn't been running at all since the season began and we suspected that missing element had been a contributing factor to his ineffectiveness.
That element returned this week and it's no coincidence that this was one of his better games of the season so far.
Darnold scored a walk-in touchdown to cap the first drive, which was the ultimate tendency breaker because nobody expected the option keeper.
However, it was more telling that he took off for a big 24-yard run on the drive after the Giants had taken their first lead. The Jets got an important score on that drive, after having been completely shut down since their first two touchdowns. The five drives since then had netted just three yards in total, but this greased the wheels for the Jets, who added another touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Worth noting on the play is that this was a big blitz by the Giants and was picked up about as well as the Jets have managed to pick up a blitz all year:
Despite the fact non-regulars such as Bilal Powell and Tom Compton were in the game, the Jets picked up and passed off the stunt on the right side, with Compton showing some nastiness at the end of the play to knock his man to the ground.
In this game, especially after this run, Darnold seemed to start making more of the types of play you'd associate him with where he would step up but keep his eyes downfield and find a target.
His first play on the next drive was also something he hasn't done often enough as he looked downfield, sensed the pressure and checked down to Le'Veon Bell underneath for a first down.
If Darnold can build on this performance with more of the same next week, that bodes well for him over the second half of the season, which will improve the outlook and optimism in the longer term too.
Time to face Fats
Is Foley Fatukasi going to make a play like this every week? Because that's going to be a lot of fun to watch:
This week, Nathan Shepherd also had a monster game with one sack, two other tackles for loss and another sack that was negated by a penalty. As predicted, the Jets aren't having any problem replacing Leonard Williams' workload or his statistical production.
Nowhere to run
There were some pretty interesting run defense numbers from yesterday's game, led of course by Saquon Barkley's shocking 13 carries for one yard statline. He wasn't the only one to struggle, though.
On 30 hand-offs by both teams, only one run went for more than four yards. That was Powell's 13-yard run off the right side, with the key block coming from Trevon Wesco who set the edge really well against a defensive end. Other than that run, Powell had just two yards on six carries.
For the Jets, this is a concern insofar as Jonotthan Harrison has taken over as the starting center and the running game has become significantly worse, as was the case last season.
It bodes well for their defensive line though, especially with the patchwork linebacker group.
Of course the Giants did have some absences on their offensive line, which would have been difficult to adjust to having had their five starters miss just one snap between them all year prior to this game. However, the two starters that were out have been struggling all year. And, while Nate Solder having to be replaced by Eric Smith was obviously a factor, this seemed to make more of a difference to the Giants' pass protection than their running game.
Much more analysis to come later today and over the next few days. Please let us know who you'd like to see us feature in more detail in 3-on-D and 3-on-O.