After each game, we're going to highlight three defensive and three offensive players and look in detail at their performance. We'll start today with the defense:
Kevin has a plan for you
The Jets continue to platoon Neville Hewitt and Kevin Pierre-Louis with Darron Lee suspended. Since we took a look at Hewitt last week, let's review Pierre-Louis' contributions this week.
Once again, Hewitt was on the field for first and second down, while Pierre-Louis entered the game with the sub-package on third down. The only exceptions to this pattern were that Hewitt stayed on for one third down in the second quarter (an incompletion) and remained on the field for 3rd-and-10 before the Texans' last field goal, because it was obvious they'd try to run it. Also, Pierre-Louis stayed on the field for a couple of plays after the Texans converted a third down on the final drive.
With Pierre-Louis in the game, the Jets mostly had wins, as the Texans only completed one of eight third downs with him in the game, three of which ended with sacks.
While those sacks were at least partly attributable to coverage, Pierre-Louis' only direct contribution was this nice tackle in the flat.
Pierre-Louis also continues to contribute on special teams, where he didn't record a tackle himself, but helped on one kick-off return by aggressively blowing up a lead blocker.
Based on how they've fared in Lee's absence, the current plan probably won't change but we might see Pierre-Louis' snap count increase against the Packers and Patriots if they spread out and go pass-happy.
The Ront of the litter
Safety Darryl Roberts left the game after the first play of the fourth quarter, giving veteran Rontez Miles his first significant playing time on defense of the season. With Miles in the game, the Jets got a stop to force a field goal, gave up a 75-yard touchdown drive and again made a stop to force them to settle for the last field goal.
Miles was mostly ranging deep but came up to get in on a tackle in the flat on his first snap, although he wasn't officially credited with a tackle.
On the next play he found himself isolated in man coverage in the slot against DeAndre Hopkins and made a good open field tackle to set up 3rd-and-3 (which the Jets stopped):
Miles was credited with one other tackle, and that was also a good open field tackle on Hopkins, this time after he beat Morris Claiborne on a quick slant and then slipped his tackle for 20 yards. Miles did well to prevent a much bigger gain with a diving tackle.
It's probably too small of a sample size to get a read on how effective Miles will be if Roberts can't play next week and they start Miles in his place. However, in the past, he's generally been reliable enough when asked to fill in.
Interestingly, despite the special teams unit playing well this year, Miles' own production has somewhat dried up. Officially, he has just two special teams tackles in six games, having led the league with 15 in 2017 (despite missing September with an eye injury).
Without that production, it will be interesting to see if the Jets see Miles as worthy of being brought back next year.
The Goose is loose
Henry Anderson continues to have a great season as he is coming up big in a contract year. Anderson had three sacks for the first time in his career and now has six on the season.
Anderson has done a great job of collapsing the pocket all year and Saturday's game finally saw him able to finish some opportunities as the Jets did a good job in coverage and Deshaun Watson held onto the ball for too long.
His first sack saw him clean up after pressure from Leonard Williams and Brandon Copeland, but he repaid the compliment to Copeland by helping to flush Watson from the pocket so Copeland could record his own sack by chasing him out of bounds.
His second sack saw him impressively drive the left guard off his spot, but again happened because he was able to clean up when the quarterback was forced to step up, this time due to pressure off the edge from a stunting Frankie Luvu.
Finally, he picked up a pure coverage sack after about 4.5 seconds as the pocket eventually collapsed on 3rd-and-11 and he was able to get to Watson as he tried to escape.
Aside from his three sacks, Anderson was in on one run stuff and had one other quarterback hit, but he made the most of his opportunities as the Jets did a good job of working together as a unit.
The Jets have a tough decision ahead with Leonard Williams, but at least they have the luxury of the fifth year option to kick that can down the road. With Anderson, they have no such luxury. He can command a pretty decent extension having remained healthy and productive all year for the first time in his career. If the Jets are going to bring him back, the price just went up - even if it was more from effort and opportunism than talent and disruptiveness.
We'll be back with the 3-on-O tomorrow.