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:
Can you pay my Wills?
After really showing up on the final drive of last week's game, we were hoping to see more disruptiveness from Leonard Williams this week. He delivered with his highest pressure output of the season, generating pressure several times as he schooled offensive linemen with moves like this one:
Williams' performance still didn't translate to traditional statistics though, as he was credited with just three tackles and two quarterback hits. He also whiffed on two potential sacks to allow Josh Allen to scramble for positive yardage and was called for a roughing the passer penalty.
All three of his tackles were close to the line of scrimmage and he also blew up two runs with penetration on the edge. One of these led to a Buster Skrine tackle for loss, but the other saw the runner cut back and run for a first down.
The debate as to Williams' long-term value will go on and on. It seems inevitable the Jets will simply play him on the fifth-year option next year to delay the decision on what to offer him in a long-term deal.
I don't think Hew do...
The Jets opted to replace Darron Lee by combining Neville Hewitt and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Hewitt played on first and second down while Pierre-Louis entered the game on third down. The only exception to this was on 3rd-and-short on the game's first series where Hewitt stayed in.
While Pierre-Louis had more impact plays despite a much lower workload, Hewitt was still productive as he had seven tackles, including three on running plays close to the line of scrimmage. He was also credited with half a sack.
It wasn't a flawless performance from Hewitt though, who gave up a few plays against the run and in coverage. He missed a tackle in the flat on a short pass that went for a 15-yard gain and was blocked out at the second level on a 15-yard run. He also was fooled on the end around on which the Bills scored their first touchdown.
Hewitt's best play was this one, which saw him make an immediate read, establish outside contain and then keep his outside arm free to make a big hit for a short gain:
In this game, Hewitt - who had only played 16 defensive snaps until Sunday - showed his value as a reserve and potential spot starter at either inside linebacker spot. He is also the team's leading tackler on special teams. However, it will be interesting to see if Pierre-Louis' performance will earn him any additional reps going forwards.
...so you and me are Tru
After an injury-plagued start to the season, Trumaine Johnson is finally playing at the kind of level that warrants the money the Jets are paying him. He has three interceptions over the past two games and, perhaps more importantly, isn't giving up much in the passing game.
Johnson's first interception saw him dropping off deep in zone coverage and reacting well to an errant throw. On the other he came up late to jam the receiver before stepping in front downfield to pick it off.
Early in the game, Johnson closed quickly to stop his man for a short gain after a pass to the flat, although that was negated by a penalty. There were also three plays where the Bills were 20 yards away from a first down on which Johnson gave up a big cushion, surrendering an underneath pass. On one, there was a completion for about a 15-yard gain, although Hewitt was actually closer to the receiver in zone coverage. Another was dropped as Johnson closed quickly to get a hit on the receiver. He made an immediate tackle on the other one to force the Bills to settle for a long field goal, which they missed.
Otherwise, Johnson wasn't targeted, although there was one play where he jammed the receiver at the line and stayed with him as Allen rolled out and eventually threw the ball away. As we discussed earlier in the season, he has excelled in press coverage in the past so it makes sense for him to keep doing that while he's playing well.
Johnson also adds value by making contributions in the running game, including this terrific play:
With three games to go, it will be interesting to see if Johnson can keep up this momentum, especially in this week's game where he might spend significant time matched up with Nuk Hopkins.
We'll be back with the 3-on-O tomorrow.