After each game, we're going to highlight three defensive and three offensive players and look in detail at their performance. We'll wrap up today with the offense:
Kelvin Beachum has been the Jets' best offensive lineman this season. Or, if you prefer, the least bad. That's perhaps harsh though, as Beachum has done well in pass protection this year, surrendering just two sacks and much less pressure than he did with the Jaguars last year.
He's been ineffective as a run-blocker, although that's more of a unit-wide issue. That's illustrated by plays like this where he is tasked with blocking a defensive back on the move but can't get to him quickly enough to create a running lane for Bilal Powell:
Beachum otherwise didn't have any significant negative plays in the running game and held up well in pass protection in the first half.
However, he got beaten a few times after half time, twice losing his man on an inside spin move, the second of which led to the hit that ended Josh McCown's season.
Beachum also had a costly penalty in the first half when he lined up too far off the line of scrimmage negating a catch that would have given the Jets a first down at the Denver 22-yard line. They never got that close again.
On the basis that the Jets can't realistically replace all five of their linemen, the expectation is that Beachum will return next year, despite his $8 million salary. The Jets are already on the hook for half of that sum, anyway, so it wouldn't make sense to cut him unless they could find an adequate replacement for less than $4 million.
Earlier in the season, Jets fans had characterized Austin Seferian-Jenkins as a major priority to get re-signed after the season. There's no doubt he's been a major upgrade over the tight ends the team has had recently, but they're still struggling to find ways to get production from him.
On Sunday, Rich Cimini of ESPN predicted that Seferian-Jenkins was going to have a big game, but he ended up with one yard on one catch. His only reception was a dump-off in the flat on 3rd-and-short that saw him tackled in the open field shy of the marker.
He was targeted three other times, dropping a short pass and failing to bring in two other passes that he got his hands on, including another 3rd-and-short play in the flat.
Seferian-Jenkins is averaging a career-low 7.3 yards per catch and has just two catches that have gone for 20 yards. He's surpassed 35 receiving yards just three times and 50 yards once. He also hasn't (officially) scored a touchdown since week seven and 35 of his career high 44 receptions have come less than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage compared to 35 of 55 before this year.
Seferian-Jenkins impressed earlier in the year with his improved blocking, but he's come down to earth there too. You could sense his frustration from his body language after this bad missed block on the edge:
It wasn't all negatives from Seferian-Jenkins, who at least picked up a first down by drawing a pass interference call and had a couple of good run blocks on the edge. He was also penalty free for the third week in a row, after surpassing his career-high with nine in his first eight games.
Due to McCown's first injury, Bryce Petty finally saw his first action of the season and initially looked pretty good. He completed a dump-off pass to Lawrence Thomas in the flat and then found Neal Sterling outside for a first down. Unfortunately, the Beachum penalty negated that play and then McCown came back in and threw a pick.
It seemed like Petty was ready to go in temporarily and had a couple of plays he was comfortable with. However, once he had to go back in for a longer period of time, he seemed woefully underprepared.
The Jets were 20-0 down when Petty re-entered the game but there were still a few minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Jets more or less shut up shop there and just played out the string.
Rather than try to get Petty some rhythm and confidence against what probably would have been a soft prevent-style defense, the Jets instead opted to keep him healthy and side-step the risk of him making mistakes that might have a negative impact on his confidence. He only attempted three passes in the fourth quarter, all of which were incomplete.
Petty's stats after re-entering the game were awful as he completed just one of his eight throws on a tough grab by Matt Forté underneath.
His best throw was dropped by Robby Anderson at the marker, but he was otherwise inaccurate, badly overthrowing Jermaine Kearse on fourth down, throwing wide of his target twice, behind his man once and underthrowing his man once.
He also had this pass batted down at the line, a possible sign that the game is still moving too fast for him:
The Jets will obviously be able to formulate a better gameplan for Petty now that they know he will be the starter and have the full week to prepare. However, he's facing a very good defense in his first start so he's going to have to be a lot sharper than he was on Sunday otherwise it will be a long afternoon.
What might be interesting is whether Petty has better chemistry with the reserves than the back-ups due to playing more with those players on the scout team. This could see Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart finally getting some looks.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Claiborne, Martin, Bass