After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll conclude today with the offense:
Alex in Blunderland
Alex Lewis had started off pretty well at the left guard position since taking over from Kelechi Osemele, but the Jets seem to be getting diminishing returns as he is now entrenched as the full-time starter.
Over his first three starts, Lewis gave up just three pressures, but he's given up two sacks and seven total pressures in the last two. On Sunday, he was the main reason Christian Wilkins got home on this stunt:
After that error, Lewis didn't fare too badly in pass protection, allowing another quarterback hit on a second quarter stunt and also allowing a half-sack late in the game.
Lewis also didn't have a penalty in his first three starts but has three in the last two games, including two (a hold and a false start) on Sunday.
As a run blocker, he had mixed results in Miami, making one good pulling block and getting a good drive on a couple of plays but also allowing his man to get off his block a couple of times and failing to find a man to block in space.
After he started off so well, it seemed like perhaps the Jets had one potential starter lined up for next year and that a reasonable-cost extension could be on the cards. Now that's less of a sure thing.
While he didn't have many flashy plays, Le'Veon Bell contributed 121 yards from scrimmage, albeit only four first downs.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this would be Bell's most productive game of the season, but he did actually rack up 129 scrimmage yards in the game against Cleveland, albeit on six more touches.
Something that seemed apparent was that Bell was a little more direct on some of his runs. For example, this play went for seven in the first quarter, after Bell had no runs of over five yards at all last week:
As we wrote, Bell's hesitant style didn't seem to be working but if Bell attacks a running lane like this from time to time he can be his own change of pace. If linebackers are attuned to staying on their toes ready to react to whatever read Bell makes, then hitting the hole hard like this once in a while could make him more effective. Especially if it means linebackers will be forced to try and plug open lanes and now they're susceptible to being caught on the wrong side of a block when Bell changes direction.
Bell's eight catches all came on dump-off passes as he really hasn't had many chances to show off his route-running abilities. He did pick up a blitz well on the crucial 4th down conversion that kept the opening drive going, but even on that play he was rocked back off his spot and the blitzer had pressure right in Sam Darnold's face.
Apparently Bell is now nursing knee and ankle injuries, although neither is thought to be serious. It will be interesting to see if this affects how the Jets use him going forwards.
Applying the Sun Block
Robby Anderson had another disappointing statline on Sunday - just two catches for 33 yards - but it was another example of a game where he easily could have ended up with much better numbers.
Anderson had one 16-yard catch negated by a penalty and twice got open deep with one being thrown just beyond his fingertips and the other one also overthrown as the pass protection - namely Brian Winters - failed to hold up to yet another stunt. The second one in particular should have been an easy 69-yard touchdown as Anderson ran a drag-and-go route to get beyond the secondary. That play was either well-designed or well-improvised but it's on film now so is less likely to catch the defense out.
Aside from those two deep balls, Anderson wasn't unsuccessfully targeted all game. His two catches came on a downfield route for 22 to the back shoulder and a nice diving catch as he came back to scoop up a low Darnold throw on the run.
That's been an issue all year. Anderson has been targeted at a lower rate than last season, which was never the plan. Although, Anderson saw far more targets in the second half of last year, which led to a jump in his production, so perhaps this coaching staff will also seek to find ways to get him the ball more often.
For what it's worth, his yards per catch average has remained consistent at 15 yards per catch, just as it was over the past two seasons, and his catch rate is only slightly down on last year.
One area where Anderson has shown some growth this year is in his physicality as a blocker. He was wrongly penalized for offensive pass interference on a play where he aggressively shoved a defender onto his back and he also helped Jamison Crowder pick up a first down with this block:
Despite having every reason to be frustrated, so far Anderson's body language and effort levels have remained good. The Jets should reward his patience by finding ways to give him more chances to make plays.
Previously: 3-on-O: Copeland, Hairston, Williams