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:
For whom the Bell tolls
Le'Veon Bell racked up 100 yards from scrimmage for just the third time all season and averaged over four yards per carry for just the second time.
On Sunday, he set the tone with a spectacular catch down the field over DJ Swearinger, the first of three first down grabs on the day and his first 20-yard play of the entire season.
A second first down catch came as he leaked into the flat and this one again saw him line up outside:
Although Bell making these plays lined up out wide or in the slot makes it seem like he's been doing this more, he actually only did so on five plays, which is in line with his average for the season. However, it's been a big part of their offensive gameplan all year so it's encouraging to see them start to have success with it.
As a runner, Bell had 49 yards on 12 carries but his last touch came with more than three minutes left in the third quarter. Had it been a closer game, he could've ended up with much bigger numbers. And if he does have some big games down the stretch, perhaps it's not out of the question that he'll get close to a thousand yard season. He only needs to average 88 rushing yards per game over the last five weeks.
While Bell's longest run was a 12-yarder off the right side, he was arguably more impressive on some of his shorter runs, one of which saw him break a tackle in the backfield, one saw him drive his tackler to the first down marker and one saw him drag a defender for five extra yards in the red zone.
As we head into the part of the year where teams with good running games can control matchups, could Bell be starting to peak at the perfect time for the Jets to make a run?
Ty-me for a change?
During preseason, we were led to believe that Ty Montgomery was going to be a big part of the offense this year. However, until last week, the Browns game was the only one in which his snap count was in double-digits.
Over the last few weeks, the Jets have used him a little more and he made some contributions on Sunday, including this first down catch on 3rd-and-long:
Montgomery also had one other big catch and run on a similar play, but that one was negated by a holding penalty. He was targeted one other time but couldn't make a leaping grab over by the sideline.
As a rusher, Montgomery got five carries, all on the same fourth quarter drive. These netted just two yards as he's now averaging less than three yards per carry for the year.
Montgomery also plays special teams but, surprisingly, Vyncint Smith was the only player to get a return in Sunday's game. Montgomery missed his block on that play and Smith got blown up inside his own 15-yard line.
With the offensive line starting to play better and Bell finding ways to contribute while not in the backfield, maybe things are falling into place for a fresh Montgomery to make some key contributions down the stretch.
You dropped a Tom on me
The Jets' offensive line has been better since Tom Compton moved into the starting line-up, but he's still a bit of a weak link at this stage.
On Sunday, Compton was responsible for the only Raiders sack and three of their eight pressures.
The sack came as he initially picked up a stunting lineman but then lost leverage. This allowed his man to collapse the pocket and record the sack as Sam Darnold tried to step up. This was the worst play Compton had in pass protection though:
Compton had a few good blocks at the point of attack, but was less effective on the move, as he failed to find a target while out in front of a screen and on a pulling block.
However, the pattern was that as long as he got his hands on his man, he battled and even if he ultimately lost leverage, he didn't allow his man to get off the block cleanly.
There certainly seem to have been fewer unit-wide breakdowns over the past few weeks, but that could be attributable to Jonotthan Harrison or perhaps is just the line as a group reaping the benefits from their efforts to fix that issue over the course of the season.
The past few weeks seem to show that the current offensive line is good enough to win with. Of course upgrades will be sought, but Compton's value to this team seems clear and they should see if they can bring him back to camp next year, even if they don't intend for him to be a starter.
Previously: 3-on-D: Hewitt, Maulet, Poole