After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players to look in detail at their performance. We'll start today with the offense:
The formidable Browns defensive line gave the Jets issues all day with nobody having a tougher time than Kelvin Beachum. Beachum was called for three penalties while pass protecting and also got beaten for two sacks and three pressures.
The second half began with consecutive series where Beachum got beaten for a sack by Myles Garrett, putting them behind the sticks and deep in their own territory, which led to two three-and-outs. Not an ideal platform to give your backup quarterback as he's seeing his first NFL action.
It was the speed-to-power moves that caused Beachum the most problems. Garrett drove him back on each of those third quarter sacks and he was also driven back into the quarterback by Olivier Vernon on this play where you can see how unstable his base was:
The three penalties included one holding penalty where he got beaten around the edge and effectively tackled the edge rusher. That one negated a big play, but the pass wouldn't have been completed without the hold.
The other two included one where he had his hands up too high and knocked Garrett's helmet off. However, the other one seemed a big harsh as he was rocked back by another Vernon bull rush and shoved him down without any sign of a grab.
In the running game, Beachum actually had a few good run blocks, but also at least one play where he whiffed badly on his man at the point of attack.
It was as tough a matchup as Beachum will face all year and worth noting that he missed practice with an ankle injury on Thursday and was limited on Friday and Saturday, so he obviously wasn't 100 percent. He should therefore improve from here, provided he doesn't aggravate the ankle or suffer another injury. Long-term though, the Jets will be hoping Chuma Edoga can live up to him promise so they have a viable potential replacement some time soon.
In his first ever NFL game, Luke Falk acquitted himself well. His line was excellent, with 20 of 25 passes completed for 198 yards in just two-and-a-half quarters.
Of course, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as much of that production came against some soft zone coverages and he padded his stats in garbage time. Still, it's more than we've seen from guys like Bryce Petty or Matt Simms when called into emergency action in recent years under similar circumstances.
When given time - which wasn't as rare as you might think as he was only pressured on eight dropbacks - he showed he can deliver an accurate downfield pass on this play:
Falk hits Jamison Crowder for 30 yards here, finding him in an open spot in the two-deep zone. You can see his first read is to Robby Anderson on the left, but then he comes off that and considers checking it down underneath before lofting a nicely timed throw.
As you'd expect, Falk also generated some yardage on short dump-off passes, which will probably be a staple of the offense for as long as he remains the starter. He had one other long downfield completion which was underthrown but Anderson came back to the ball and made a nice sideline catch. He also connected with Anderson on two other intermediate throws and one clutch third down over the middle.
In terms of his reading of the game, Falk wasn't perfect as we noted in the Saucy Nuggets article on Tuesday morning. On third down in the red zone, he threw late to an open Anderson at the back of the end zone and then failed to see an open Crowder underneath on fourth down. That could have got the Jets back in the game.
Nevertheless, it was a nice display by the youngster and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the challenge of facing a top team on a short week of game prep.
What fresh Shell is this?
While the Jets' offensive line were constantly up against it on Monday night, Brandon Shell actually graded out well and only gave up two pressures according to Pro Football Focus.
There were encouraging signs from Shell, but were his mistakes simply not being punished because someone else had already done the damage before his man could get there?
That's certainly true to some extent, as Shell had issues like Beachum did with Vernon and Garrett driving him back so the walls were closing in on the quarterback. That was the case on one of the sacks Beachum surrendered with the quarterback having no chance of an escape route as a result.
To his credit though, Shell was never beaten into the backfield so he did a good job of staying in front of his man and not allowing him to get off the block to complete the play as Beachum had.
Furthermore, Shell made some good contributions in the running game. Here's an athletic play where he pulls to the outside and picks up a clean block on a defensive back in space, then stays on that block so Le'Veon Bell can get to the first down marker:
Aside from that play, Shell got a surge on a few plays, had some good combo blocks and got out to the second level a couple of times. His man did leverage his way off his block to stuff one run and he failed to sustain one at the second level but it was a consistent run blocking performance overall with more positives than negatives.
Shell did let himself down with a false start, but generally speaking was the least of the Jets' problems on their offensive line on Monday night. Hopefully he can sustain that and the interior line will step it up as they get more time together as a unit.
We'll be back with the 3-on-D tomorrow.