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 Lewis once again had mixed results at left guard for the Jets. He graded out well as a pass blocker, although he did give up a couple of pressures. That included one where he was bull rushed into Sam Darnold's lap. There was one play where he picked up Jonotthan Harrison's man well after a mistake, enabling a first down completion. Unfortunately, Harrison was flagged for an illegal block to negate that as he tried to get back into the play.
Lewis had the worst run blocking grade on the line according to Pro Football Focus. He had a couple of good blocks, including one on the move. However, he also let his man get off his block to make a play on four separate occasions:
It may surprise you to learn that Lewis is grading out worse than Kelechi Osemele according to Pro Football Focus this season, despite the fact Osemele never played a game with a healthy Darnold. Interestingly, Harrison is also grading worse than Ryan Kalil and Tom Compton is grading worse than Brian Winters. The group is obviously playing better as a unit though. Maybe they were such a mess in the early part of the year, it was difficult to accurately assign the blame.
Connor Hughes from the Athletic reported earlier this week that the Jets really like Lewis - who has developed into a vocal leader for the offensive line group - and implied that they intend to bring him back. Even if they do, they should be looking for upgrades.
A con-Vyncing performance
After his crucial catch and run to help set up the winning score last week, the Jets are obviously gaining in confidence in Vyncint Smith.
Last time Demaryius Thomas was out, they moved Jamison Crowder to the outside and used Braxton Berrios in the slot. This time, Smith played a season high 37 snaps and allowed Crowder to play inside, where he had a big game.
The first two passes to Smith were broken up and then he made a first down catch only for it to be negated by a penalty flag. Smith also fumbled the ball out of bounds as he battled for extra yardage.
He did show some nice playmaking ability on his first official catch of the day though, taking this screen for 31 yards:
Smith had two other short catches, one of which saw him stopped just shy of the marker on third down right before Robby Anderson probably should have drawn a pass interference penalty on fourth down in the end zone.
For the year, Smith - who is still only 23 - has 11 catches in limited opportunities and averages over 14 yards per catch. He's definitely a player who can compete for a roster spot next year and is on the books for 2020 for the minimum.
J-E-F-F, JEFF! JEFF! JEFF!
After missing every preseason game, Jeff Smith finally got into a Jets game and played 14 snaps on offense. He even contributed this nice diving first down catch:
Smith was targeted one other time as a play got extended and he got behind the defense only for Darnold to overthrow him. However, a review of the film showed that Smith slowed up, otherwise he could have marked his debut with a touchdown.
Where Smith really excelled was on special teams. He played four snaps as a punt gunner and was the first man down three times. The first two saw the return man forced to take a fair catch as Smith beat the vice cleanly. The last one saw Smith make a good play to down a rolling punt inside the five, although that should probably have been changed to a fumble recovery and Jets ball.
It's great to see Smith making some contributions and showing that he might be a piece worth taking a longer look at next year.
Unfortunately, for the second game in a row, the Jets have put a player into action for the first time only for them to immediately suffer a season ending injury. Having lost Kyron Brown last week, the Jets lost Smith to a high ankle sprain. Hopefully he can be healthier next year in camp and can make better progress as a result.
Previously: 3-on-D: Basham, Shepherd, Maye