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:
Elijah McGuire suddenly found himself as the number one running back after Isaiah Crowell's first half injury and made the most of the opportunity with 83 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches and the game winning touchdown.
This was the highest number of snaps, carries and touches McGuire has ever had in an NFL game. However, he only gained more than one yard on seven of his 17 carries.
McGuire showed good patience on a couple of plays, including the winning touchdown, and was the only running back to gain more than six yards on a carry when he broke out to the second level for a 34-yard run, throwing an effective stiff arm down the field.
McGuire also had three catches, including this one where he slipped a Tremaine Edmunds tackle and trucked a defensive back at the marker:
McGuire was targeted unsuccessfully once on a pass that was deflected at the line and uncharacteristically gave up a pressure in blitz pick-up.
It's likely McGuire will continue to see a bigger workload in this weekend's game, although he may be limited having missed practice on Tuesday.
Having started last week at left guard, Dakota Dozier was again featured in the game plan this week, as a fullback.
The Jets have sprung an unexpected fullback on their opponents before, as they did it with defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas last year. However, we'll have to wait and see if this is something they persevere with or just a one-off.
As with Thomas, the element of surprise may have been a factor as Dozier effectively took out Lorenzo Alexander on his first play:
However, the ball carrier ran into his back a few times as his blocks became less effective. Overall, they ran it six times with Dozier in the backfield, gaining a total of just four yards. However, they still opted to do that on the decisive 4th-and-1 to win the game and Dozier did a good job of leading the way on the move on that play.
Dozier also lined up as a halfback and stayed in to pass protect once and ran a route on one play where he was open underneath but Sam Darnold dumped it to McGuire instead. The first of his nine snaps was a Brian Winters false start.
In the past, when playing at guard, Dozier's blocking on the move has been inconsistent, but he's shown flashes of being good at it, so using him as a lead back could be effective. However, the Jets saw diminishing returns as they started to use Thomas more and more in this role so it will be interesting to see if that happens again once the Jets face teams who are ready for this.
If you can't Beachum, join 'em
As noted earlier this week, the Jets unexpectedly held the Bills without a sack or quarterback hit. However, Beachum was beaten a couple of times in pass protection.
On one play, Jerry Hughes beat him around the edge with a rip move. That flushed Darnold from the pocket and led to his only interception of the game. On another, he was bull rushed into the backfield, again flushing Darnold from the pocket. This time, Darnold escaped the pursuit and threw a touchdown pass to Robby Anderson with an assist from Beachum who chased back to light up Kyle Williams on the back end.
Beachum didn't have much impact in the run game as he allowed his man to penetrate, shed his block and stuff one run for no gain. However, he did drive his man off the line to enable Trenton Cannon to run in behind him for his first career touchdown:
Beachum did a good job of staying on his man on that play and it's also worth paying attention to Chris Herndon, who seals his man to the inside effectively.
Beachum was penalty-free in this game, but has nine on the season, which is a concern. However, his pass blocking numbers are pretty good with only two sacks surrendered. While many Jets fans would like to see the offensive line completely overhauled, it's a good bet Beachum will return next year.
It might be a good idea to draft his replacement in April though. Beachum is a good technician so he would hopefully be a decent mentor.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Johnson, Hewitt, Williams