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 stepped up on Sunday with exactly the sort of performance Jets fans would have been hoping to see from at least one of their youngsters. McGuire ran four times for 24 yards and caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Two of McGuire's four carries went for a first down, including this one:
As a pass catcher, McGuire caught one pass underneath, one long one for a big gain as he motioned out wide and blew past a linebacker and one for a short touchdown as he slipped a tackle after making a catch in the flat.
McGuire's output was easily his second best of the year. (He contributed 131 yards from scrimmage against the Jaguars, with 69 of those yards coming on one play). Hopefully there will be more to come over the remainder of the season.
In Wint Condition
Brian Winters' poor season continued as he once again was poor in pass protection and the running game.
This was probably his most costly play, as he allowed pressure on Bryce Petty whose forced throw into traffic was intercepted:
Other than that play, Winters let his man get past him twice in pass protection in the second half, once for a pressure and once for a hit. He also allowed his man to drive him back with a bull rush twice, with one of those leading to a pass being batted down.
In the running game, Winters had a few good run blocks in the first half, but he struggled to maintain this start as the game went on, whiffing on one block at the point of attack, failing to sustain his block on another play and failing to get ahead of his man on a reach block.
Winters now has the fourth-worst guard grade in the entire league according to Pro Football Focus. Making matters worse, James Carpenter is fifth-worst.
The Bryce of Failure
Most of Bryce Petty's best plays came after the Saints took a two-score lead with 7:34 to go. That accounted for 79 of his 179 yards. In fact, 57 of those yards came in the last three minutes.
Whether it took Petty that long to get going and he'll come out with more rhythm next week remains to be seen, but it's more likely he was just able to exploit a complacent Saints defense. Nevertheless he made a good deep throw to McGuire in the third quarter and good downfield completions to the rookies Chad Hansen and Jojo Natson in the fourth.
Of course, there were negatives too. Even with his strong finish, he ended up with a completion percentage below 50 percent, which was hardly surprising because he'd been erratic with his timing and accuracy all day.
This two-point conversion attempt tells us a lot. He tries to force it to Jermaine Kearse, doesn't see Cameron Jordan dropping off and has the ball batted down in the passing lane:
What's especially interesting about this play is that Petty appears to look left before deciding to throw to Kearse. However, it's apparent he isn't actually looking left. He's just giving the illusion of looking that way, in the hope that this will open up the lane for the throw to Kearse. If he was properly considering throwing to the left, he'd have thrown it because Robby Anderson was wide open and would have scored easily.
Clearly he'd made up his mind that he was going to Kearse and the look to the left was designed to set that up. This looking-but-not-seeing is something Geno Smith regularly seemed to be guilty of and it's not a good sign about Petty's development towards being able to run a full speed NFL offense.
There were also command issues for Petty, who must have been at least partly to blame for the numerous pre-snap penalties. However, he arguably showed improved pocket presence, as he was surprisingly only sacked once, eluding a couple of tight situations to set up the throw to Natson and a first down scramble.
It would make sense for the Jets to let Petty air it out a bit more in the next game, but whether or not they do will tell us a lot about their faith in him - or lack thereof.
PREVIOUSLY: 3-on-D: Skrine, Cooper, Ealy