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:
Don't forget to bring a Powell
Much was made of Bilal Powell's 74 rushing yards, a season high by any Jets rusher. However, he was a lot less effective after halftime.
Powell had four first down runs, including this nice burst in the first quarter:
However, Powell also had some negatives. He was stuffed on a fourth down run, dropped a pass and allowed two pressures in blitz pick-up. He also fumbled a hand-off.
Powell also contributed two short catches, one of which turned into a big play as he drew a face mask penalty for a key third down conversion.
With Bell due back, it will be interesting to see if the Jets continue to feature Powell over the remainder of the season. It sounds like Powell is a doubt to play tomorrow night anyway.
Brown Eyes Handsome Man
After being in danger of being cut at various points this season, Daniel Brown's playing time has slowly been creeping upwards. He had 55 snaps in the first half of the year. This increased to 62 snaps over the next four games. In Sunday's game he had a season-high 62 snaps due to Ryan Griffin's early injury. That's almost three times as much as his previous high.
Brown has one touchdown this year but hasn't been particularly impressive in the passing game or as a blocker. However, the team obviously trusts him more in a full-time role than they do Trevon Wesco. The rookie played 11 snaps, which is in line with his usual workload.
In Sunday's game, Brown could have had another big play as he got behind the defense on a broken play but Sam Darnold missed with his downfield throw on the move. However, he did make this first down catch:
As a blocker, Brown was forced to stay in and pass protect 13 times, having only done so seven times over the rest of the season. He didn't give up any pressures, but his man did get to Darnold for a late coverage sack.
In the running game, Brown had a decent block pulling to the left on Powell's biggest run of the day as shown above and had one other good seal block. However, he otherwise struggled, missing his block or failing to sustain on four plays.
Brown has been contributing a lot on special teams this year, having been close to a punt block on a few occasions. On Sunday he had one special teams tackle on a punt. He has five on the year, one behind the team leader, Harvey Langi.
Brown hasn't done enough to warrant sticking around next year so far but if Griffin remains out, he'll get a few weeks to try and produce in a starting role.
Wham Bam thank you, Sam
Sam Darnold once again had a pretty good first half, then faltered in the third, but finished strong down the stretch. That's been a pattern a few times this year. If the Jets can figure out a way to come out of the locker room and be more effective, the youngster could take another step forward.
Darnold definitely had some good moments, including his two touchdown passes. He looked his best when getting rid of the ball quickly, including on a couple of hot reads to counter Miami blitzes.
However, he had some bad moments too. His interception was a terrible decision and he threw into traffic unnecessarily a few other times. His indecisiveness on the late sack was also worrying and almost cost the team the win.
His accuracy was also sub-par. He missed a number of opportunities downfield with Robby Anderson getting behind the defense a few times, a throw slightly behind Demaryius Thomas in the red zone and the aforementioned misfire to Brown down the sideline.
More apparent though was how many opportunities Darnold missed to throw to open receivers. There were a lot of holes in Miami's coverages and Darnold was well-protected enough to exploit these better than he did. Reviewing the all-22 footage underlines how he probably should have had a monster day statistically.
Let's look at a few of them:
On this first play, Brown stayed in to block. However, the back is open in the flat, Anderson is open over the middle and Thomas, while initially covered, is open when the play gets extended and he comes back to the ball. Darnold could have dumped the ball into the flat to Jamison Crowder and then spots Crowder leaking downfield behind the defense. Even this was a makeable throw, but he led him out of bounds with it:
This one came after consecutive first down completions to Anderson and could easily have been intercepted. The back is again wide open in the flat and Vyncint Smith gets open late on the outside at the bottom of the screen. However, the real missed opportunity here is Crowder in the slot, who is wide open for a walk-in touchdown due to the blown coverage.
These weren't outliers either. Darnold threw a high incompletion to Thomas with Anderson open on a crosser, threw downfield when Crowder was open for an easy first down underneath and saw Crowder late as he was open on a 3rd-and-short crosser in the red zone then failed to hit him on the move when he probably should've just carried the ball himself to pick up the first down yardage.
Optimistically, these are opportunities the Jets can identify on film and hopefully Darnold will hit more of them next time. It does give some idea of the potential of the offense, but also shows how far Darnold still has to play at the Peyton Manning level Adam Gase desires.
Previously: 3-on-D: McLendon, Roberts, K. Brown