NY Jets: The no-names save the day
During the season so far for the NY Jets, the usual suspects Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Chris Ivory have led the way. But something very different happened on Saturday night.
The reason why the Jets are in the thick of the wildcard race in 2015 is because of their superstars. The Jets leading quarterback, running back and #1 wide receiver were acquired for 4th, 5th and 6th round draft choices in the NFL, quite the bargain if you ask me. Without them, assuredly the Jets are again the bottom dwellers in the AFC East.
But the proverbial question on the minds of Jets fans, analysts and critics have been that the Jets’ offense is primarily run through a smaller rotation of guys: the Brandon Marshalls, Eric Deckers, and Chris Ivorys of the world. The attribution to all of this can be witnessed with a simple Google stat search, it speaks for itself.
But the question has been, who will be the ‘third guy’ or the other guy when these options falter? The writers at The Jet Press, ESPN and more have thrown guesses around, but we had no real clue who it would be, until of course that question was answered on the field Saturday night.
We said maybe Devin Smith is the guy, maybe even Jeremy Kerley can get back to being involved, but it was neither of those guys. Quincy Enunwa, a 6th round pick of the infamous John Idzik draft, was one of the unheralded saviors. Enunwa had easily the best game of his career, highlighted by the biggest play of the day.
On third-and-14 in a critical moment in the waning minutes, Enunwa made a highlight reel catch in traffic. It went for 24 yards, putting the ball at the Dallas 3-yard line and setting up Decker’s touchdown in the fourth quarter. Then it was time for someone else to step up as it happened on the very next series.
Kenbrell Thompkins, inactive in four of his nine games with the team this season, beat a bad zone coverage, gaining 43 yards on a sideline ‘go’ route on the final drive of the game to put the Jets in field goal range. And of course, probably the most known of the bunch is third-down back Bilal Powell who delivered another big game, making a team-high 7 grabs for 54 yards and notched his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Bilal Powell’s last 3 games: 269 yards of offense, three touchdowns. That’s pretty good. #Jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) December 20, 2015
Powell has been a good player in a bad situation since being drafted in the 4th round out of Louisville, every time he has produced it hasn’t mattered because he’s been either buried on the depth chart, injured or both. Now since Powell is healthy, he has shown a propensity for big plays in the running and passing game.
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Powell is invaluable to this team: he can pass protect, win in the screen game, break tackles and make a play when the Jets need it most. This kind of production no one expected out of him, but now he has established himself as the primary weapon on third downs and beyond.
The Jets proved that they’re no longer just a top-heavy team, they have depth at key skill positions on offense and this team is dangerous. The Jets have relied on their star power and it has clearly taken them very far this season, but to reach their full potential they’ll have to rely on their other playmakers in critical situations.
It worked on Saturday and the Jets are 9-5 because of it.