New York Jets: Top 5 performers in blowout win over Washington
By Steven Blush
The New York Jets dominated the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Here are the top five performers who stepped up to the plate.
New York Jets insiders were concerned about that brutal opening schedule — and things take time to gel under a new coaching staff. So why the shock over back-to-back wins?
True, the Washington Redskins are a lousy football team. But good teams take care of business — they focus on crushing the opponent they face that week. In this particular contest, the Jets dominated from start to finish.
During this 34-17 victory — that’s 34 points back-to-back, Adam Gase haters! — the New York Jets did all those things that winning teams do. Gang Green did not feel like a laughingstock.
Gregg Williams has lived up to his “defensive genius” hype. Last week, the Jets shut down Saquon Barkley (13 carries, 1 yard). This week, Adrian Peterson had nine carries for 25 yards. Williams’ unit savaged and confused Dwayne Haskins into six sacks.
On the subject of RB production, when longest-tenured-Jet Bilal Powell gets on the field and hits the hole, this offense pops (7 carries, 42 yards). So much so that one must wonder if Le’Veon Bell has shaken off his rust — or if his vertical “juking” style requires an elite if not cohesive O-line. But his “cuts” have not worked.
Kelvin Beachum‘s return seems to have solidified the left side of the line. Tom Compton has played at least as well as right guard Brian Winters, but without the devastating penalties. But the Jets’ new front office has been eager to IR players they don’t want to pay for next year. That list includes most of this year’s projected O-line starters. None of those names deserve to return.
This Raiders game at MetLife will be an interesting test. After their Antonio Brown fiasco, Oakland has a winning record, and they find themselves in a divisional title race with Kansas City. They deserve to be favorites, but they are still a long way from a proven winner.
Here are five names who excelled against the ‘Skins, some well-known, some lesser-known, that deserve to play a role for this franchise moving forward:
The New York Jets 2019 season was about developing their young franchise quarterback. After the USC kid’s freak illness, and some ghost-ly games behind an invisible O-line, he’s excelled two weeks in a row. In many ways, this was Sam‘s finest game in green-and-white (four TD passes, 129.8 QBR). Darnold has displayed leadership, behind an offense that amassed 400 total yards, and an opening drive TD for their fourth straight game. Coaches and teammates see a difference.
Part of Darnold’s 2019 growth was predicated on his synergy with receiving TE Chris Herndon. But Herndon blew it, between a DUI suspension and then missing weeks due to poor conditioning, before his season-ending IR. Griffin, who the Texans cut after a dumb drunken incident at the draft in Nashville, has been this year’s nicest surprise, and new GM Joe Douglas‘ top acquisition. The six-year vet outta UConn led the Jets with five catches for 109 yards and one TD.
The 24-year old son of Giants great George Adams is already the best safety in New York Jets history. Another game, another dominant performance, including consecutive three-sack nights, for the heart and soul of this defense. Bart Scott has been saying since before Adams‘ “trade deadline diss” to sign him long-term at a discounted deal that would set the market for safeties, who earn far less than cornerbacks. Gregg Williams has truly brought out the best in Adams.
Following season-ending injuries to ILBs Blake Cashman and Albert McClellan, this third-year pro who played for Gase’s 2018 Dolphins before the injury, got activated from the practice squad. Against the Redskins in Landover, MD, the son of former NFL, CFL, and All-XFL linebacker James Burgess led this defense with five solo tackles, four assists and 0.5 sacks (with 2018 UDFA Frankie Luvu). And Jr. covered tight ends well enough that there were no huge plays over the middle.
After two games, is it too early to call the rangy Rutgers rookie this team’s best young CB since Darrelle Revis? The whole secondary has stabilized with Bless Austin‘s inclusion, he teamed with Arthur Maulet. The kid’s got size and speed, and gridiron instincts — and he can tackle and cover on an elite level. Bless might’ve been a Day One pick were it not for two straight season-ending ACL tears. So while he flashes Pro Bowl skills, can he overcome his alarming surgical history?