NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets lost yet again, this time in competitive fashion, falling to the Buffalo Bills in Week 7.
The NY Jets lost another game, their seventh in fact. All in a row. The end result was the same as every other game this season, but the journey took a bit of a different approach.
For one half of football, the Jets had life. It might not even have lasted quite that long, but the Jets showed more energy and competitiveness in the first quarter and a half of Sunday’s 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills than they have all season.
The offense, headed by newly-appointed play-caller, Dowell Loggains, looked competent and actually moved the ball quite well. There was pre-snap motion, outside runs, and La’Mical Perine targets in the passing game.
The offense looked born again. Of course, this would all come crumbling down in a disastrous second-half performance, but the signs of life were there.
Meanwhile, the defense did their best bend-but-don’t-break rendition holding the Bills to six field goals on a whopping eight attempts. Buffalo didn’t score a touchdown, but that didn’t stop them from securing the much-needed victory.
Rather than re-hash the negatives again as we seem to do every week, why don’t we flip the script? Let’s focus on the good things — the things that should give Jets fans any semblance of optimism.
We analyze three positive takeaways from the Jets’ Week 7 loss.
Next: 3. Signs of offensive competency
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
3. The NY Jets showed signs of offensive competency
Positives have been few and far between for the Jets’ offense this season. But on Sunday, for the first time all season, the offense looked competitive and put together multiple sustained drives.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains provided a spark by taking over play-calling duties and the result was a multi-faceted offensive attack that saw the Jets move the ball downfield with relative ease.
On their first three drives, they managed the same number of first downs, 13, as they did all of last week. Dowell looked like the offense’s savior — and then the Jets remembered that they were the Jets.
For as promising as the offense looked in the first half, they could not have looked more incompetent in the second half. The Jets ran just 16 plays in the final two quarters and amassed a total of four yards.
In other words, it was business as usual.
After starting off hot, Sam Darnold folded in the second half with multiple costly turnovers and numerous poor reads. Darnold has his first-half flashes, but they were quickly undone by his many mishaps.
That said, the likes of Denzel Mims, La’Mical Perine, and a rejuvenated Frank Gore provided a spark in the first half. For two quarters, the Jets offense had life.
And that’s the most optimistic thing that’s been said about the unit all season.
Next: 2. Quinnen Williams flashes again
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
2. Quinnen Williams flashed again for the NY Jets
Quinnen Williams has been very, very good in 2020 and it’s time that everyone starts to admit that. And on Sunday, the former No. 3 overall pick put together another excellent performance.
Williams picked up his third sack of the season coming on a third-down play in the second half that held Buffalo to a field goal. But that sack was far from his most impressive play of the afternoon.
The 22-year-old toasted center Mitch Morse early in the third quarter beating the reliable veteran right across his face and immediately pressuring Josh Allen. Allen had no choice other than to toss the ball in the direction of his receiver for an incompletion.
Within two seconds from the snap of the ball, Williams managed to beat his man and pressure the quarterback. That’s an elite-level play.
Earlier in the second quarter, Williams blew right past former Jets’ guard Brian Winters and instantly pressured Allen.
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The pass was still completed — thanks, in part, to horrible coverage from struggling safety Bradley McDougald — but that shouldn’t take away from how impressive the rush was. Even if it was negated by a soft roughing the passer penalty.
Williams still needs to become a little more consistent, but we’ve seen far more good than bad from him this season. And if he keeps this up, he’ll solidify himself as a true building block of the defense moving forward.
Next: 1. Rookies shine
1. The NY Jets’ rookie class shined
If the Jets were going to lose this game, this was honestly the best-case scenario. The Jets played their division foes tough and gave them a run for the money, primarily due to the play of a number of young players on the team.
The Jets’ rookies shined in Week 7 on both sides of the ball making it a good day to be Joe Douglas. Douglas has come under criticism lately for the lack of early production from his 2020 draft class, but on Sunday, those critics were — at least temporarily — silenced.
First-round pick Mekhi Becton returned and looked the part of the dominant franchise left tackle that he was prior to his injury, even with a pair of penalties.
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Second-round pick Denzel Mims made his NFL debut and established himself as the Jets’ go-to outside receiver hauling in four passes for 42 yards in the first half before the offense stalled.
Fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine flashed in both the run and pass game receiving 13 first-half touches including a pair of catches and a five-yard touchdown run — his first as a professional.
Even undrafted edge rusher Bryce Huff made a few plays including a massive tackle for loss where he sniffed out an end-around attempt that his elder teammate, Jordan Jenkins, could not a few plays prior.
Of course, it was another solid day for sixth-round punter Braden Mann as well.
The Jets’ rookies showed out in Week 7. And if there’s anything positive to take away from Sunday’s game, that has to be it.