The Jets are 2-1, had you offered that to me at the start of the season I would have taken it no questions asked. It's much harder to write this article after a victory, as narrowing the selections to just three in a team sport is very difficult. However I've highlighted who I believe deserve them, let me know your thoughts, agreements and disagreements in the comments section below.
Honorable mentions: I wanted to give Geno Smith, Demario Davis, David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, Stephen Hill, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Damon Harrison, Ryan Quigley, Sheldon Richardson and Antonio Allen all honorable mentions. I'll put my top three in tomorrow, but I think all these guys deserve some recognition. Geno made some great throws, but his mistakes narrowly keep him out of the stars. Davis had his best game as a Jet and if he plays like he has the last two weeks every week, he'll be in this article a lot. Harris looks back to his old self. Stephen Hill caught everything thrown his way. The offensive line outside of Vlad (penalties prevent him being here) held the Bills to 0 sacks, a week after Mario Williams had four on his own. Snacks looks unblockable at times and Sheldon Richardson just shows a ridiculous amount of athleticism for a guy his size. Quigley pinned two kicks inside the 20, but he is here for the final kick that pinned the Bills to the 1 yard line.
Third Star: RB Bilal Powell, 27 attempts, 149 yards, 2 receptions, 9 yards.
Bilal looks tremendous to start the season, I barely recognise this guy from the player I had doubts about. John had an excellent article that showcased why he is impressive this year. His first 100+ yard game of his young career, he's showing patience and burst. When the tension was at boiling point in the 4th quarter he came through with some first down runs that were invaluable. He doesn't just hit the hole, his vision allows him to make the cuts to the find the right gap and then his power allows him to break arm tackles and gain important yardage after contact. Ivory may not be 100% all season if this hamstring injury continues to bug him but I'm not too worried about that. Bilal has shown he should be the starter and if he maintains his current performance levels, we will be absolutely fine.
You also can't under-estimate his ability in pass protection, we mention that the Bills didn't record a single sack.....well when Bilal wasn't rushing he was in there blocking a lot of the time. His blitz recognition was excellent, he picked up numerous rushing linebackers and defensive backs. He was also the guy who covered up the snap mistake, when Geno was trying to audible and Mangold snapped the ball. He was in the best position but he still made the play and that was vital at that moment. He also had a couple of 5 yard pick-ups nullified by penalties, he should have gone over 150 yards.
Second Star: Santonio Holmes, 5 receptions, 154 yards, 1 touchdown
How great is it to have a great talent at the receiving position. This team is completely different when you have your QB throwing to a healthy Santonio on 3rd down instead of Clyde Gates. I don't even think Santonio is back to 100% yet which is exciting. However the marked improvement when you compare week one to this performance is noticeable. All of his catches were important, his touchdown grab was just a great route, with a perfectly thrown ball. He made a leaping catch in the first quarter and that seemed to give Geno the confidence to keep going to him. The more they play together the better the communication. He looked sharper, his routes were crisper and his hands looked as good as they were in the 2010 post season game against New England.
He did have a couple of penalties for holding, but who didn't have a flag on Sunday. He more than made up for it with a starring role on offense. I really hope that this is the Santonio that we will see the rest of the season. A hat-tip needs to go to Marty for his offensive game-plan, they mixed up short passes with long bombs, and that puts a lot of pressure on a defense, especially when they come up against such a good route runner as Santonio Holmes.
First Star: DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson, 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
I have a feeling that Wilkerson will be making a lot of appearances in this table throughout the season. He was just flat out dominant, that's the only way to say it. Before Spiller left the game, he had 10 rushes for 9 yards. He is one of the most explosive players in the division if not the league and he had 9 yards. The whole defensive line deserves credit but Wilkerson was in on a lot of those tackles, he draws so much attention and he needs to be double-teamed, opening up other plays to make the plays that show on the stat sheet.
He is explosive, he is powerful, he is athletic and he has a non-stop motor. He chases the play, he tackles hard and he showed off a few moves in the pass rushing game. He got to EJ twice and almost got to him a handful of times. I remember one play where Manuel faked a hand-off to Spiller and kept it himself, Wilks had Spiller and delivered a massive hit that had Spillers head spinning.
Wilks is a monster, there is no other way to put it. He has 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble through three games, but the stats don't tell the whole story, that's for sure.
|Week||Week 1: v Tampa||Week 2: @ NE||Week 3: v Bills|
|First Star||Nick Folk (K)||Demario Davis (ILB)||Muhammad Wilkerson (DT)|
|Second Star||Sheldon Richardson (DT)||Damon Harrison (DT)||Santonio Holmes (WR)|
|Third Star||Geno Smith (QB)||Chris Ivory (RB)||Bilal Powell (RB)|
|Honorable Mentions||Winslow, Harrison, Wilkerson||Powell, Walls, Holmes||Davis, Hill, Geno Smith|
|Player||Total First Stars||Total Second Stars||Total Third Stars|