On October 18, 2015, Chris Ivory completed a masterpiece of a 20 carry, 146 rushing yards performance against the Washington Redskins. It was his second straight 140+ rushing performance and capped off a magnificent start to the season, in which Ivory ran for 460 yards in just four games, with a gaudy 5.6 yards per carry. Ivory was tearing up the league.
On October 19, 2015 Jets wide receiver/ H-back Quincy Enunwa was suspended for a total of four games. Enunwa is a second year receiver that has shown relatively little in the passing game. He has size and speed, but his actual play has left much to be desired. Many questioned why he had surpassed Jeremy Kerley, a much more polished and accomplished receiver, on the depth chart. Word was the Jets liked Enunwa's size, particularly as it related to his blocking skills, which were considerably better than Kerley's or rookie Devin Smith's. That seemed like a bit of a head scratcher, since we usually don't see decisions as to a team's third receiver made on the basis of who blocks better.
Maybe the Jets were on to something. Enunwa's suspension has coincided precisely with Ivory's precipitous fall from one of the best running backs in the NFL to one of the worst, at least as far as production goes. In the four games since Enunwa's suspension, Ivory has failed to break 100 rushing yards in any game, after doing it twice in his first four games. Ivory has totaled 183 rushing yards in the last four games, a 60% decline from his production in the first four games. He has done that on 73 carries, for 2.5 yards per carry, a 55% decline. Perhaps it is complete coincidence. Perhaps it has everything to do with Ivory's health, or the play of the offensive line. Certainly these seem like more likely causes.
Still, one can't help notice the coincidental drop off a cliff in Ivory's production the minute Enunwa was suspended. Maybe, just maybe, the Jets made a smart decision to get Enunwa snap counts to improve the blocking. Maybe, just maybe, Enunwa's return on Sunday will spark a return of the Ivory we saw in the first quarter of the season. It's probably just coincidence, but wouldn't it be nice if it weren't? Quincy Enunwa, difference maker. Sounds weird, doesn't it? Maybe if we're lucky it won't sound quite so weird within a few weeks of his return. Maybe we're about to see a return to running proficiency, at least partially courtesy of Enunwa. Probably not, but who knows? Could be something to watch for.