This was a tough loss for several reasons. The chief reason to me is that it fell squarely on poor play by Buster Skrine and Darron Lee. Skrine was the chief culprit, putting together one of the worst games I've ever seen from a corner. Lee was abysmal in coverage, but he continues to flash on rushes from outside linebacker. Every time I see him rush, I wonder if he should never have been forced to attempt a transition from OLB to ILB, as he is terrible at filling holes and covering receivers, but looks great when rushing the passer. There were a lot of players who showed up, but not a lot who looked particularly dominant this week. Jamal Adams is my best example here. Adams was a major contributor to the pass rush, including Wilkerson's INT, as well as filling running gaps. At the same time, he looked pretty bad covering TEs once again, something he will really need to work on if he will eventually become a leader for this defense. While many of the performances were up and down, here are the three that I believe stood out the most:
Bronze Star: RB Matt Forte (41 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards)
I honestly never thought I'd see Forte on this list again, but I have to give him credit for a great game. Forte has mostly been horrendous running the ball, bouncing off his line straight up the gut for one or two yards. Against the Dolphins he suddenly appeared like the elusive back from 10 years ago in Chicago. He made people miss and fought hard for extra yards. He has continued to provide a good outlet for drop-offs and has solid wiggle in the open field for runs after the catch. I really don't think the Jets should be giving him the ball over Powell (with McGuire to spell him), but I have to give Forte credit for looking great this week.
Silver Star: DL Muhammad Wilkerson (4 Tackles, 1 INT)
This may have been the first game in which Wilkerson looked like he deserved a his contract extension. To be fair, he still didn't quite look like he deserved $17M per year, but he was very effective in this game. The interception required an athleticism that few 300lb players possess, and he actually created a fair amount of pressure during the game. Wilkerson will probably need to be traded or cut in the coming months, but it was nice to see the old Wilkerson resurface for a game.
Gold Star: S Marcus Maye (7 Tackles, 1 INT)
I didn't mind when the Jets double dipped in the draft for two reasons. You always take talent and the Jets had no starting quality safeties anyway. I was surprised by the Maye pick because I really knew nothing about him and hadn't watched any tape. Concern grew through preseason and week 2 as I wondered if he didn't fit the FS position. Since then, Maye has been an absolute stud at FS, seemingly always in the right place and giving up nothing deep. Adams has been up and down in the last few weeks and Maye has picked up the slack, regularly stopping plays with brutal (and legal) hits, picking off passes, and looking good in coverage. The tandem of Adams and Maye could be something really special. Considering my helmet stickers alone, they're holding nearly half of the team's gold stars.
So there you go. After seven weeks, the point totals are as follows:
Kony Ealy 6 points (3 silver)
Marcus Maye 6 points (2 gold)
Jamal Adams 5 points (1 gold, 1 silver)
Jermaine Kearse 5 points (1 gold, 2 bronze)
Demario Davis 4 points (2 silver)
Brandon Shell 3 points (1 gold)
Bilal Powell 3 points (1 gold)
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins 3 points (1 gold)
Muhammad Wilkerson 2 points (1 silver)
Chandler Catanzaro 1 point (1 bronze)
Terrence Brooks 1 point (1 bronze)
Leonard Williams 1 point (1 bronze)
Buster Skrine 1 point (1 bronze)
Matt Forte 1 point (1 bronze)