The Jets lost their opener on Sunday. When the team loses, we give out an anti-game ball to a player who contributed to the loss. While this is clearly an excellent name for an award, it is not something desirable.
To the best of our ability, we try to follow two rules with the anti-game ball. First, we try to avoid giving it to the quarterback whenever possible. If your team lost, odds are the quarterback had a bad game. Second, we try to avoid giving it to repeat recipients whenever possible. Who wants to constantly pick on the worst player on the team? Sometimes events are so dramatic that we have no choice but to give it to the quarterback and/or a repeat recipient, but we do our best to avoid it.
With that in mind, Josh McCown is spared. McCown played a miserable game Sunday. One could argue he was the worst player on the field. Still, we have seen plenty of similar performances by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Michael Vick avoid anti-game balls in past years so he is safe for at least one week.
Somebody has to get the anti-game ball, and that somebody is Demario Davis. Don’t be fooled by the box score. Davis did register 14 tackles, but his contribution to the Jets was negative.
Immediately before writing this post, I rewatched every Jets defensive snap on the all 22 coaches film. I put the number of successful Bills plays where Davis was either the primary culprit or had a hand in the defensive failure in double digits. On my first viewing, I thought he played a pretty lousy game, but even I was surprised to see how much of a negative impact he had on the Jets in this game. As you know, not all tackles are created equally. A tackle on a 3rd and 21 run play doesn’t have the same impact as a tackle for a loss on 2nd and 5. I’m not saying Davis made zero positive plays, but it was striking how few of his 14 tackles were a result of him doing something that stood out.
With that in mind, Demario Davis gets my anti-game ball.
Who gets yours?