This game may be a loss for the Jets, but never has a loss felt so much like a win. Not only did Jets fans get an exceptional performance from their rookie quarterback, but the team is now 3rd in draft position and the Patriots have been kicked out of position for a first round bye. For those fans who are looking toward the draft, this must feel like a win-win-win. So let’s take a look at the top performers:
Bronze Star: K Jason Myers (1 for 1 on field goals)
The Jets lost another one, so the kicker is back and....I’m totally kidding, Myers was a train wreck this week and I would retroactively remove stickers for this type of performance if that were something we do here. Now I just have to fill this out a little bit so that it looks approximately feature length, otherwise I won’t be able to sell the ruse. You can skip down to the next one. Seriously, this rambling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. All right, it’s your time, do what you want. Okay, I think it’s long enough now, onto the real stars.
Bronze Star: WR Robby Anderson (7 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD)
Robby has been extremely hot or cold this season, but this was definitely one of the hot games. In a game in which the Jets receivers, linemen, and running backs all failed to show up, Robby was really the only target for a red hot Sam Darnold. If there had been even one other option on offense in this game, the Jets probably win. However, Herndon remains a raw rookie, Enunwa struggles with health and consistency, Kearse is on his way out, Roberts is a returner, and both young backs showed very little. Fortunately for fans of decent football, Robby provided a plausible target and rode the great game from Darnold to the tune of 7 catches and 96 yards.
Silver Star: DL Henry Anderson (3 tackles, 3 sacks)
Boy, was this a big game for Anderson. The famed Ironman delivered 3 sacks after recording the same number in his first 3 seasons. How rare is it for a Jet to record 3 sacks in a game? According to the vastly superior stat work of Yonkers, the last time this happened was in 2015. While this speaks more to how awful the Jets have been at finding an elite pass rusher than how rare this is in a game (I noticed several from opponents, including 4 or more sack games as well), it really was a great performance for Anderson. He got a bit lucky as the refs may have bailed him out of a sloppy tackle on Watson, but at the end of the day, he still dominated and helped keep the Jets in the game. Yet there was another player who had even more impact, and that player was....
Gold Star: QB Sam Darnold (24 of 38 for 253 yards, 2 TDs, 6 rushes for 35 yards)
This is the performance I’ve waited for to get excited about Darnold. He had a good game in an easy win against Indianapolis, but this was the first game in which it truly felt like Darnold was not only a positive influence on the offense, but that he was carrying the team. Though he had a few risky, ill-advised throws, you won’t find any game this year without a couple of those (unless you’re Philip Rivers), and he more than made up for that with some incredible improvisational skills that the Jets haven’t seen out of their quarterbacks in years. Hopefully this will be the first part of his development that they will discuss while preparing his gold jacket ceremony outside of the new Sam Darnold atrium at the Hall of Fame in Canton.
So there you have it, fifteen weeks in and the table stands:
Jamal Adams 18 points (4 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
Jason Myers 11 points (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
Avery Williamson 6 points (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
Sam Darnold 5 points (1 gold, 1 silver)
Henry Anderson 5 points (1 gold, 1 silver)
Morris Claiborne 5 points (2 silver, 2 bronze)
Andre Roberts 5 points (1 gold, 1 silver)
Quincy Enunwa 4 points (1 gold, 1 bronze)
Darron Lee 4 points (2 silver)
Trumaine Johnson 4 point (1 gold, 1 bronze)
Deontay Burnett 3 points (1 gold)
Isaiah Crowell 3 points (1 gold)
Leonard Williams 3 points (1 silver, 1 bronze)
Jermaine Kearse 2 points (1 silver)
Bilal Powell 2 points (2 bronze)
Robby Anderson 2 points (2 bronze)
Darryl Roberts 1 point (1 bronze)
Jordan Jenkins 1 point (1 bronze)