The Jets annihilated the Raiders today at MetLife Stadium 34-3. This puts the Jets on their first three game winning streak in over two years. More significantly, the Jets took a step up in their competition level this week. Their last two victories came against NFL bottom dwellers, the Giants and Washington. This was a demolition of a quality opponent. When the Raiders made mistakes, the Jets jumped all over them and put the game away.
Simply put, this was one of the finest performances I’ve seen the Jets put together in a long time, and I think it went a long way toward validating the last two wins.
Now let’s talk about what else went right.
Sam Darnold: Darnold continues to play effective football. On this day he added a pair of passing touchdowns and ran for another. Just a few weeks ago, the dreaded ‘b” word was being thrown around as Darnold was struggling (unfairly in my opinion). Over the last three weeks, Darnold has generally made he right reads. He occasionally has done something spectacular. And rather than “seeing ghosts” he is again improvising when things break down and making big plays.
Offensive Line: This was probably the first time all season when I thought the Jets really controlled the line of scrimmage. They at least opened a few holes in the run game and did a really nice job in pass protection. Even when they allowed a few pressures, I thought many were the result of good coverage and perhaps Darnold holding the ball too long. I think the best offensive line combination is the current Kelvin Beachum-Alex Lewis-Jonotthan Harrison-Tom Compton-Brandon Shell alignment. It took roughly a million injuries for the Jets to find it.
Robby Anderson: This was a big game for Anderson as he went 4 for 86 with a touchdown. He made a few contested catches on spectacular Darnold throws. This was a clear bright spot in a difficult season.
Braxton Berrios: He made up for an early mistake in not fielding a punt with a good return and a 69 yard reception.
Le’Veon Bell: The Jets did a better job figuring out how to utilize Bell’s talents by lining him up as a receiver more. They also did a better job of blocking. He responded with over 100 yards from scrimmage.
Ryan Griffin: Griffin celebrated his new contract with another touchdown where the defense didn’t cover him. While the catch will probably get most of the attention, I thought his most significant contribution was throwing the key block on the Darnold touchdown run.
Adam Gase/Dowell Loggains: This was far and away their best called game of the season. They actually got their talented receiving backs out wide to take advantage of matchups. The big Berrios catch was mainly from the design of the formation messing up the defense. I also noticed a few sutble adjustments to maximize core plays. Well done.
Gregg Williams: I can’t say enough about the job Williams is doing with this defense. I have no idea how he is making it work with this personnel, but somehow he is. This was a dominant performance by his unit.
Defensive Line: The guys up front controlled the point of attack and did a good job taking Josh Jacobs out of the game.
James Burgess/Neville Hewitt: It wasn’t in view, but I’m going to give these guys the benefit of the doubt because it looked to me like the Raiders came out trying to attack the Jets in the middle of the field. The defense didn’t do a great job generating pressure, but the coverage frequently held.
Bless Austin/Arthur Maulet: It’s tough for me to get a read on these guys because I think Williams is trying to protect them with scheme, and the Raiders didn’t try to go after them. I will say these guys aren’t afraid to mix it up tackling, which is good. They also aren’t getting beaten.
Brian Poole: He was part of the middle of the field shutdown and had a highlight reel pick six.
Marcus Maye: Maye had a solid game in the back of the defense. He also made a fourth down run stop that essentially ended any chance Oakland had.
Jamal Adams: He didn’t have the monster game of recent weeks, but add X tackles and 0.5 sacks to his line.
The Jets are playing some great football. Now it’s time to avoid a letdown.