The Jets beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Let’s give out some game balls to the top performers.
Zach Wilson: A 10 point fourth quarter comeback is quite a way for a quarterback to begin his second season. That is what Wilson provided in what might have been his finest fifteen minutes of football as a Jet. With the game on the line, he looked confident and decisive. A quarterback can wipe out a lot of bad by delivering in the clutch.
In truth I don’t think Wilson was awful prior to the final period despite some ugly looking numbers. Last year he struggled mightily with pocket presence. On Sunday his movements inside and outside the pocket looked much improved. He did nice work buying himself extra time despite having less than pristine protection in the pocket.
It wasn’t a perfect performance. One of Wilson’s two interceptions clearly wasn’t his fault. I think the other one was, though, and he got away with a couple of shaky decisions. His accuracy was also spotty in the first three quarters.
While it might not have been a perfect game, it was undoubtably a success. The extent to which Wilson builds on this game is something we will know in the future, but he earned a game ball on Sunday.
Alijah Vera-Tucker: As you might be aware, I have never played offensive line in the NFL.
I would have to imagine it isn’t easy to move from right guard to left tackle in the span of a few days, though. Vera-Tucker spent an offseason learning a new position only to go to a more difficult position with minimal preparation. Yes, he played left tackle in college, but he had no reps at that position for almost two years. The level of difficulty blocking edge rushers in the NFL is far higher than in the Pac 12.
With this in mind, it is a credit to Vera-Tucker for having an excellent day protecting Wilson’s blind side. He still might be better suited for guard over the long run, but it should provide the Jets peace of mind to know that he can slide outside to tackle in a pinch and hold up.
Corey Davis: Davis has been a much-maligned figure in the Jets fanbase over the last two years, but he came up big on Sunday with four critical receptions over the final two drives. A fourth down catch with nine and a half minutes left essentially kept the Jets in the game. Davis added a touchdown grab later on the drive and had a pair of huge catches on the game-winning drive. Last year in training camp, Davis and Zach Wilson started developing chemistry. Despite some outstanding young talent at the wide receiver position, it feels like Davis is still the receiver Zach Wilson trusts the most when the game is on the line.
Breece Hall: Hall’s line might not look spectacular, but the Jets did not have stellar line play on Sunday. Grinding out almost four yards per attempt is a solid effort in context. It feels like the Iowa State rookie is starting to take the top running back job from Michael Carter. It was Hall who got the carry when the game was on the line, and he scored the winning touchdown. Just try to leave the ball less exposed and vulnerable to a fumble next time.
Quinnen Williams: It is the nature of Quinnen’s role that he doesn’t always fill up the stat sheet when he is at his best. Sunday he had no trouble with the stat sheet as he registered 6 tackles, a sack, a TFL, and a couple of QB hits as he dominated his assignments.
Lamarcus Joyner: Joyner has gotten as much criticism as any player on the roster during the first month of the season and rightly so. He was terrible the first three weeks. Just as we criticize when a player is bad, we praise when he plays well. Joyner had an excellent game as he registered a pair of interceptions and made a deflection that led to another.
Jordan Whitehead: The league’s worst safety duo the first three weeks was it’s best in Week 4. Whitehead himself had a pick, and a second was wiped out by a penalty.
After a win like that, I don’t see how you could give out anti-game balls. We will stay positive this week and leave things at that.