Just when Jets fans thought their team was planning on losing out and playing for a high draft pick over wins, the NY Jets showed a lot of heart Sunday afternoon as Bilal Powell, replacing an injured Matt Forte, had his career game and Bryce Petty in his second NFL start, held his composure and led a comeback win in overtime versus the San Francisco 49ers who are stuck at one win for the season.
Powell, who has been showing potential all week with his average yards per touch and hard nosed running and competent blocking, broke out today as Matt Forte was hurt at the start of the game. Powell rushed 29 times for 145 yards, an outstanding 5 yards per carry, plus 2 touchdowns, and also caught 5 for 34 yards. Petty was 23/35 (66%) for 257 yards and just threw one ill advised interception for his first pass of the game, but then loosened up and took the Jets to victory. His chemistry with young Robbie Anderson was more demonstrative this game as Anderson narrowly missed a 100 yards receiving game with 6 receptions for 99 yards. Tight end Seferian-Jenkins had an impressive catch and run as he broke several tackles to will a first down when the Jets needed it.
Petty stated in his post game interview, “BP is not a #2… It just happens he is behind another great running back.” Brandon Marshall, who had a more quiet game, supported Powell by saying, “He’s special… that was special… very special.” Powell sounded great in the post game interview and said he made sure he found a little kid to give the ball to after his final touchdown to win the game in order to hopefully inspire him to work hard and be someone like it inspired him in high school. He gave a ton of credit to the offensive line in his success.
Brandon Marshall stated that they should have done more roll outs with Petty after he saw him run left, reset and throw a nice completion to a streaking Anderson. That is actually a great idea considering that while rolling out, a quarterback can have a better sense of timing and his limits, like a countdown timer, i.e., you have a certain amount of seconds until you reach the sideline to throw the ball, and knowing that can relax a more inexperienced quarterback so he can focus more on scanning the field.
The Jets defense played well, holding the 49ers scoreless for most of the game after an early debacle and a late field goal. Phil Dawson did miss 2 field goals that he usually makes so that evened the game in the end. There was good pressure on Colin Kaepernick who had a conservative day at 15/26 for 133 yards and 1 TD. The vaunted Jets run defense did give up some major yards to Carlos Hyde, in fact 193 of them and a TD, but were able to hold him enough to prevent any more scores.
The Jets are now at 4 wins, with games versus the Dolphins (minus Tannehill), Patriots and Bills, so they can finish at 6 or 7 wins. Currently teams with worse records are the Browns, Jaguars, 49ers, and Bears, while being tied with the Rams. There are also six 5 loss teams, so could potentially lead to a #11 draft pick, or still a top 4. The Jets should start planning their strategies now because the 2017 draft class does not have a classic NFL quarterback coming out, and the pool will have to be assessed very carefully to position themselves without giving up too much. It has been made clear that players who don’t want to be on the team and play hard despite higher salaries will be moved while Coach Bowles job remains safe. That is a step in the right direction.