Here come the Jets, now suddenly a hot team, winners of three straight and clicking on both sides of the ball. A 34-3 win on Sunday over the Oakland Raiders a shot in the arm for a team that now is clearly pointing in the right direction.
The defense did a tremendous job against a solid Raiders offense, limiting Oakland to just 208 yards of total offense. Perhaps most impressive is that Josh Jacobs, one of the best running backs in the NFL, was limited to just 34 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Now 4-7, the Jets are trending upward and talk of unrest among the fans over first-year head coach Adam Gase has gone quiet.
Four Keys from the Jets in Week 12:
Ring the Bell
For the first time since Week 1, the Jets utilized Le’Veon Bell well. Both in the ground game and as a receiver, Bell was an effective part of the offense.
He went for 108 yards of total offense, including a solid 49 rushing yards on 12 carries. It was important to see Bell running the ball effectively, especially after he was a key offseason addition via free agency.
They weren’t huge numbers from Bell, but the Jets running back chugged along, adding another dimension to the offense in the win.
Four weeks ago, there was talk that Sam Darnold, in his second season in the league, wasn’t progressing. What a difference a month now makes.
Darnold has been more than solid over the past three weeks, a rise of form which coincides with the Jets recent winning streak. He has just one turnover in those three games.
Against Oakland, Darnold sparkled. A big afternoon, 22-for-29 for 315 yards and two touchdowns, certainly was a catalyst in the win. So to was no turnovers from the quarterback, a big part of why the Jets offense was so efficient.
Secondary is Primary
The Jets backend was tremendous on the afternoon. Led by safety Jamal Adams (seven tackles, .5 sacks), cornerback Arthur Maulet (seven tackles), safety Marcus Maye (four tackles, one pass defended) and Bless Austin (five tackles, one pass defended), these four paced a secondary that was borderline dominant in the Jets win.
Despite injuries having decimated their depth, it is a group that has grown incrementally over the last three games.
All year long, the Jets run defense had gotten attention, and rightly so. But now the pass defense is rounding into form, and doing so with some unheralded cornerbacks.
Speaking of the Run Defense
The Jets limited Oakland to just two rushing first downs, doing a good job against an efficient and solid rushing team.
Running back Josh Jacobs, one of the best running backs in the league, had just 34 rushing yards on 10 carries. The Jets wanted to make Oakland one-dimensional by taking away the run.
Turns out they made them no-dimensional. The defense was just that good.