WATCH: Three biggest positives for New York Jets in brutal Week 1 loss
The New York Jets opened their 2019 season at home against the division rival Buffalo Bills. For the first three quarters, it seemed as if the Jets were on track to start the year off with a win. However, a fourth quarter collapse resulted a stunning 17-16 loss. There are always good things to take away from a game, even crushing losses such as this one.
Here's the three biggest positives:
1. Le’Veon Bell didn't look rusty
In one of the most anticipated debuts in recent memory for the Jets, Le’Veon Bell suited up for the first time as a New York Jet in a game. It had been 603 days since he'd played in an NFL game.
When the Jets ran onto the field for their first possession almost everyone in the building knew the first play was going to Bell.
Bell's five-yard run on the Jets' first offensive play enabled him to break Eric Dickerson's record as the fastest player to earn 8,000 career yards from scrimmage.
The former Pittsburgh Steeler was featured heavily early in the game. On his first 25 snaps, he touched the ball 17 times. The majority of Bell's runs were him running between the tackles while almost all of the balls he caught were on swing passes for key third-down conversions.
Bell’s shining moment came on the Jets’ only touchdown drive of the day. He touched the ball three straight snaps including an 11-yard reception and a nine-yard reception for a touchdown. He would then catch the two-point conversion in the back of the end zone.
In total, Bell looked pretty good for someone who hasn’t been on a field in almost two years. He rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries and also caught six passes for 32 yards. There were also a few runs in which Bell was a block or broken tackle away from busting one open.
As the offense continues to find its groove so too will Bell. Jets fans should be excited for what Bell has in store this season.
2. Linebacker core steps up to challenge
When Avery Williamson went down for the season during the second preseason game, the concern was finding a suitable replacement to pair alongside C.J. Mosley.
Neville Hewitt got the start today in place of Williamson and stepped up in a big way. He had eight total tackles, one tackle for loss and two QB hits. Hewitt was also a part of the Jets’ turnover party as he caught an interception off a tipped Josh Allen pass.
Other Jets linebackers such as Jordan Jenkins and Blake Cashman also made their presence felt. Jenkins sacked Allen on the first drive of the game resulting in a forced fumble.
Leading the charge however for the linebackers and the defense as a whole was Mosley. The former Baltimore Raven and Pro Bowler was all over the field and was the heart and soul of the defense. It’s no surprise that once Mosley left the game with a groin injury the defense faltered.
Before leaving, Mosley collected five tackles, two pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He also scored the first points of the season for New York when he ran back an interception 17 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Hopefully Mosley's injury isn't severe because the Jets need their anchor on the field.
3. Lachlan Edwards' excellent punting
In a disappointing loss sometimes you need to find positives no matter how small. However, this positive could be one that may turn out to be an underrated plus for the Jets as the season goes on.
You'll seldom see the punter as the player of the game but Lachlan Edwards was one of the stars for New York. His seven punts averaged 43.4 yards.
Edwards was also able to place five of those punts inside the 20 and two of them inside the Bills’ 5-yard line. One of those punts were downed at the Buffalo 2-yard line which resulted in a safety on the very next play.
Yes punting is one of the least glamorous aspects of football however it can prove to be very important especially when talking about field position. It creates the ability to flip the field and make sure the opposing offense has to travel the length of the field for their drives.
Although the Jets would’ve liked to see less of Edwards on the day, knowing you have a punter that can help win the field position battle is a definite plus.