EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The latest New York Jets stock watch, with risers and fallers from their overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars:
RB Bilal Powell: With Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin on hand for Kevin Mawae’s Ring of Honor induction, Powell delivered a rushing performance that conjured up memories of a young Martin. He ran for a career-high 163 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run. A few notes about the touchdown: It was the longest run by a Jets running back since Adrian Murrell (78 yards, 1996) and the longest touchdown run by a Jet since Bruce Harper (78, 1983). And this: It was the longest run by a Jets running back on his first carry since the merger in 1970. We could go on, but you get the point. With Matt Forte (turf toe) sidelined, Powell set the tone and changed the game.
RB Elijah McGuire: He was overshadowed in high school by Leonard Fournette, a New Orleans-area legend. It was the same in college. Fournette starred at LSU, McGuire at Louisiana-Lafayette. At the draft, Fournette was picked fourth by the Jaguars, McGuire 188th. But on Sunday, McGuire upstaged the future star, bolting through the middle of the defense for a 69-yard touchdown. It was his first touchdown and the longest for a rookie in franchise history. Welcome to the spotlight, Eli.
The offensive line: Good blocking, coupled with a well-designed scheme, resulted in 256 yards on the ground. Powell and McGuire were untouched on their long scoring runs, the first time since 2009 that a team had two rushes of at least 65 yards before first contact or any contact. On McGuire’s touchdown, guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter did a nice job of getting to the second level. Winters took out linebacker Myles Jack, giving McGuire a massive lane. It wasn’t a clean game by the line (five sacks, three penalties), but you can’t argue with 256 yards. And some of those sacks were on quarterback Josh McCown.
DE Kony Ealy: He did his Dikembe Mutombo impersonation, with one rejection after another. Ealy deflected four passes, the most ever by a Jets defensive lineman, according to StatsPass. He turned one deflection into an interception, grabbing the ball out of the air and nearly scoring — a tremendously athletic move. In the final minute of the fourth quarter, he batted a pass on a third-and-goal, forcing Jacksonville to settle for a field goal. The Jets’ scouting report noted a low release point for Blake Bortles, so Ealy and his linemates made it a point to get their arms up when rushing. He has five batted passes for the season; no edge defender in the league has more than two, per Pro Football Focus.
P Lachlan Edwards & PK Chandler Catanzaro: This got lost in the madness of overtime, but Edwards’ 70-yard punt changed the field position and put the Jaguars in a big hole. He also made an impact with his arm. On a fake punt, he threw a 31-yard pass to Marcus Williams. It was a wobbler, but it got there. Catanzaro’s 41-yard field goal in overtime saved the Jets from their first tie since 1988.
This was far from a flawless performance, but we’d be reaching if we singled out an individual player or unit.