Jets’ offense takes center stage, offers macabre hope in latest loss
The New York Jets‘ reputation as “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” continued on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
For the second time in three weeks, the Jets relented over half a thousand yards in a single game, surrendering 532 to the Indianapolis Colts in a 45-30 loss that wasn’t nearly as narrow as the final scoreboard indicated.
Colts rushers put up 260 yards on the ground, paced by 172 yards and two scores from Jonathan Taylor, while Carson Wentz contributed 272 yards and three scores through the air, the last of those tallies going to offensive lineman Danny Pinter.
Despite the dreary defensive performance, the Jets (2-6) were able to make something out of a game that saw them lose passing sensation Mike White to an apparent wrist injury.
The team scored 30 points in consecutive games for the first time since a three-game stretch in November 2019 and accumulated 486 yards in defeat, picking up at least 450 for the first time since 1998.
Sure, it was bad, but not every Jets player rolled over so easily. Actually, several players stepped it up and competed until the end, especially Jets X-Factor’s three stars of the game.
— NFL (@NFL) November 5, 2021
- QB Mike White: 7 of 11, 95 yards, 1 TD
- RB Ty Johnson: 61 total yards, 1 receiving TD
- WR Keelan Cole: 5 rec., 66 yards
- WR Jeff Smith: 3 rec., 40 yards
- WR Jamison Crowder: 5 rec., 38 yards
- TE Ryan Griffin: 4 rec., 28 yards, 1 TD
- P Thomas Morstead: 52-yard average (3 attempts)
3rd Star: RB Michael Carter
- 86 total yards
Michael Carter failed to reach the triple-digit yardage plateau—stopping a would-be streak at two games—but he nonetheless continues to serve as a soothing prescience in the Jets’ wary quarterback situation.
Ty Johnson continues to serve as a strong complement, but Carter continues to establish his hold on the Jets’ primary rushing attack.
Despite the lack of a 100-yard landmark, Carter becomes the first Jets rusher to earn at least 85 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games since Matt Forte did so in a four-game stretch during the 2016 campaign.
Elijah Moore with his first career receiving TD ✈️ pic.twitter.com/3Y5wbdugRW
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 5, 2021
2nd Star: WR Elijah Moore
- 7 recs., 84 yards, 2 TD
Elijah Moore has been granted an extended opportunity to make an impact on the Jets’ offense in the medical absence of Corey Davis. The rookie is taking full advantage, earning 151 yards over the last two games.
What Moore has been able to do with instability at quarterback and getting a relatively slow start has put him on pace for a strong rookie season.
“Elijah has had back-to-back good games. … The offense in general, all of them, are playing at a high level,” head coach Robert Saleh said, per the Jets PR team. “The receivers are running routes at a high level, they’re efficient, getting in and out of breaks, and the quarterbacks are doing a good job of getting them the football.”
By earning the first two scores of his NFL career, Moore is the first metropolitan freshman to earn a pair of touchdowns since Stephen Hill did so in his debut in 2012.
— NFL (@NFL) November 5, 2021
1st Star: QB Josh Johnson
- 27-of-41, 317 yards, 3 TD
Josh Johnson has been a professional football staple—not only in the NFL, but in short-lived spring efforts like the UFL, AAF, and XFL—since 2008. But Thursday brought him to unprecedented heights.
Johnson posted his first career 300-yard, three-touchdown came in relief of White and kept the Jets in the ball game as long as he possibly could. A sizable deficit was of no concern to Johnson, who treated every down as if it was a down-to-the-wire thriller.
Granted a major opportunity in a prime-time setting, Johnson was prepared to come through for his beleaguered squad.
“You feel for your teammate, your brother, a guy you’re close to,” Johnson said of his reaction to White’s departure. “You wait for your opportunity and try to take advantage of it. I feel it being a backup quarterback. The second part is that you have to go and lead the offense. For me, even after Year 13, you get butterflies, but you have to settle in and find a way to get to it as soon as possible.”
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Johnson’s emergence, following up White’s historic effort against the Cincinnati Bengals, has helped the developing Jets maintain some offensive grounding while their potential franchise quarterback heals.
Further history was made through Johnson’s efforts, as his 300-plus yard tally was the first stretch of consecutive such games since Ken O’Brien did so single-handedly in 1986.
Who’ll start at quarterback next for the Jets is anybody’s best guess at this moment. New York returns to action next Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags