Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
The Jets won their third consecutive game on Sunday, but this was a performance that was very rough around the edges. The Browns gained almost twice as many yards as the Jets (419 to 212) but kept shooting themselves in the foot whenever they had a chance to score.
In the second half, the Jets converted in the red zone to take the lead after a Browns turnover, before putting together a 97-yard drive for what would prove to be the clinching score.
Let's start this week by focusing on the offense:
Congratulations to Josh McCown, who won his third consecutive start for the first time ever in the NFL. He managed this despite a slow start that saw the Jets generate just 26 net yards passing in the first 29½ minutes.
McCown continues to be quietly effective, making a lot of simple passes to pad his percentages, and relying on his receivers generating yards after the catch or the occasionally well-designed downfield throw to boost his yardage numbers. The Jets had some nicely designed plays on that long drive, which ended with McCown's second touchdown pass of the day on a pump-and-go route to Jermaine Kearse.
Prior to that, McCown had connected with Austin Seferian-Jenkins for another short touchdown. He also put together a drive over the last 30 seconds of the first half to set up Chandler Catanzaro's long field goal for the only points of the half for either team.
Earlier on in the game, McCown had struggled to get the offense moving. With not much of a running game to speak of, the Browns were able to sit on short and intermediate routes and broke up a handful of his passes near the marker. He was late on one throw to the outside, which was intercepted, and also had one dangerously batted into the air. One positive this week was that McCown did not fumble, after fumbling six times in the first four games.
McCown will face a stiffer test over the next month or so as the quality of the opposition gets tougher. It will be interesting to see how OC John Morton approaches these next few games.
With Matt Forté already out, the Jets had to deal with Bilal Powell also going down injured. Powell hurt his calf in the first half and did not return. Powell had only carried the ball twice when he went down, but had featured in the passing game with four catches -- including a couple of first downs.
Rookie Elijah McGuire was forced to take on the entire workload in the second half, including having to stay in to pass-protect a lot more than he had in the first four games of his career. His 11-yard catch on a dump-off pass set up the Seferian-Jenkins touchdown, but otherwise, his 12 touches generated just 19 yards with only one going for more than a four yard gain.
The Jets employed Lawrence Thomas at fullback again, but he didn't make much of an impact this week. Overall the Jets generated just 25 yards on 13 carries by their running backs.
Seferian-Jenkins played an important role this week, with six catches. While they only generated 29 yards, this included a touchdown and two third down conversions. His other two targets were both broken up, though, and he also had a holding call while run blocking.
Jeremy Kerley continues to be unbelievably reliable. He now has 17 catches on 17 targets. No other qualifying wide receiver has a catch rate of over 90 percent. His 39 yards (on four catches) actually led the Jets this week, and included a big third down conversion to set up Kearse's touchdown and two other first downs.
Kearse was otherwise quiet again this week, as he only had three other catches for 14 yards. None of these went for a first down and one of them saw him fumble the ball out of bounds. Robby Anderson also had a quiet day, although he had a first down catch on the drive that set up the opening field goal. He was unsuccessfully targeted on three occasions, including on McCown's interception.
Despite Seferian-Jenkins' contributions, Eric Tomlinson had the biggest catch of the day on his only target, picking up 34 yards on a crossing route that featured a powerful run after the catch. He once again contributed some good run blocking too.
ArDarius Stewart was the only other receiver to get any touches in his brief time on the field, running for 11 on an end around but getting stuffed for a short gain on a lateral pass to the flat.
Obviously, the offensive line struggled to carve open any holes for their backs in the running game this week, but the pass-protection was mostly pretty good, with one exception. Center Wesley Johnson had some struggles this week in terms of picking up blitzers and getting driven into the backfield.
Brandon Shell made his return at right tackle, but had some shaky moments, allowing some penetration and committing a false start penalty. However, he and left tackle Kelvin Beachum did a pretty good job of eliminating pressure of the edge, with the usual caveat that the Jets' gameplan meant there were a lot of quick passes or extra blockers staying in to make their lives easier.
Brian Winters also had some struggles at the point of attack, especially in the first half. And he also failed to pick up a blitz that led to pressure on McCown. He had a false start as well, for the second week in a row.
Left guard James Carpenter wasn't effective in the running game this week, either, and he allowed rookie phenom Myles Garrett to ghost past him for a sack on the game's first series.
Finally, last week's starting right tackle Brent Qvale got a few snaps as an extra blocker, but didn't make much of an impact.