Brandon Marshall continues to exceed expectations following another 125-yard performance on six catches. While over half of those yards and his lone touchdown came on a shocking coverage breakdown, Marshall took advantage with great speed down the sideline and a tightrope act inside the 10-yard line.
Perhaps his most impressive play saw him catch a pass in the flat on third-and-10 and stiff-arm the defender in the open field to get to the marker. The Jets ran the same kind of play unsuccessfully a few times in the loss to the Bills last month. I guess this is how it was supposed to work.
Of course, Marshall seemed to be banged-up at that time. He totaled 12 catches for 114 yards in the three games that ended with that Bills game. He has averaged nine for 129 since then, a total of 387 yards over those three games.
If he carries on at this rate, he's not only going to break Don Maynard's Jets single-season yardage record (1,434 yards) but he could also exceed his career-high (1,508) and maybe even threaten the Jets' yardage-per-game record. He'd need 452 yards over the last three games to achieve that, which is not that far above his production over the past three. He only needs to average 83 yards per game to surpass Maynard's single-season yardage mark, though.
In terms of the other records, Marshall should break the team's single-season receptions record next week because Al Toon's record from 1988 is 93 and Marshall already has 89. Marshall also has a shot at Maynard and Art Powell's shared single-season receiving touchdown record of 14, having just recorded his 11th of the year.
Eric Decker isn't far behind in that category, with nine touchdowns of his own -- eight of which have been in the red zone. This week, Decker had a big first half with five catches for 59 yards and a score, so -- if you've been paying attention -- you knew he was going to have a quiet second half (two catches, 15 yards). Obviously most of that was down to the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't have to throw much after halftime. Decker was a weapon on third down. They looked for him five times, converting three, including one on a nice whip route to give Fitzpatrick an easy throw.
I'm really starting to appreciate the contributions Quincy Enunwa is making in the running game. This was his most consistently influential game so far as a blocker, although he did get flagged for an illegal chop block on one play. Enunwa's most impressive block saw him pick up a defensive back at the second level and drive him back 10 yards.
Marshall and Decker also made good contributions as blockers. Enunwa also had one catch, on an extremely athletic play where he made a cut-block on an edge-rusher and then got up and ran out to the flat. Only a tremendous read and reaction by one of the Texans defenders prevented that from being an easy big play, but he still made the catch in tight coverage for a first down.
The bad news was that both Devin Smith and Jeremy Kerley were injured. Kerley's injury doesn't seem serious, but came at an unfortunate time since Smith's injury and the fact that Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive could have seen him elevated back to the fourth receiver role and seen him make a case for more playing time.
Smith's injury, assuming it's as serious as it looked, comes at a really bad time. He's struggled all year, having missed almost all of training camp with broken ribs. Smith was already a player who needed some seasoning, and if this injury means he won't get a full training camp next year, then it might not be until 2017 that we see him start to fully realize his potential. His season may have ended on a down-note too, as he was unsuccessfully targeted three times.
At tight end, Jeff Cumberland got a rare target this week, but couldn't get any separation on a fly pattern as the ball was just beyond his fingertips. He didn't contribute much as a blocker, either, as he seemed to get in the running backs' way more often than he got in a defender's way.
Kellen Davis continues to see more playing time than Cumberland and had an inconsistent game as a blocker. He was called for a hold, beaten for a tackle in the backfield and missed a few other blocks.
Next up…we move on to look at the defense where Muhammad Wilkerson's three sacks highlighted a strong effort…