New York Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York
Once again, the New York Jets were able to escape with a win thanks to a late-game drive engineered by rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
While the Atlanta Falcons were able to mount a comeback, there were a lot of dominant performances by the Jets in all three phases with just a few blemishes.
Here are the roster grades for the Jets following their third win of the season.
Geno Smith: A
This was easily the best game Geno Smith has played all season.
Much will be made about the poise and leadership he showed in his game-winning two-minute drive, but the most important thing Smith did all night was protect the football.
After turning the ball over four times last week, Geno and the rest of the Jets did not turn the ball over a single time—and the Jets were victorious as a result.
Geno also made a few terrific throws that showed off his NFL arm, including an absolute dime to Jeff Cumberland for a long touchdown.
Geno's night was filled with sound decisions, great execution and clutch moments. What more could you ask for out of a rookie?
Bilal Powell: B
Powell’s role was minimized because of the return of Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory, but he was still rather effective in a few key plays late in the game despite his modest 3.2 yards per carry.
Powell’s big runs were timely; his best runs came on the game-winning drive. He overcame some spotty run blocking with his ability to make people miss.
Chris Ivory: B
The Jets’ decision to give Ivory all the time he needed to return from his hamstring injury appears to have paid off. He only received four carries, but he looked as explosive as ever doing so, going for 27 yards.
Mike Goodson: B
The Jets have taken a lot of heat for sticking with Goodson through his legal troubles, but he rewarded the Jets’ loyalty with a few explosive plays. His explosive 26-yard run alone justified the Jets’ decision to keep him around and insert him into the game plan immediately, albeit in a limited role.
Tommy Bohanon: N/A
Bohanon was not given any carries and was not targeted in the pass game. His role will continue to decrease as the rest of the Jets’ running backs get healthier.
Stephen Hill: C-
Hill was virtually invisible for the first 58 minutes, but he added a pair of timely receptions on the Jets’ final drive to help get them into field position.
Jeremy Kerley: A-
Kerley was Geno Smith’s favorite target, reeling in five catches for 68 yards that included a great effort play on a diving touchdown reception around two Falcon defenders. Kerley was able to capitalize on some of the double-teams the Falcons were giving Stephen Hill for a handful of key first downs.
Clyde Gates: C-
Gates only had one catch on the night for a whopping three yards, but he set the Jets up with good field position on an effective 36-yard return—although he loses points for being brought down by the kicker.
David Nelson: C
Nelson gets a bit of a pass because he has had so little time to acclimate himself to a new offense in less than a week. He wasn’t much of a threat as a receiver (two catches for nine yards), but he was an effective blocker in the run game.
Jeff Cumberland: B+
This was Jeff Cumberland's best game of the 2013 season. He got the majority of the snaps at tight end (35 to Kellen Winslow's 19) according to ESPN. He generated two big plays, one of which went for a touchdown and another that set up the ensuing touchdown to Jeremy Kerley.
Clearly, the Falcons were willing to take their chances by leaving Cumbeland with minimal coverage, and he made them pay.
Kellen Winslow: C+
Winslow did account for a one-yard touchdown, but it was his only play of the night. He was clearly not a prominent aspect of the game plan and was reportedly unhappy after the game as a result, according to Matt Winkeljohn of ESPN New York.
It is unclear why Winslow was excluded, since he has been rather productive during the first quarter of the season. This situation bears watching.
Pass Protection: B+
The Jets did give up four sacks, but that statistic is a bit misleading. Outside of a few isolated incidents, the pass protection was usually more than adequate.
When the Jets did surrender sacks, it was a result of an incorrect protection call by Geno Smith as much as it was an offensive lineman getting beaten. One of the sacks was surrendered by rookie guard Brian Winters, starting in his first regular-season game.
Otherwise, Smith had plenty of time to go through his progressions and make big plays down the field that produced nearly all of the Jets' points for the night.
Run Blocking: C
Again, the statistics are a bit misleading in this category. The Jets averaged 5.4 yards per carry on the night, but that number is bloated by a few Geno Smith scrambles. Most of the yards by the running backs were a result of the back creating yards on their own more than quality blocking up front.
The run blocking was far from atrocious, but there was room for improvement in this area, especially against a somewhat underwhelming Atlanta front.
Damon Harrison: A
It was just another day at the office for Harrison, who was excellent against the run for the fifth straight week, recording two stops according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Harrison also provided some pass rush, adding two quarterback hurries to his stat sheet.
Kenrick Ellis: B
Ellis has not been able to crack the starting lineup, but not because he is playing poorly; Harrison is playing at an elite level that few lineman could match.
Ellis still turned in a quality performance, as he blew up a run play on his own despite playing just 10 snaps. If Harrison were ever to go down, the Jets should have no qualms about playing Ellis full-time.
Muhammad Wilkerson: A+
Jets fans have known about Wilkerson's dominance for a while now, but he was able to show off how disruptive he can be on the national stage.
Wilkerson finished with seven tackles (two for a loss) and a sack—a ridiculous stat line for an interior defensive lineman who is supposed to be a two-gapping run-stuffer. The Jets defense was far from perfect, but Wilkerson's play offset a lot of the issues they were having in coverage.
Sheldon Richardson: A
While he was not quite as dominant as Wilkerson, Richardson was a force to be reckoned with in his own right. He finished with five tackles (two for a loss) and a sack of his own.
Not only did Richardson make his mark on defense, he even helped the Jets score points. Lined up as a fullback in a goal-line situation, Richardson drew the coverage away from Kellen Winslow on the Jets' final touchdown.
Leger Douzable: B
Douzable played his usual amount (20 out of 76 snaps) with decent results. He was not a liability against the run and recorded a quarterback hurry in the process.
David Harris: A-
It is official: The old David Harris is back, returning to his dominant form after an odd subpar 2012 season. Harris recorded a ridiculous 14 tackles, nine of which were solo, sniffing out runs and screens.
Harris, however, was victimized in coverage too many times—hence the minus. Tony Gonzalez abused just about everyone who tried to cover him, including Harris, who gave up a 129.4 quarterback rating against him according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Demario Davis: B
While Davis was not quite as active in the run game as Harris, he was a bit more stout in coverage, allowing just five receptions to Harris' eight.
However, he was far from stellar. He was also victimized by Gonzalez's dominant night, allowing a 100.7 quarterback rating against him, per Pro Football Focus.
Calvin Pace: C-
This was Calvin Pace's worst game of the season. While the Jets were stout against the run for most of the night, they did allow a few off-tackle runs in the process because Pace was unable to set the edge. He recorded just one tackle all night and contributed nothing as a pass-rusher.
Quinton Coples: D
It is clear as day that Coples is not yet his old self; his surgically repaired ankle is holding him back. He is unable to convert his speed to power while rushing the passer, and setting the edge against the run is a chore.
The Jets noticed this and began to replace him with Garrett McIntyre more often as the game wore on. Coples finished with no tackles and no sacks.
Antwan Barnes: C-
Barnes was only able to play in 18 snaps before leaving the game with a leg injury. He recorded no defensive stats.
Garrett McIntyre: B
McIntyre played in just 16 snaps, but he was a clear upgrade over the hobbling Quinton Coples. He recorded three quarterback hurries and a tackle for loss.
Antonio Cromartie: B+
Outside of being a walking beer vendor, Cromartie may have had the most difficult job in the stadium, following around Julio Jones wherever he went. Jones was able to make a spectacular one-handed grab against him in the fourth quarter, but Cromartie more than held his own against one of the most explosive receivers in the game.
Darrin Walls: B+
Walls recovered nicely after his rough starting debut last week. He defended two passes and made a fantastic tackle on a screen pass to prevent a touchdown. He did, however, drop an easy pick-six after making a nice break on the ball.
Kyle Wilson: B
Wilson quietly put together a solid performance, not allowing many completions while making a handful of nice tackles in the run game.
Dawan Landry: D
This was Landry's worst game of the season. He was routinely beaten by Tony Gonzalez. Gonzales makes a lot of defenders look foolish, but Landry was clearly outmatched in coverage.
Jaiquawn Jarrett: C+
Jarrett gets credit for being active in the run game (seven tackles), but he was also picked on in coverage. He was given the starting nod over Antonio Allen for the first time all season, playing in 48 out of 76 snaps.
Josh Bush: B
Bush got an unexpected promotion, leapfrogging Antonio Allen and playing a lot of deep safety in a Cover 2 scheme—a logical solution to containing the Falcons' big-play offense. Bush had a solid night, holding up well in the back end and forcing a fumble on a Roddy White completion in the first quarter (which the Falcons would recover further down the field).
Antonio Allen: C
Allen was mysteriously benched in favor of Jarrett. He only played in 16 snaps, the fewest out of any other safety. As a result, his impact on the defense was minimal with just three tackles.
Nick Folk: A+
Through five games of the season, you would be hard-pressed to find a kicker who is playing as well in clutch situations as Nick Folk. Folk was perfect on all of his field goals, including a 43-yard game-winner as time expired. Folk has yet to miss a kick this season.
Folk was also solid on his kickoffs, as all but one went for touchbacks.
Ryan Quigley: B+
Quigley had his best night of his truncated season. He pinned the Falcons inside the 20 on one of his three punts. Falcons receiver Harry Douglas, however, was able to rip off a 15-yard return.
Advanced statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).