The O-line deserves its flowers again.
The Jets offensive line dominated the trenches for the second week in a row against a still very strong Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense — the Bucs were without Pro Bowl outside linebackers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Last week, the Jets ran for 287 yards against the Jaguars. They followed it up with another explosive rushing attack, putting up 150 yards with two touchdowns on 26 carries. That’s 5.8 yards a pop.
Michael Carter, who left the game early with a concussion, ran for 54 yards on three attempts. Austin Walter finished with 49 yards on 14 carries. Ty Johnson added 35 yards with seven carries.
Against a seven-man box, the Jets obliterated the Buccaneers by rushing for 113 yards on 7.5 yards per carry, according to Next Gen Stats.
“We’re generating a lot of explosives in the run game,” Robert Saleh said Monday. “Ty Johnson, Michael Carter, Austin Walter came in yesterday and created some explosives. It’s a great testament to John Benton, our o-line coach and the offensive line.”
And the excellent display was without their starting: center Connor McGovern (MCL injury), who was replaced by Dan Feeney to start the game; and left tackle George Fant (knee injury), who was replaced by Chuma Edoga in the second quarter.
“That’s just everybody dialing in and having that next man mentality,” right tackle Morgan Moses said. “And the guys that are not getting reps throughout the weeks are having that mental capacity to be able to take those reps that they get on the sideline and see and watch film and dial in.”
Saleh was pleased to see Feeney and Edoga step in and the unit kept plowing forward.
“It’s really fun to watch when guys get the opportunity to have success,” Saleh said. “That is what makes this league awesome.”
The dominating performance was against the third best rush defense in the NFL, which allowed only 87 yards on the ground per game coming into the matchup.
Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur deserved credit for understanding Zach Wilson couldn’t be pass happy. Wilson was without top receivers Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder and Elijah Moore.
So, the Jets had to have success on the ground.
LaFleur dug into his bag to put the running game in favorable positions. There were eight runs when the Jets ran with six offensive linemen with Conor McDermott and produced 59 yards with one touchdown.
The entire offense was on one accord in the run game. Lanes were being created, running backs were hitting the holes, and Wilson was making sure the offense was in the right running play.
“I just think the attention to details obviously having an offensive coordinator that sees that we’re being successful communicating up front and the backs are willing to run hard and the quarterback is getting us into the right place,” Moses said. “That’s what you see in the run game.”
The rushing attack was required to keep the game competitive against the Buccaneers.
And Wilson was sacked only once against the second-best team in the NFL in sacks (44) coming into Sunday’s contest.
Fant will get a second opinion on his knee. The Jets said his ACL is still intact, but won’t know more until Wednesday.
Carter is in the concussion protocol, but Saleh is optimistic for his recovery.
Moore (quad), who’s still on injured reserve, will try to practice on Wednesday. Moore participated Monday’s workout, so he is progressing. The Jets will now wait to see how his body reacts. If his body doesn’t react the way the team needs it to, the Jets will shut him down.
Bryce Huff suffered an ankle injury the club will know the extent of on Wednesday.
Dan Brown (hip) isn’t going to play this week, according to Saleh.