With wind gusts and heavy snow negating opportunities in the passing game Sunday against the Patriots, the Jets elected to lean on RB Breece Hall. Hall carried the ball 37 times in the team's season finale for 178 yards including a 50-yard rushing score late to seal a 17-3 victory for the Green & White over New England.
He added 2 receptions for 16 yards to give him 190 all-purpose yards for the game. With 1,585 scrimmage yards this season, he became the first Jets RB to surpass 1,500 yards since Thomas Jones in 2008 and the fourth in team history.
"When I saw how cold it was, I knew as a quarterback how hard it was going to be to throw the ball," Hall said. "So, I was like, 'Yeah, I'm probably going to get the ball a lot today.' The O-line played very well, the coaches trusted me, and I got a lot of opportunities, so it was a blessing."
Growing up in Wichita, KS and having gone to school at Iowa State, Hall told reporters after the game that he woke up Sunday morning unfazed by the snow. It showed as he carried the ball 17 times in the first half for 76 yards. Early in the second quarter, following a 30-yard reception by WR Garrett Wilson, Hall broke off consecutive 12-yard runs to set up a 40-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein to give the Jets a 6-3 lead.
"I woke up this morning and saw there was a whole bunch of snow on the ground," Hall said. "So, I told myself, 'alright, I am going to run the ball a lot today. And then we get here and it's snowing still, and all the running backs knew it was going to have to be on us today."
In the second half, Hall ran the ball 20 times for 102 yards including 10 attempts for 76 yards in the fourth quarter. He finished with the fourth-most rush attempts in a game in franchise history, and became the first Jets RB with 35-plus carries and 170-plus rush yards in a single game.
"As the game goes along you don't really notice the workload," Hall said. "You are just focusing on how we can get up in the game and run the ball as much as we possibly can. And then just as the game goes, find that rhythm."
Leading by 9-3 and with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, Hall took a handoff to the left side and hesitated for a moment before blasting around the edge and down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown to give the Jets a 15-3 lead. He then took a 2-yard carry into the endzone for a 2-point conversion.
The 50-yard run gave Hall his fourth 50-plus yard play of the season. He broke off an 83-yard rush against the Bills Week 1, a 72-yard touchdown run versus the Broncos in Week 5 and had a 50-yard touchdown reception against the Giants in Week 7.
"The O-Line did great," Hall said. "I always tell them just to get me past the D-Line and I will handle it from there. But those guys did a great job of getting me to the second level and I was just trying to be consistent. They just kept pushing the whole game, so I appreciate them for sure."
Sunday's dominant performance put the finishing touches on a strong second half of the season for Hall which started after HC Robert Saleh offered some constructive-criticism for his star back following his 25-yard performance against Miami in Week 12.
"Right now, when you press, you're trying to create explosive [plays] all over the place, and for the most part in the NFL, the O-line is going to block it for two or three [yards] and he's got to go find four or five," Saleh said in Week 13. "And that means lowering your shoulder, getting dirty, getting grimy, finishing runs -- and not trying to find ways to bounce and make people miss at the line of scrimmage all the time because these guys are hunting."
Hall responded to Saleh's comments with 696 scrimmage yards (115.3 per game) and 5 TDs over the final 6 games. With Hall recovered from a torn ACL he sustained last season, Saleh believes the future is bright for the Jets' tailback.
"He turned a corner in the second half of the season," Saleh said. "He looked like he was completely healthy and just had the mindset to run and finish. He was not just trying to get the big one, but to take what the defense was giving him. It's not a coincidence that it followed with great production. And if he continues that mindset and he keeps that going into next year, he's going to be a problem."
See postgame photos from the 17-3 win against the Patriots in the 2023 season finale.