No one at first glance may have stood out on the Jets' side in their loss at Seattle. But look a little under the surface and Quinnen Williams continued his second-year surge as one of the NFL's up-and-coming defensive linemen.
Williams had six tackles. He made 1.5 tackles at or behind the line. He drew his third holding call of the season, although it came on Marcus Maye's outstanding end zone interception and so was declined.
Not a dominating game for Williams, but one more game with a number of strong plays on which he's building his foundation.
All of that and more will be needed Sunday back at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, this time to take on the Rams and the NFL's uber D-lineman, Aaron Donald. Among other things, Donald leads the league after 14 weeks with 12.5 sacks, and he'll be angling to pressure, hit, sack and strip Sam Darnold in the Jets QB's pocket.
Head coach Adam Gase was asked this week about any similarities between Williams and Donald.
"I think it's real hard to compare anyone to Donald right now," Gase said. "If you do not double-team him, he is getting to the ballcarrier, getting to the quarterback. He changes the games so much, it's hard to explain. When you watch this guy, he gets double-teamed almost every snap and the five snaps he gets singled up, he wins. I'm sure every D-tackle is trying to get to that point, especially guys who have similar skillsets of length, quickness and strength. It's 'Hey, I want to be like that guy.' "
But even though the Jets coach it's fair to compare Williams to Donald, he still sees plenty to like about "Q's" emergence as an NFL sophomore.
"I'm definitely seeing improvement throughout the season. This middle part of the season, I feel like he's really showing up a lot, whether it be TFLs or creating pressure on the quarterback. He's playing his tail off right now," Gase has said. "Quinnen's a young player and he has some moments where it's impressive."
Here are Williams' totals this season and where he stands among Jets defenders in each category:
|Category||Total||Team Rank||Category||Total||Team Rank|
|Total Tackles||51||Leads Jets DL, 4th among NFL DL||Sacks||6.0||Leads Jets|
|Tkls Loss/NG||11.0||Leads Jets||3d-dn Sacks||4.0||Leads Jets|
|Tkls Loss||7.0||Leads Jets||QB Hits||13||Leads Jets|
|PDs Beh LOS||3||Leads Jets||QB Pressures||19||Leads Jets|
Football and Ballentine
Corey Ballentine came from out of nowhere as an NFL kick returner for the Jets at Seattle.
Or did he?
Ballentine, a cornerback by trade, first showed his return skills in 2017, when as a junior at Washburn he finished fifth in NCAA Division II with an average of 30.6 yards/return. He didn't have as dynamic a senior season, but he showed nice speed as a college sprinter and at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
He was a sixth-round pick of the Giants in 2019 and got started in the NFL with a 25.6-yard average on 10 returns as a rookie.
Because he has split this season with the Giants and Jets, Ballentine's 66-yard return vs. the Seahawks lifted his season average to 24.9. But as a Jet, he has seven returns for a 29.7 average. If we lower the qualifying bar to seven-plus returns in a season, that average is currently fifth in franchise history, with three games left to try to climb into the rarefied air of 30 yards/return last achieved by the late Joe McKnight (and just missed by Vyncint Smith last season).
Here are the Jets' single-season KOR average leaders (minimum 7 returns; *led NFL):
|Season||Jets KO Returner||KR-Yds-TDs||KOR Avg|