There aren't too many numbers to dive deep into in the days before opening day. But there are personal milestones that are within sight for players and for the team . And there are hurdles that could be cleared with a great offensive, defensive or special teams effort.
Which brings us back to Le'Veon Bell one more time. The Jets' dynamic back is not one to publicly dwell on his numbers, but perhaps one reason he's champing at the bit to end his 20 months away from the game is because ever since the Steelers' 2017 regular-season finale against Cleveland, Bell has been sitting at 7,996 yards from scrimmage.
So with his first 4 yards from scrimmage in Sunday's season opener against the Bills at MetLife Stadium, Bell will become the 209th NFL player to crack the 8,000-yard barrier and the 18th active player to do it.
Another Bell possibility can best be presented in the form of a trivia question: Which back, in his first game as a Jet, whether as a rookie or as a newly arrived veteran, rushed for the most yards in a game?
The surprising answer is Isaiah Crowell. In his first game as a Jet last year, Crowell helped the Jets roar back against the Lions at Detroit with his 102 rushing yards, the final 62 coming on his last carry of the game, the burst around right end for his second TD of the game with 54 seconds left in the third quarter.
Crowell is in fact the only Jet to rush for 100 yards in his first game in green and white. Matt Forté held the record with his 96 rush yards against Cincinnati in 2016, but of all the excellent backs in franchise history — Snell, Boozer, Riggins, McNeil, Martin and more — not one had that monster rushing game that signaled the arrival of a game-changing back.
Here are the top 10 rushing yardage games in players' first Jets appearances:
|2018||Isaiah Crowell||@ DET||102||0||102|
|2016||Matt Fortét||vs CIN||96||59||155|
|1964||Matt Snell||vs DEN||82||19||101|
|2014||Chris Johnson||vs OAK||68||23||91|
|2010||LaDainian Tomlinson||vs BAL||62||16||78|
|1998||Curtis Martin||@ SF||58||0||58|
|1966||Emerson Boozer||vs HOU||49||0||49|
|2007||Thomas Jones||vs NE||42||6||48|
|1983||Johnny Hector||@ SD||42||0||42|
|1975||Carl Garrett||@ BUF||38||24||62|
As for yards from scrimmage, only three backs have broken 100 yards, led by Forté's 155 yards vs. the Bengals in 2016, followed by Crowell's 102 at the Lions in '18, followed by Matt Snell's Jets debut in 1964, a 101-YFS outing in a 30-6 home rout of Denver in the franchise's very first game in its new home of Shea Stadium.
More Opening Hurdles to Clear
Here are several more statistical hurdles that were set by Jets players, not necessarily in their first games as Jets but on opening days. Note the receiving yards in a home victory, set by Don Maynard in the first game in Jets/Titans franchise history, over Buffalo.
Rushing Yards — Curtis Martin, 2004, vs. Cincinnati, 196 yards
Passing Yards — Glenn Foley, 1998, at San Francisco, 415 yards
Passing Yards at Home — Boomer Esiason, 1993, vs. Denver, 371 yards
Passing Yards in a Victory — Mark Sanchez, 2011, vs. Dallas, 335 yards
Receiving Yards — Don Maynard, 1968, at Kansas City, 203 yards
Receiving Yards at Home — Keyshawn Johnson, 1999, vs. New England, 194 yards
Receiving Yards in a Home Victory — Don Maynard, 1960, vs. Buffalo, 116 yards
Yards from Scrimmage — Don Maynard, 1968, at Kansas City, 203 yards
Most Sacks — Mark Gastineau, 1984, at Indianapolis, 4 sacks
Most Touchdowns — Emerson Boozer, 1972, at Buffalo, 3 TDs
Most Touchdown Passes — Neil O'Donnell, 1997, at Seattle, 5 TD passes
Many more Jets records, milestones and distinctions could be in the works Sunday. We'll bring them all to you @rlangejets and on newyorkjets.com.