Compared to other NFL teams, the Jets didn't have a lot to crow about in 2020. But they did have a number of individuals and some team units that recorded some outstanding achievements that could serve as parts of the foundation for 2021. If your favorite Jet isn't present here, never fear, he'll get the ITN treatment sometime this offseason.
And now, without further adieu, the New York Jets Inside The Numbers Season Wrap.
Jets Behind the Line
The defense still spent a good amount of time in the opponents' backfield. Not nearly as much as last year's 133 tackles for loss/no gain — the most by a Green & White D since 1997 — but this season's 97 TFLNGs gave them 230 in 2019-20, one of the top three two-season totals in those last two-plus decades.
Who was the leader of this swarming front seven? That would be ...
DL Quinnen Williams
Williams started to build a head of steam in his second season on the Jets D-line. He led the defense with 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss/no gain (on rushes and receptions) and 7 tackles for loss only. And his 19 tackles at or behind the line on all plays, including sacks, were the most by a Jets defender since Leonard Williams' 22.5 in 2016. Add in a team-leading 3 passes defensed behind the line. And consider how Williams assembled this portfolio while missing 3 games due to injury. The future is quite bright for the Q-man.
LB Neville Hewitt
"It might sound selfish but I was trying to get to 140. I fell a little short," Hewitt said of his tackle quest at New England. "I always set goals for myself and I set them high. I set a goal for 100, got that, and wanted to leave my mark as an undrafted guy."
Hewitt still left his mark. His 131 total tackles this season led all NFL defenders who entered the league as undrafted free agents. The Broncos' Todd Davis and the Rams' Cory Littleton both had 134 last year, but those are the three highest one-season tackle totals by UDFAs since 2014, when the Falcons' Paul Worrilow had 142.
And Hewitt's unofficial total of 1,317 plays (1,129 on defense, 188 on special teams) is the most by a Jets player in a season since NFL play counts became available in 2004.
S Marcus Maye
Maye was the NFL's versatile king of one designer stat line. He was the only defender this season who had at least 80 tackles (88), 2 interceptions (2), 10 passes defensed (11), 2.0 sacks (2.0) and 2 forced fumbles (2). The last Jet to reach 80-2-10-2-2 was not Jamal Adams (he had one pick in '18) but rather Kerry Rhodes in 2006. And Maye and the Bengals' Reggie Nelson in 2011 are the only NFL safeties to reach all those levels since '06.
Maye did a little bit of everything, since he unofficially chalked up 1,137 scrimmage plays, the most by a Jet since play counts became available in 2004 and the most by an NFL defender this season. Not a surprise, then, that he was voted the Curtis Martin Team MVP by his teammates.
See the Top Images from 2020
QB Sam Darnold
As Darnold has said, "I didn't play consistent enough" this season, and it's harder to find the numbers showing improvement from year two to year three as it was a year ago showing the uptick from year one to year two. But we'll mention two elements here.
One is a trivia question: What to Bob Davis, Richard Todd, Michael Vick and Darnold have in common? Answer: They are the top four rushing quarterbacks for a full season in Jets history. Darnold averaged 5.86 yards/carry, less than an inch per carry shy of Vick's 5.88 average in 2014. Todd averaged 6.73 yards/carry in another down year, 1980, while Davis leads the way with his 8.56 mark on 18 carries in 1971. This is not to say Darnold is Cam Newton in the making, just that his scrambling sense produced some decent yardage.
The other is just a suggestion that Darnold played his best ball when his top three wide receivers were on the field together and TE Chris Herndon rediscovered his 2018 form. From Games 12-15 (Las Vegas, at Seattle, at L.A. Rams, Cleveland), he's had better four-game stretches in his career but not this past year, when he won those two games, threw 5 TD passes to 1 INT and checked in with an 88.4 rating.
WR Jamison Crowder
How can you not love Crowder's contribution to the offense? For the second straight season, he led the Jets in receptions (59), receiving yards (699) and total touchdowns (6). He started the season with 100-yard receiving efforts in his first 3 games, only the third different Jets receiver to do that in more than a half-century. And he almost ended it with his versatile showing vs. the Browns, becoming the first NFL player in 19 seasons to gain at least 90 yards receiving, 40 passing and 10 rushing in a game and the first Jets wideout in history to throw and catch at least one TD pass each in a game.
Jets' Ball Security
The Jets' zero turnover margin doesn't mean a lot by itself. But it is a significant number for a 2-14 team — the 33 other 2-14 teams since 1978 averaged a minus-11.6 TO margin.
And the zero margin was built in large part on the Green & White's ball security. They fumbled only 8 times in 2020, tied for the fewest in the NFL and easily a franchise record, and lost only 5 fumbles, tied for second in the league and tied for the franchise mark of 5 lost fumbles set in 2004.
RB Frank Gore
What more can be said about Gore? As a Jet this year, he extended his NFL streak to 16 seasons — every year of his career — with at least 500 rushing yards, and on his last rush this season, he reached exactly 16,000 rush yards, third-most in NFL annals and making it easy to figure his rush yards/season. And he lost his first fumble since 2017.
He's no longer a big yards/carry back with only one season above 4.00, with Miami in 2018, in the last six seasons. But if he wants to play another year, and the Jets or another team wants him, it won't be because of stats but because of leadership.
C Connor McGovern
Football health was again elusive for the Jets offensive line, but McGovern bucked the trend. He was the only Jets OL to start all 16 games in a season since 2018, when G Brian Winters and T Kelvin Beachum did the same. And he's the first Jets center to start 16 since Nick Mangold in 2013. A goal for the 2021 OL: the last time the Jets had five 16-game OL starters was 2012 — D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slauson, Mangold, Brandon Moore and Austin Howard.
P Braden Mann
Mann didn't have a monster yardage season. His 43.9-yard gross average was 28th among qualifying punters and his 37.2 net was 27th. But he did have some future-pointing highlights, such as seven 5.0-second hangtimes topped by his 5.65 hang, the best unofficial hangtime by a Jets punter in 20 years, and his 5 inside-the-20 punts vs. Cleveland, most I-20s by a Jets punter since Steve Weatherford in 2010.