The Jets continue to seek offensive balance. When your team has the most pass attempts (156) and completions (92) through three games in its history and those numbers are on pace to set NFL season records, you know the HC and the OC probably want to run the ball a lot more than they have been.
But good can come out of such a skewed start. A last-minute come-from-behind win at Cleveland, for one. And a position that was rebuilt with veteran timber in the offseason, namely, tight end.
Tyler Conklin had his ups and downs in the first two games with 10 catches but a couple of drops and a couple of fumbles. Then against the Bengals, Conklin showed up in the second-half passing game. In fact, by some measures he had one of the most remarkable Jets TE receiving games of the last quarter century.
Joe Flacco targeted Conklin eight times and he caught all eight for 84 yards. The 8-for-8 is significant. Only a handful of Jets receivers have ever had eight-plus passes targeted for them in a game since 1997 and caught every one. And none of them was a tight end, until TC. The closest any TE came to that was Dustin Keller, twice, with 7 targets and 7 catches in the 2011 season finale at Miami and in the 2012 midseason meeting at New England.
Also significant was Conklin's unofficial 56 yards after the catch. Only two other Jets tight ends since '97 had more YAC in a game — Keller with 74 yards after catch in the 2009 AFC Wild Card Game at Cincinnati and Ryan Griffin with 65 YAC in his 109-yard explosion at Washington in 2019.
This is not to say it's full speed ahead for the Jets offense, just because Zach Wilson is returning at QB and Conklin caught every target in one losing effort. But it's good to know that the position may have warmed up finally, in time to contribute to a diversified offense at Pittsburgh, one game after the Steelers lost at Cleveland while yielding nine catches on 10 targets for 89 yards and a TD to Browns TE David Njoku.
Another who's shaken those first-game-in-green-and-white blues is Greg Zuerlein. The kicker they sometimes call Legatron hasn't missed a placement the past two games, setting or tying several Jets records in the process.
The first record-book entry, the 57-yard field goal at Cleveland that tied the franchise FG distance mark, factors into one of the distinctions he achieved back home vs. Cincinnati with FGs of 50, 40, 52 and 43 yards.
With the 50-plus kicks vs. the Bengals, Zuerlein is the first Jet to convert three 50-yarders in back-to-back games. Jason Myers had a monster season in 2018 but the closest he came to that was one 50-yarder in each of four consecutive games.
Zuerlein also joins Nick Folk (51 and 51 yards at St. Louis in 2012) and Pat Leahy (53 and 52 at New England in 1985) as the only Jets with a pair of 50s in one game.
Then there's Zuerlein's distance average against the Bengals. It's a funky piece of Jets trivia but still impressive: Of the 30 times that Jets kickers have converted four or more field goals in a game without a miss, Zuerlein's 46.3 yards/FG easily moves to the head of the class. Here are the top four:
|2022 Gm 3
|50, 40, 52, 43
|2008 Gm 9
|22, 49, 46, 55
|2018 Gm 12
|54, 34, 43, 39, 39
|2012 Gm 7
|54, 21, 43, 43