Thankfully Bilal Powell didn't need a New Year's resolution. He made things miserable for another opponent today, carving the Bills up for 122 yards on the ground and adding a receiving TD in the Jets' 30-10 victory at MetLife Stadium.
Limited throughout the week by illness and a knee injury, Powell set the tone on the Jets' first play from scrimmage as he exploded for a 23-yard gain. The theme Sunday for Powell was New Year's Fireworks as he had six carries of 10-plus yards including two runs of 20-plus yards. Powell finished with a 5.5-yard per carry average and he averaged 5.51 an attempt throughout the 2016 campaign.
"He's tough. He fought," said head coach Todd Bowles of Powell. "He came in and played. You saw the way he played today. He was hobbled a little bit, but he wanted to finish it the right way. He made some runs today that kept us in the game and helped us win."
The Jets' makeshift O-line took advantage of a struggling Buffalo run defense, often creating daylight for Powell. And oftentimes when there didn't appear to be room in a hole, Powell stayed steady in the storm and was very selective before bouncing and getting up the field.
"Any time your running back is breaking tackles like that, it pumps everybody up," said C Wesley Johnson. "He fights for the extra yardage and kind of squirts through. It was awesome. We all love watching him play. I love blocking for him."
Powell also posted the game's first touchdown, catching a 2-yard scoring pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter. After rushing for 73 yards in the first half, Powell got off to another rousing start out of the locker room with a 25-yard scamper on the first play of scrimmage in the third.
With veteran RB Matt Forte limited down the stretch with a knee injury, Powell became the Jets' No. 1 back over the final quartet of games. He was the Green & White's best player during the stretch, averaging 5.14 yards per carry and reaching the 100-yard mark in two outings. He also caught 21 balls and he ended up with 58 grabs, one-catch shy of Brandon Marshall for most receptions by a Jet in 2016. The 5'10", 204-pounder, in his sixth season, paced New York's AFC representative in yards from scrimmage with 1,100.
"He's a beast. There's not much else to say," said WR Quincy Enunwa of Powell. "Every day, he comes in with his hard hat. He's working hard, he's making plays. That's my guy right there."