On a day when the Jets couldn’t establish much rhythm with their passing game, RB Bilal Powell provided a charge on the ground. Powell ran for 145 yards and provided the team’s lone score Sunday in a 14-7 loss to Los Angeles at MetLife Stadium.
“He is a gamer,” said QB Bryce Petty of Powell. “He’s fun to hand the ball off too because you never know what’s going to happen whether it’s cut back (or) whether it’s a big, long run. He just has a knack for the end zone and big plays.”
Powell got the Jets on the board early in the third, taking a misdirection pitch from Petty and finding a sizeable crease created by LT Kelvin Beachum and LG James Carpenter. Powell accelerated down the home sideline and picked up one final block from C Jonotthan Harrison before finishing in the end zone.
“I was able to get on the edge and I think there was nobody but the corner, so I was cracking. I was able to kick him out and Bilal was able to get inside,” Beachum said of the toss-crack play. “Carp had a great block, Harry (Harrison) had a great block and found a way to stay on his man downfield and Bilal found a way to put it in the end zone.”
Powell celebrated a personal-best fifth rush touchdown with some snow angels on Christmas Eve. He became the first back in franchise history to break three 50-yard runs in one season with that 57-yarder. He also delivered a gift to the offense in the first half, gaining 41 yards on a rush. But the Green & White couldn’t capitalize with points as a scoring threat was negated when veteran RB Matt Forté lost a fumble inside the red zone.
“Amazing. He’s been consistent all year,” Beachum said. “Bilal has found a way to pop runs all year.”
“He played hard,” added Todd Bowles. “He’s tough, he gave us a chance to win.”
Entering Week 14 with a 4.0 yards per carry average, Powell’s two long runs propelled him to a Sunday average of 7.6 yards per clip. In his seventh NFL season, the 5’10”, 204-pounder has rushed for a career season-high of 726 yards.
“He’s not this flamboyant, New York flying type of guy,” Beachum said of Powell. “He’s just kind of under the radar. You don’t expect it, but he’s one of those guys that puts in the work every single day. He’s had multiple great weeks of practice and he does his job. He’s a true pro, a pro’s pro and when his number is called, he finds a way to convert.”
After showering his offensive linemen with praise, Powell was quick to turn the page.
"It's tough. We have a young team. We have to learn how to close out the fourth quarter and close out the game," he said. "On Wednesday, we just have to start preparing for the Patriots."