Welcome back to another season of Jets football. The Green and White began their 2019 campaign with a 17-16 loss to the division rival Bills at MetLife Stadium. Let's dive in and take a closer look at the snap count and how playing time was distributed.
Seven Jets were on the field for all 72 offensive snaps: Sam Darnold, Le'Veon Bell, Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell. Osemele, Kalil and Bell each made their regular-season debut with the team. Darnold, starting in his second season opener for the franchise, completed 28 of his 41 passes for 175 yards and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Bell. Darnold, once again, played turnover-free football. Dating back to Week 14 of last season in Buffalo, the QB has gone 155 straight pass attempts without an interception.
Bell showed no ill-effects from sitting out the entire 2018 season. The All-Pro RB totaled 92 yards from scrimmage (60 rushing, 32 receiving on 23 touches) and hauled in a TD strike as well as a 2-point conversion. Bell offered a taste of the explosive playmaking ability he'll provide for this Jets offense. After receiving a heavy workload during the preseason, Ty Montgomery was registered just five plays Sunday, carrying the ball twice. I still look for the Bell-Montgomery duo to be one of the best RB tandems in the league.
Only four wide receivers were involved on offense. Robby Anderson was in on all but three plays (69/72, 96%), hauling in three grabs for 23 yards. Quincy Enunwa played 66 snaps but produced just one catch. Josh Bellamy had one catch for 15 yards despite being in on just six plays. But it was another first-year Jets receiver that had the most productive afternoon — Jamison Crowder caught a team-high 14 passes for 99 yards while playing 65 of 72 snaps (90%). Crowder told us on the 98.7 ESPN Radio postgame show that a lot of his output was the result of being the "hot" read for Sam Darnold due to the amount of blitzing the Bills were bringing.
With Chris Herndon out the first four weeks of the season, Ryan Griffin led the tight ends in playing time. Griffin collected three catches for 10 yards and was in on all but four plays (68/72, 94%). Rookie Trevon Wesco saw action on five plays in his NFL regular-season debut but did not record a catch. Daniel Brown was in on a pair of plays as well.
As for the defense, four players were in on 100% of the snaps — the quartet all being members of the starting secondary. Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Darryl Roberts and Trumaine Johnson saw the field for all 69 defensive plays. Linebacker Neville Hewitt was plenty busy as well, appearing in all but one snap (68/69). Johnson, Roberts and Hewitt all tied for the team lead in tackles with eight. Hewitt also recorded an interception with a tip-ball assist from Harvey Langi. The safety tandem of Adams and Maye had six and five tackles, respectively, and Maye had an interception nullified because of a penalty. He also nearly came up with another pick near the endzone late in the third quarter.
Only five defensive lineman were active for Sunday's contest. Leonard Williams led the unit in playing time, logging 88% of the snaps (61/69). The Big Cat recorded five tackles, along with a QB hit on Josh Allen. Rookie Quinnen Williams' debut was cut short because of an ankle injury, but not before the third overall pick played 24 snaps (35%). Henry Anderson saw action on 49 of the 69 plays (71%) and registered three hits on the quarterback. Steve McLendon had a fumble recovery among the 35 snaps he was part of. Bronson Kaufusi saw his most extensive action during his time with the Jets. The former BYU Cougar played 31 snaps (45%) as his role continues to grow for the Green and White.
Before departing with a groin injury, C.J. Mosley flashed plenty of his All-Pro form in his Jets debut. In 48 snaps (70%) leading the defense, Mosley recorded five tackles, had two pass defenses, recovered a fumble and registered a pick-six. Mosley had a hand in half of the four turnovers forced by Gregg Williams' unit. Jordan Jenkins picked up right where he left off last season when he totaled a career-best seven sacks. Jenkins notched a strip-sack on Sunday and 1.5 tackles for loss. Frankie Luvu (26, 38%), Harvey Langi (25, 36%), and rookie Blake Cashman (22, 32%) also saw time as part of the linebacker rotation. Free agent pickup CB Brian Poole played 37 of the 69 snaps (54%) and recorded a safety in the first game with his new club.
On special teams, standout Rontez Miles led the team with 21 snaps. Albert McClellan was next up with 17, followed by Blake Cashman, Trent Cannon and Josh Bellamy, all with 16. Punter Lachlan Edwards enjoyed a fine afternoon averaging 43.4 yards in seven tries, pinning five inside the 20-yard line.