Sam Darnold wasn’t the only Jets player who masterfully used his eyes in Sunday’s win over the Broncos. Veteran right guard Brian Winters made excellent use of his vision as well, delivering a blow that Broncos edge rusher Shane Ray might still feel this weekend when Denver hosts the Los Angeles Rams.
“It was a good hit,” Winters said of the second-quarter block that went viral shortly after the Green & White’s 34-16 triumph. “I’m just doing my job. It was just one of those things that just kind of fell into place.”
The workmanlike Winters said there were some positive reviews of the jarring block in the O-Line room when the group reviewed Sunday’s game tape.
“Oohs and aahs, but just doing my job,” he said.
Much like Darnold on the rookie’s second scoring pass to Robby Anderson, Winters worked his eyes from right to left before making Ray part of the turf at MetLIfe Stadium. He watched Ray move across the line of scrimmage and was prepared if Ray was going to make a move towards his rookie quarterback. Instead of fooling a safety like his quarterback, Winters retreated and looked right quickly before targeting Ray for a thunderous pop.
“I saw him from the very beginning,” he said. “I was pretending to look right, but then I saw him and I went left at the last second.”
It seemed like the Jets O-line punched all the right buttons in Week 5 while rolling up 323 yards on the ground and 512 yards of offense. But Winters said there was more to be had and Rick Dennison’s unit didn’t pitch a perfect game.
“We left some yards out there. There were three or four plays that could have broken and could have gone longer,” he said. “We can’t settle for what we had.”
The night before the game, Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates told the line to play angry. Throughout the first quarter of the season, the Green & White had spurts of good ball up front. But for the vast majority of the team’s fifth game, the big uglies had a hat for a hat. The result was a record-breaking day for AFC Offensive Player of the Week Isaiah Crowell and a lot of help for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold as the Jets ran 38 times and attempted just 22 balls.
“He’s awesome,” Winters said of Bates. “I love working with him. He’s been great for us, he puts us in great situations. He takes the O-line into consideration and that’s what I love about him.”
There is reason to feel like the offensive line will continue to get better. Veteran LT Kelvin Beachum didn’t play in the preseason, Winters missed some time during the summer with a back ailment and C Spencer Long, a former Redskin who signed with the club in free agency, will suit up with his linemates Sunday against the Colts for just the sixth time in regular season action. The Jets are sixth in the NFL in rushing and they are tied for the NFL lead in 20+ yard carries with six. The Colts stand in the way of a two-game winning streak and a .500 mark for New York’s AFC representative.
“It’s been good, but we can’t get too high on it. It’s just been one game,” said Winters of the most recent success. “We have to put it away. We celebrated it after but now we’re on to Indy and that’s our attitude. We just have to keep that momentum.”