Jets head coach Todd Bowles was not happy Sunday. His team had lost a see-saw affair to the Cincinnati Bengals and he was in no mood to discuss who played well in the season opener.
"You have to understand this about me," he told the media. "If we lose the game, nobody played well."
But each week here on NewYorkJets.com, we'll highlight one player — win or lose — from each positional group who rose to the occasion.
Defense: DL Leonard WilliamsWhen training camp commenced, pro sophomore Williams stated that he wanted to improve as a pass rusher. After totaling 3 sacks and 32 QB hits as a rookie, Williams worked on getting off the ball faster and getting off his blocks faster. In Week 1, Williams showed his new finishing touch as he led the club with 2.5 sacks. The Jets' seven sacks tied for the most on opening day since 1966. The vaunted D-Line, playing without Sheldon Richardson for just one-week, produced six sacks in all and Williams also was credited with five QB hits. The Big Cat saw red and he spent all afternoon chasing talented Bengals QB Andy Dalton.
*Honorable Mention: Steve McLendon
Offense: Matt ForteThe Jets produced 340 total yards of offense Sunday and Forté accounted for 46% of that amount.* **He very nearly reached 100 yards on the ground against a stout Bengals front, ammassing 96 yards on 22 carries. He also averaged 11.8 yards on his five receptions including a 24-yarder in the opening stanza. There was a drive late in the third quarter that extended into the fourth where we saw just how effective Forté and Bilal Powell can be as a 1-2 punch. Leading the possession with a 13-yarder around right end, Forté carried five times for 32 yards and Powell had three rushes for 39 yards as the Green & White narrowed the gap.
*Honorable Mention: WR Quincy Enunwa
Special Teams: Lachlan EdwardsWith kicking conditions quite favorable, the Aussie delivered on his three boots. Edwards averaged 51.3 yards along with a net of 44.3. His 53-yarder with quality hang time backed the Bengals up for a drive start at their eight-yard line late in the third stanza.Honorable Mention: Jalin Marshall