ReFo: Jets @ Vikings, Week 14
There was no shortage of big plays as the Vikings and Jets combined to score touchdowns off an interception, an offensive fumble recovery, and three passes of over 30 yards. In the end, it was the Vikings who struck last with Jairus Wright taking a wide receiver screen 87 yards to the house against an all-out blitz. Both teams, however, left point on the field earlier in the game — the Vikings missing a short field goal and settling for another from 20 yards out, while the Jets kicked four from inside the red zone.
For the visitors, Geno Smith came out of the gate with an ugly interception but rebounded well, helped no doubt by some excellent protection that let him take his time on a number of occasions. On the opposite sideline, Minnesota got a useful performance out of Teddy Bridgewater as well, who has a habit of looking good yet never blowing you away. Both young quarterbacks can be happy with their efforts, but there were 21 other players on the field at any given time, so let’s take a look at some of them.
New York Jets –Performances of Note
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LT: -3.4
Breakdown: He’s not the first to struggle with Everson Griffen, and he certainly won’t be the last. Allowing two hurries and a hit (with one additional hurry nullified by penalty), Ferguson couldn’t make up for it in the running game where he had trouble generating much movement.
Signature Play: Q1, 9:01. Allowing Griffen around his outside shoulder and forcing Smith into a hurried throw, Ferguson was bailed out from a mark on the stat sheet by a defensive pass interference call.
Geno Smith, QB: +3.0
Breakdown: It’s unlikely that Smith’s performance in this game has convinced management that he’s the long-term answer, but a game like this will do well to bolster his confidence and may just help him get back on track. It’s no coincidence that both Eric Decker and Percy Harvin saw their second-highest grades of the year with Smith playing well.
Signature Stat: On passes thrown at least 10 yards in the air, Smith was 6-of-9 for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Jason Babin, OLB: +3.5
Breakdown: Quickly becoming a forgotten man in the league, the Jacksonville transplant put forth a well-rounded performance in what’s becoming a fine year under Rex Ryan. Earning his highest snap count of the season, Babin tallied four hurries working against both tackles and added three stops in run defense.
Signature Play: At 4:15 in the fourth quarter, Babin pushed Kyle Rudolph into the backfield before peeling off inside and taking down Matt Asiata for a gain of 1 yard.
Minnesota Vikings –Performances of Note
Xavier Rhodes, CB: +2.7
Breakdown: With a phenomenal day in coverage Rhodes has now strung together four straight games above +2.0. The second-most targeted Viking, Rhodes forced a number of incompletions and allowed just 1 yard after the catch against the Jets’ wide receivers.
Signature Stat: On his five targets, Rhodes gave up two catches (neither moved the chains) for 12 yards, and broke up all three other passes thrown his direction.
Charles Johnson, WR: -0.2
Breakdown: Bridgewater’s favorite target, Johnson caught four passes and earned his first career 100-yard game, scoring once, and only some poor ball security preventing him from finding paydirt twice. Making hay with double moves, the second-year pro could really start to blossom alongside his young signal-caller.
Signature Stat: Twenty-nine of his 41 targets and 284 of his 344 receiving yards this year have come in the last four games.
Everson Griffen, DE: +3.0
Breakdown: Exploding into a full-time role in 2014, Griffen recorded four pressures and a batted pass while earning three defensive stops for the second straight week. Primarily a pass rusher prior to this year, Griffen is currently one of two 4-3 ends this season with a run defense and a pass rushing grade each above +8.0.
Signature Stat: Griffen earned four negative grades in the first five weeks this year but hasn’t posted one since.
PFF Game Ball
Xavier Rhodes (+2.7) put on a clinic at cornerback, notching three pass defenses and staking a claim as one of the best young corners in the game.