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Fresh Faces Provide Added Boost on Jets D-Line

Folorunso Fatukasi

With 3:46 left to play in the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-22 win over the Cowboys, Sam Darnold and the Jets offense lined up on their own 8-yard line.  Darnold would take the snap from center Ryan Kalil, survey the field in a relatively clean pocket, sidestep slight pressure from his right side and with a flick of the wrist, loft a beautiful ball to Robby Anderson.  Anderson hauled in the pass at the 45-yard line and take it the distance for a 92-yard touchdown.  It was a thing of beauty that was all made possible by a pair of young Jets defensive linemen.

That’s right, on back-to-back plays, second-year player Folorunso Fatukasi and rookie Quinnen Williams made outstanding plays to set up the Jets big scoring strike.  The good news for the Jets and their fans?  It wasn’t just Fatukasi and Williams who played well, and it wasn’t just in a short space of time.

Fatukasi, a seond-year player out of Connecticut flashed time and again, leading to the top Jets defensive grade per pro football focus at 83.0.  Meanwhile Williams, the third overall pick from this year’s draft also made an impact.

Williams was disruptive as he racked up a season-high six tackles.

From a purely statistical perspective, it was undrafted rookie free agent lineman Kyle Phillips who led the way with 7 tackles, 1 for a loss and a quarterback hit.  Combine that with Leonard Williams having his best game in what feels like a lifetime and you get a big part of the answer to those asking how in the world the Jets upset the Cowboys.

While Zeke Elliott did finish with over 100 yards, he was bottled up for the first half before some chunk plays chipped away and a spread out Jets defense when Dallas opened things up and went with multiple wide receiver sets to give Elliott some room to work with.  Even still, the Jets held the star running back to just 3.75 yards per carry.

They forced plenty of bad throws by putting the quarterback under duress, they kept one of the league’s top runners bottled up for much of the contest, and they did it all with major contributions from very young, and in some cases unknown defensive linemen.  Now all they have to do is find a way to contain Tom Brady and the Patriots on Monday night.  Good luck with that, fellas.




This Article Was Written By Glenn Naughton

Glenn Naughton

Glenn was Born in the Bronx, New York and has followed the Jets religiously despite being stationed in several different countries and time zones around the world. He now resides in England and has been a JetNation member since 2005. Glenn will bleed green with the rest of us through the highs and lows.



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