Rontez Miles’ four-yard plunge could’ve served as a tremendous dagger for the New York Jets. Instead, it’s a memorable trick that went for naught.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—December is known for its plethora of tricksters. Kevin McAllister, the Miser Brothers, Buddy the Elf, and many others have become famous for their unique brands of holiday mischief.
Add Rontez Miles to that infamous list.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 23, 2018
The New York Jets defender is used to seeing his name in the box score through unconventional means. Last season, for instance, he tied for third in the NFL with 16 tackles. On Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers, Miles got there in ways no one could have foreseen.
With the Jets looking to close out a potential win in their home finale, they ran into a fourth-down obstacle, needing just under a yard to keep a drive at their own 31-yard line alive. Jeers rained down from the stadium’s seats when Miles and the rest of the punting unit hit the field. With nothing to lose, the green-clad faithful believed the Jets should’ve gone for the first down.
Go for it they did.
Miles, lining up as the personal protector, took a direct snap from long snapper Thomas Hennessy and plunged forward for a four-yard gain that gave the Jets a fresh set out downs.
According to Miles, the trickery was a long time in the making.
“(Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer) did a great job setting it up,” Miles told ESNY. “It was there, there for the taking. We’ve been planning it, prepping it since last season. It wasn’t like it was a play (prepared) for (Green Bay). It’s just something that we’ve been working on. With the right look, the head coach giving us the go-ahead, we ran it.”
Miles was pleased to see his number finally called. To say he was ready to touch the ball may be the understatement of the NFL season.
“I was happy. There have been times I’ve been in the ball game and been like ‘dang, it would’ve worked perfectly if we called it right here,’” he said. “A lot of the other guys wanted to run it too, so it was a big for us to get the first down.”
With the Jets leading 35-30 and the clock dipping under four minutes after Miles’ run, the stage was set for a very merry ending to the 2018 home slate. However, a Jets penalty two plays later, one of 16 on the day, set them back. A combination of ineffective runs, an incomplete pass, and two Green Bay timeouts gave the Packers the ball back.
Typical Aaron Rodgers heroics would follow, as the quarterback led the Packers on an 83-yard scoring trek that gave them the lead. While more special teams mastery, in the form of an Andre Roberts kick return into Green Bay territory, allowed the Jets to tie the game and force an extra session, the Packers escaped with a win, courtesy of a Rodgers touchdown throw to Davante Adams.
In his sixth season with the Jets, Miles has partaken in plenty of painful defeats. But, despite a lack of results, this season has given him hope for the future. A free agent to be, he’s hoping to stick around for the potential resurgence.
“I feel like (today’s) success will carry over into the future,” Miles said. “They’ve got a great, young team here, a lot of players. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but I know there’s a lot of potential, probably the best potential I’ve seen since I’ve been here in my six seasons. They’ve got a bright future here.”
Miles and the Jets (4-11) will conclude their season next Sunday on the road against the New England Patriots (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS).