With Le’Veon Bell out, Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery each rose to the occasion in the New York Jets’ narrow Sunday victory.
The New York Jets’ best individual rushing performance came from a name that wasn’t on the roster at this point last season.
With 13 games in the books, it hasn’t come from prized acquisition Le’Veon Bell. Rather, Bilal Powell, leaning toward a 2018 retirement after suffering a Week 7 neck injury, did the honors with 74 yards on 19 carries in the Jets’ 22-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
Powell also added 14 yards receiving to tally a season-high 88 total yards of offense. In true 2019 Jets fashion, bad luck marred his success. He left the game in the latter stages with an ankle injury and head coach Adam Gase indicated that he might’ve been unable to finish the game had it extended any further.
Nonetheless, he was pleased with what Powell brought to the field with Bell missing the victory with an illness. His confidence was bolstered from a strong showing from Powell during Wednesday’s practice.
“We looked at some of the run schemes we were doing and how we were calling it throughout the game,” Gase remarked.” I felt like we had a good day of practice in the run game on Wednesday where I felt like he was going to be alright with what we were doing.”
As a team, the Jets (5-8) went on to tally 112 yards on the ground, three short of the season-high they achieved on November 17 at Washington.
Powell was complemented by fellow reserve Ty Montgomery. The veteran had a season-high 61 total yards, including 30 via receiving. A clutch Montgomery reception indirectly sealed the game for the Jets in the immediate aftermath of a crucial replay review, where Dolphins cornerback Nik Needham was determined to have interfered with receiver Vyncint Smith.
Montgomery came up big on the next play from scrimmage, going 12 yards on a pass from Sam Darnold. He would then go on to center the ball with a short rush before Darnold’s spike allowed Sam Ficken to boot the game-winning field goal from 44 yards out.
Bell had been ruled out of Sunday’s game less than 24 hours before kickoff. He had previously been listed as questionable on the Jets’ Friday injury report. Gase praised the job Powell and Montgomery were able to do on short notice.
“I thought Bilal and Ty did a hell of a job. We weren’t really sure when Le’Veon got sick how bad it was, so we were just circling through our normal deal thinking that Le’Veon was going to make the game.”
Darnold praised the pair as well and made sure to praise the offensive line’s antics as well.
“They ran hard,” Darnold said. “Our O-line did a great job too. (We had) tight ends blocking, receivers blocking. As a group today, our run game was amazing.
“Obviously we missed Le’Veon, he’s obviously one of the best in the league, if not the best, so obviously you are going to miss something there, but Ty and BP stepped in a huge way today and it was really awesome to see them do that.”
Duplicating the success will be easier said than done. On Thursday, the Jets will hit the road on a short week to take on the AFC-leading Baltimore Ravens (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network). While the Jets continue to head the league in run defense (allowing 75.2 yards per game), Baltimore has held sturdy as well. The Ravens’ average of 94.9 ranks third in the AFC.