EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson looked like a Pro Bowler with his big performance on Sunday. But he looked small when he turned to the TV cameras and started begging for votes.
It's unfortunate, but that plea stole some of the spotlight from Anderson's six-catch, 146-yard, two-touchdown performance in Sunday's 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. One of his touchdown catches was a dazzling display of athleticism. The other one was a testament to his football smarts and his chemistry with quarterback Josh McCown.
But after that catch -- a 54-yarder in the third quarter -- the 24-year old found one of Fox TV's cameras and said, "How about you vote for me for the Pro Bowl man, please?"
Unfortunately for Anderson, it didn't go unnoticed as Fox analyst and former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman blasted him, saying "Great players don't need to campaign for themselves."
"I didn't see it, but if that's true, that's not smart football," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. "We don't want selfish players on this team doing selfish things."
In fairness to Anderson, his Pro Bowl plea really seemed overblown, especially in this era of diva receivers and overdone, choreographed touchdown celebrations. His actual touchdown celebration was mild: He used the football was a pillow and he pretended to take a nap. It's not like he pretended to pee like a dog in the end zone or grab his crotch or anything vulgar.
But when Spielman called him out, the damage was done. Anderson seemed to know that when he was asked about it in the postgame locker room.
"I was just excited," he said. "I wasn't trying to come off in a bad way; just excitement, spur of the moment. Everybody knows that I'm all for this team in every aspect. I make my life decisions based off my teammates. Everything I do is about being the best I can for my teammates so it wasn't anything malicious or anything like that or trying to come off in the wrong way. I was just excited in the moment."
His teammates did not seem bothered at all.
"If I got a pick, I probably would've done the same thing," cornerback Morris Claiborne said. "In this game, dealing with the Pro Bowl, there's a lot of different politics that go into it. You have to pretty much sell yourself, market yourself, bring up the conversation. Him doing what he did and (Spielman) having an opinion, I feel like he sparked the conversation.
"Some of the conversation might be negative, that he shouldn't be talking about himself when his team is losing close games. I understand that. But no publicity is bad publicity."
Frankly, if Anderson is going to have any shot at the Pro Bowl, he needed to start the conversation himself, because as well as he's played as the Jets' de facto No. 1 receiver, he still has only 41 catches for 714 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. He is tied for third in the NFL in touchdowns, but his other numbers don't make for a strong Pro Bowl case.
That said, he is improving. He has scored a touchdown in five straight games, and in the last four games, he has a total of 20 catches for 383 yards.
His two touchdowns Sunday were outstanding. One was a leaping catch in full stride in double coverage in the end zone. And the second came when McCown rolled right and signaled to Anderson to run deep along the sideline. Anderson did separating himself and getting wide open for the touchdown catch.
"He's a stud, man," McCown said. "He's worked his tail off since the offseason began and even from what they tell me going back to last year. He came in to this thing as an undrafted guy, put his head down and just worked. And he has a lot of belief and confidence in himself and what he can do as a player and you feel that. I think everybody feels that and I certainly appreciate that and so it gives me confidence to put the ball up around him and he'll go up and make plays."
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Anderson had the kind of breakout game he's been threatening to have all season, with a career high 146 yards and his first-ever game with multiple touchdown catches. McCown is gaining more and more confidence in Anderson, which you can see in how he is starting to "throw him open." Anderson displayed hands, instincts and route-running ability in this game. >> Read more on Anderson and the rest of the Jets' receivers in Bent's Game Analysis.