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The Jets lost by two touchdowns to the Chicago Bears on the road Sunday. Let's evaluate three of the New York's best performers and three players who struggled.
DL Mike Pennel
When Steve McLendon went down with an ankle injury, the veteran reserve Pennel saw more playing time than he has done all season and made the most of his opportunity. Pennel was credited with four tackles, three of which were on plays that went for no gain with the other being a short gain. That included a play in which he sniffed out a shovel pass and wrapped up the running back at the line of scrimmage.
Pennel also contributed as a pass rusher. He was credited with one hit officially and got into the backfield to pressure Mitchell Trubisky on another play. Pennel is a valuable reserve and the Jets don't seem to miss a beat when he is called into action.
OLB Tarell Basham
Perhaps surprisingly, the recently-acquired Basham was in the starting lineup ahead of Jordan Jenkins, although their overall workloads were about even. Basham, whom the Jets brought on to bolster their pass rush, impressed with his work against the run this week, stuffing two runs at the line of scrimmage.
However, he was also disruptive off the edge, beating his man around the outside a few times to flush the quarterback from the pocket. It will be interesting to see if the likes of Basham and Jeremiah Attaochu see more and more action on the edge as the season goes along.
WR Deontay Burnett
Burnett, a former collegiate teammate of Sam Darnold, was another young player making the most of an opportunity. In the first three quarters, Darnold forced the ball to Jermaine Kearse too much while Burnett only caught one short pass. However, Burnett recorded three nice catches in the fourth quarter to end the day as the team's leading receiver with four catches for 61 yards.
On the Jets' only touchdown drive, Darnold hit Burnett with a tight window throw on a quick slant for 13 and then snatched the ball away from a Bears defender on a jump ball for 29. Later in the fourth, he made a low catch for 15 after Darnold stepped up in the pocket. With playing time up for grabs due to all the injuries at wide receiver, Burnett's chemistry with his former teammate gives him an advantage over some of the other options.
ILB Avery Williamson
Williamson's mistake on Tarik Cohen's first-half touchdown was extremely costly. Without it, the Jets might even have had the lead at halftime. The Jets sent a seven-man rush on the play, but Williamson's assignment seemed to require him to rush only if Cohen stayed in to block. When Cohen leaked out, he was completely unaccounted for and went 70 yards completely untouched.
Williamson finished up with seven tackles but was also out of position on a few other first down completions. He's been excellent against the run this year, but perhaps this game shows why the Titans occasionally took him out of the game in passing situations.
DL Leonard Williams
In a few recent games, the Jets' star defensive end has come under fire for not recording many tackles, although he has been making contributions at the point of attack or by generating pressure. In this game, he was credited with two tackles, including a tackle for loss.
As CBS' announcers noted, Williams is being double-teamed a lot due to the lack of other elite-level talent on the line. However, that's been the case all year and Williams hasn't had a game as quiet as this. He didn't come close to generating any pressure, was blocked out of several running plays and jumped offside once. Even his tackle for loss came on a rare play where he was unblocked.
OL Brian Winters
The entire offensive line struggled in the running game, as the Jets running backs both averaged fewer than two yards per carry. Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks had a dominant day in the trenches, doing most of his best work against Winters.
Although Darnold was only sacked once and hit twice, he had to step up or vacate the pocket to elude pressure several times, with Winters being responsible for a handful of these. He was driven back into Darnold once, failed to pick up a couple of stunts and got beaten for a hit on third down on the first series of the game.
Winters was the only starting offensive lineman not to be flagged for a penalty but otherwise it was a disappointing performance from the veteran.