With three games remaining on the 2021 NFL schedule, including games against the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NY Jets’ best chance to taste victory again this season was clearly this week against the humble Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gang Green didn’t disappoint and beat the Jaguars by a score of 26-21 in front of a sparse but lively crowd at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets capitalized on a strong rushing attack led by Michael Carter who ran for 118 yards on 16 carries. Carter is the first Jets running back to cover more than 100 yards in a game since Ty Johnson did against the Las Vegas Raiders in December of last year.
Strategist Zach Wilson also contributed 91 extra rushing yards in four carries, including a dazzling 52-yard touchdown rush in the second quarter.
However, the Jets’ dominant ground offense was only part of the equation on Sunday. The other part was the outstanding performance of “Mr. Clutch” Braxton Berrios. Week after week, Berrios continued to shine and find ways to help the team score points.
Since the creation of the “Beast of the week” award, Berrios has been a finalist several times, but this week, the honor is solely his.
The former Miami Hurricane was a big contributor against Jacksonville, which was highlighted by a 102-yard electric kickoff return early in the second quarter.
It was the Jets’ first touchdown return since 2018 and the longest return since the late Joe McKnight returned one for 107 yards in 2011. Overall, Berrios returned three kickoffs for 138 yards. and a punt return for 12 yards.
Berrios also provided stability to a exhausted Jets receiving corps which included Jeff Smith, Denzel Mims and Keelan Cole. The quick receiver caught five passes for 37 yards and has clearly become Zach Wilson’s go-to guy.
It has become increasingly evident that the Jets’ coaching staff have great faith in Berrios and continue to rely on him more and more in key situations.
In the second quarter, facing a fourth down and a three-yard situation, Wilson moved closer to Berrios in the middle for a big first-down conversion allowing the Jets to retain possession for the remainder of the first half. .
In the fourth quarter, Berrios had two more big receptions for the Jets. The first was a conversion of a second down and seven on a bubble screen while the second catch was on a huge third down and nine plays in which Berrios absorbed a big blow in the middle.
The receiver kept control of the ball and gave the Jets another big first down on a practice that would eventually lead to a field goal and a 26-21 lead.
Braxton Berrios has been solid for the Jets since Game 1 of this season. During a year of growing pains and instability, Berrios has been a model of consistency.
Over the past few seasons, Berrios has grown into a tough and highly intelligent football player. Extending him or signing him again should be high on the Jets’ to-do list as the oar moves forward.
Top players with a great work ethic are hard to find. Berrios is that type of player and I hope he will continue to provide the Jets with the versatility and leadership needed for a young team in the years to come.
He’s my “beast of the week” and who knows, maybe one day Jets fans will look back on Braxton Berrios’ career the same way they now look at Wayne Chrebet’s career. Only time will tell, but he’s definitely a keeper.