With the first two weekends of the NFL season completed, the New York Jets have already faced adversity. They’ve been victorious two out of three times. Two games in four days, and the defeat of division rivals, the Buffalo Bills in that second game, avoiding an 0-2 start.
Their 37-31 win against the Bills had several takeaways besides the extra days of rest between last Thursday and this Sunday, such as the play of Quincy Enunwa and their new runningback, Matt Forte, acquired in the offseason.
Enunwa’s third-down plays during the first quarter’s opening drives, catches or drawing a holding penalty that kept Gang Green from punting, kept the Jets competitive, bailed them and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick out as the team labored for their first 13 points.
“Quincy’s stepped up this year,” said Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles about his 24-year-old, second-year receiver, who sustained a minor rib injury during the Bills game. “Last year it was just two guys. This year, so far we have three, with Matt, four.”
Forte, 30, who played for the Chicago Bears until last season, drafted in 2008, signed with the Jets as a free agent. He rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills Thursday in 30 carries. His 30 was a career high.
“We knew he could play,” stated the coach in regards to the signing of Forte. “We knew he could tote it. In two weeks, so far, he’s done everything that we thought he could do. We just have to keep him healthy, and hopefully he’ll continue.”
The 10 days between games is helpful to the Jets. Not only did Enunwa have a minor injury, one that won’t prevent him from playing against the Chiefs Sunday in Kansas City, but also their other receivers, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, required some of the team’s medical attention—Decker with a sore shoulder, and Marshall because of a fall that had Jet Nation aghast.
Marshall went down with what appeared to be a seriously scary leg injury. After making a 15-yard catch, he twisted his left knee while being brought down by Buffalo cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who grabbed Marshall’s facemask in an ugly defensive effort. It took several minutes for Marshall, surrounded by his team’s medical and training staff, to get up.
“I thought I was done,” said Marshall, who was able to walk to the sideline with some assistance, and then to the locker room for observation. Miraculously, he returned to the game.
“It was good to see him come back into the game,” said Bowles, like the fans and team, somewhat relieved. “He’s tough. If Brandon can play, he will play.”
Both the Jets and the Chiefs defend a 1-1 record Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, known as one of the loudest facilities for a visiting team to play in. The building is constructed like a college stadium, which enhances the acoustics, which means that no matter how loud the fans cheer, they’ll be increasing louder whenever the Jets have the ball.