BOSTON (CBS) — Heading into their Week 3 clash with the Patriots, the New York Jets are … hurting a bit. They’ll be relying on their third-string quarterback to find the end zone against a team that hasn’t let anyone find the end zone this season.
With Sam Darnold out with mono and Trevor Siemian done for the year after a horrible ankle injury Monday night, New York’s offense is now running through Luke Falk. While Adam Gase clearly likes and trusts Falk, bringing him to New York from Miami, chances are Luke Falk won’t be beating the Patriots defense on Sunday. (Or maybe he will?!?!)
It’s a good thing the young QB has an otherworldly running back at his disposal in Le’Veon Bell. The Patriots are plenty familiar with Bell, having faced him a trio of times during his days as a Pittsburgh Steeler. The crafty back does everything, whether he’s bursting through holes that don’t really exist or turning a short pass in the backfield into a 40-yard gain, and Bill Belichick is well aware of it.
“Bell is clearly one of the top backs in the league,” Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “Outstanding with the ball in his hands. Great receiver. Just a really hard matchup player. He does an excellent job of breaking tackles. He’s a hard guy to get on the ground whether he spins, jumps over guys, makes them miss in the open field, puts his shoulder down and runs through them.”
Bell sat out all of last season over a contract dispute, but Belichick said that hasn’t slowed him down in 2019. If anything, it’s given Bell some fresh legs for his first season as a Jet.
“He’s a very explosive player,” added Belichick. “Yeah, if it’s there, he’ll hit it. If it’s not, he does an excellent job of setting blockers up and making defenders commit, and then finding space and going. You don’t see him run into the back of his blockers and run into a pile and things like that. He makes guys commit and then he finds space and is able to get to it. He’s an excellent player.”
Bell has put up some modest numbers over the first two weeks of the season, rushing for 128 yards on 38 carries while adding 16 receptions for 93 yards. He has just one touchdown, on a reception, and the Patriots are going to make it pretty difficult for him to add to that total.
New England’s defense has been suffocating opponents this season, allowing a measly three points in their first two games. The Patriots haven’t allowed a touchdown in their last three games, with the last opponent to find pay dirt the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
That streak may very well continue on into Week 4, given New York’s anemic offense. But if anyone in Gang Green were to end it this weekend, it would be Bell, so expect the Pats defense to swarm anytime he touches the ball.
Tune in to Patriots-Jets on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. After the game, switch over to TV38 for all the reaction and analysis — including Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s press conferences LIVE — on Patriots 5th Quarter!