In the eighties, no one player had more influence on the rise in popularity of the NFL internationally than Chicago’s William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Perry was an effective defensive tackle, but what made him famous was his role on offense, entering the game in short yardage situations, where he contributed four touchdowns in the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl season.
Fast forward to yesterday and the Jets unleashed their own short yardage weapon on the Panthers. Sheldon Richardson is on course to be a far better defensive tackle than the Fridge ever was, but he’s following in his footsteps in terms of being a short yardage weapon. Richardson plowed through the middle on two straight carries. It looked like he broke the plane on the first one, but they gave him a bad spot and he scored on the next play instead.
So, what’s the modern-day evolution of The Refrigerator, only even cooler, mobile and versatile? It’s the Blast Chiller … and that’s what we should all refer to Richardson as from now on.
On those two simple fullback dive plays, the Blast Chiller moved the pile even though the whole defense was loading up at the goal line. I’d love to see them use the same play in a non-short yardage situation. Imagine him plowing into the line against a four-man front. That would wear a defense down something fierce if they gave it to him 20-30 times a game – and just think what else would be opened up once the defense loaded up and then they faked it to him.
Of course, this is all fantasy and the reality is that it was just a fun gadget play with a limited shelf life, but at least it shows that we can still have fun at this point of the season. The fact that it adds to the legend of the Blast Chiller, who is well on his way to becoming an absolute megastar, just makes it all the more enjoyable.
In total, the Jets racked up over 150 yards on the ground, with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell combining for a healthy 103 yards on 19 carries. Ivory did pick up over half of his 66 yards on one play, a 35-yard burst off left tackle, but his ability to break into the open field has been a real boost for the Jets in recent weeks. He’s averaged 5.7 yards per carry over the last six games and has had at least one run of 15 yards or more in all of them. Unfortunately, the fates conspired against him in yesterday’s game. He had 66 yards on 10 carries early in the fourth quarter to help get the Jets within three, but their next drive stalled and then a blocked punt and a pick six put them into a 17-point hole which meant Ivory only carried one more time (for no gain) over the last 11 minutes. Had the game remained close, he might have been able to continue this success, which came against a top run defense.
Bilal Powell also did a good job, contributing 56 yards on 12 touches, with one nice run up the middle and a first down on a screen pass where he made a tough catch. Powell had some issues in pass protection, on one play electing to pick up a blitz up the middle on one play where Nick Mangold had that covered and a man came free off the edge. On another play, Powell did pick up the blitz off the edge, but Geno Smith was forced to step up and got sacked. He also missed a cut block on a play where Smith was chased out of the pocket.
Fullback Tommy Bohanon has struggled most of the season, but had a couple of positive moments in this game. He had a good lead block on one play and made a tough catch on third and short to keep the chains moving. With a better pass, he might have had a chance to beat Luke Kuechly to the pylon on third and goal with the Jets down 6-3 in the first half. Having said that, perhaps he could have done a better job of sharpening his route into the flat to give Smith a better angle to lead him with the pass.
Finally, Alex Green once again saw brief action but didn’t get any touches.
Next up…Brian Winters sings “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain’t never gonna keep me down”.