Jets gave Raiders tight end Darren Waller ‘way too much’
The Jets knew Darren Waller could be a dangerous weapon for the Raiders on Sunday.
Knowing didn’t help them stop him, though, as the Raiders tight end had a field day on the way to a 31-28 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Waller was Derek Carr’s go-to target from the start and carved through the Jets’ young secondary, finishing with 13 catches for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s just a really good player,” coach Adam Gase said. “It’s hard for us to match up with him. We were trying to find ways to get multiple guys on him through some of the zones. But they were finding him. That’s Carr’s guy to begin with. It’s really tough to take him completely away. We gave him way too much though.”
Waller had receptions of 18, 12, 28, 38, 19, 29 and 15 yards, with the Jets finding very little answers for him. By the time he scored his first touchdown of the day — getting open for a 9-yard strike with 12 seconds left in the first quarter — he had already piled up six catches for 79 yards.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound target later made the Jets look bad on a 38-yard touchdown catch to give the Raiders a 17-13 lead with 1:12 left in the first half. He caught Carr’s pass about 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, slipped off an attempted tackle by cornerback Bryce Hall and then faked out safety Marcus Maye at the 15-yard line to breeze into the end zone.
“We knew he was a great player, a great tight end,” Maye said. “For the most part, we knew he was going to get the ball a lot. I feel like we did a pretty decent job, other than that one touchdown he got. He’s a great player, so he’s going to get his.”
The Raiders were without running back Josh Jacobs, so Waller took on an even bigger role Sunday. It didn’t help the Jets that they barely got any pressure on Carr, giving Waller time to get open and do damage.
“He’s special,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He caught [passes] everywhere, and he ran all kinds of routes. A lot of guys can’t even dream of doing what Darren Waller can do, and I think he solidified today clearly as one of the top Pro Bowl tight ends in this business.”