Ty Johnson turned brash suggestion into breakout Jets performance
The Jets were trailing Las Vegas by 11 points in the third quarter last Sunday, when running back Ty Johnson turned to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains on the sidelines.
“ ‘Hey, do you think you can call some runs for me?’ ” Loggains recalled the conversation earlier this week. “Just how loose he was, how charismatic he was, you could feel his personality.
“And it was awesome to see as a coach, to see this young kid who’s a great competitor to full-on maximize his opportunity.”
Indeed, with future Hall of Famer Frank Gore sidelined with a concussion, Johnson rushed for 104 yards on 22 carries to become the first Jets running back to surpass the century mark on the ground since Isaiah Crowell ran for a team-record 219 yards on Oct. 7, 2018.
Gore could be cleared from concussion protocol to return Sunday against Seattle, but Johnson — and Josh Adams, who contributed 74 rushing yards against the Raiders — suddenly have presented the Jets with viable options at the position following the October release of Le’Veon Bell and an ankle injury suffered by rookie La’Mical Perine.
The last-second loss to the Raiders overshadowed the winless Jets’ first 200-yard rushing game as a team since the aforementioned Crowell performance.
Johnson, a sixth-round pick in 2019 claimed off waivers in October from Detroit, added a 1-yard touchdown plunge Sunday to give the Jets a 28-24 lead with 5:34 remaining. It marked the first NFL touchdown for the 23-year-old Johnson, who had totaled only eight carries in four previous appearances with the Jets.
“I didn’t believe I actually scored,” Johnson said. “To hit pay dirt, it was just really wild. I was like, ‘Damn, I just scored!’
“It was a great moment, still doesn’t seem real. … It’s been a long two years and it was just a blessing.”
Johnson added the scoring play would have meant even more to him if not for the Jets’ latest heartbreaking loss to fall to 0-12.
Coach Adam Gase acknowledged “the game doesn’t always go the way you want,” but even if the 37-year-old Gore, who is questionable, returns this week, the coaching staff would like to keep Johnson involved in the offense.
“Obviously, you hate to see a player go out to get an opportunity to [play],” Johnson said of Gore. “But at the end of the day, the coaches gave me an opportunity to go in there and play and that’s what I was going to do.”