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Jets safety Jaiquawn Jarrett is the Hoss of the Week

It's a Hoss first, as the Jets safety becomes the first non-lineman to take home SB Nation's premier weekly NFL award. Jarrett's performance last Sunday was just too much for retired NFL defensive end Stephen White to overlook.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In general my Hoss Of The Week award goes to one of the "big guys" in the trenches doing all the dirty work. Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, fullbacks, linebackers -- those are the guys who tend to catch my eye during the games. This week, however, one of the "little" guys happened to have one hell of a game when his team needed that kind of performance the most, so I decided to make an exception this one time.

Jets safety Jaiquawn Jarrett made his first start of the season last Sunday against the Steelers. I guess he decided to use that one game to try to make up for all the lost time. With the Jets having gone winless since the very first game of the season, they clearly needed somebody to step up and have the game of their life to try to get things back on track against a red hot Steelers team. After weeks of inconsistent play from rookie first-round pick safety Calvin Pryor, Jets head coach Rex Ryan finally turned to Jarrett to see if he could help turn things around. Jarrett was just the man for the job.

It didn't take Jarrett long at all to make an impact on Sunday. With 4:13 left in the first quarter and the Jets already leading 3-0, the Steelers were facing a third-and-15 from their own 34-yard line. Jarrett slowly crept up closer and closer to the line before the snap and then rushed on a well timed delayed blitz. He waited just a beat or so after the ball was snapped, then ran through a hole in the protection to bring Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger down for a sack and a loss of 10 yards.

Jarrett sack

The Steelers, of course, punted on fourth-and-25, and the Jets scored on the first play of the ensuing drive, a 67-yard bomb from Jets quarterback Michael Vick to receiver T.J. Graham. Those "red hot" Steelers had barely blinked and they were already looking at a 10-point deficit. For a struggling team, jumping out to a lead early was important and Jarrett's sack helped that happen.

When it comes to big plays, sometimes you just find yourself in the right place at the right time. Jarrett benefited several times against the Steelers just by being around the ball when opportunity knocked.

On his second big play of the day, the Steelers had first-and-10 at their own 20-yard line and were looking to get the ball to receiver Antonio Brown in space so he could get busy. They tried a wide receiver screen, but Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson showed great effort by turning and running to side of the screen. He ended up popping Brown pretty good and knocking the ball out of his hands. Jarrett, who was hustling big time on the play, ended up being Johnny-on-the-spot and recovered Brown's fumble to give his team great field position. The Jets offense took over at the Steelers' 20-yard line, which they eventually parlayed into yet another touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

I'm sure we all saw that coming, right?


There was still lot of ball game left at that point, and Jarrett was just getting started.

On his third big play of the game, which occurred with 7:36 left in the second quarter, Jarrett actually did something he hadn't done to that point in his three-year career: intercept a pass. The Jets were still up, 17-0, but the Steelers were already in the red zone and threatening to cut into that lead. On second-and-8 from the Jets 10-yard line, Roethlisberger tried to hit rookie receiver Martavis Bryant on a 10-yard slant in the end zone. Jets corner Marcus Williams jumped the route and tipped the pass in the air before it could make it to Bryant. Jarrett was once again at the right place at the right time and plucked the ball out of the air at the 1-yard line. The Jets missed a 45-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive, but Jarrett's pick was at least a three-point swing because the Steelers were damn near guaranteed a field goal from that close in.

Jarrett INT

It must have felt so great to finally haul in an interception that Jarrett decided he was going to go out and snag himself another one. His second interception of the game was actually a horrible decision and throw by Roethlisberger. He was trying to hit Markus Wheaton deep after avoiding the pass rush. The only problem was that Wheaton was basically triple covered at the time. Roethlisberger threw it way too high for the receiver to have any chance at catching the ball anyway.

Jarrett was playing over the top of Wheaton, so he was in a better position than him to catch the pass when it got there. He also jumped pretty damn high to go up and haul it in. I don't know what his vertical is, but Jarrett soared to get that one and it wasn't easy. The thing that impressed me the most on that play was the fact that he fell so hard after catching the pass because he jumped so high, but he still hung on to the ball.

The score was 17-3 at that point and the Steelers had already driven to the Jets 40-yard line prior to that play. Roethlisberger threw that shitty pass on first-and-10, and there was no reason for it. Still, I watch a ton of football and plenty of shitty passes get dropped by defenders every week. Jarrett took advantage of his opportunities and made Big Ben pay for his bad decisions.

Really, the Jets looked so much better on defense with Jarrett in there that it makes me wonder if it wasn't just their quarterback who should've been benched earlier. I understand that Pryor needs to develop with reps, but not at the expense of winning games.

Jarrett's last big play didn't even seem all that big at the time. With 2:11 left in the game, the Steelers had a fourth-and-21 from their own 37-yard line. The score was 20-6, and it appeared the game was all but over. You just never know when it comes to Big Ben and the Steelers, though.

Jarrett once again creeped up toward the line and then came on another delayed blitz. He couldn't quite get Roethlisberger on the ground this time, but he did force him to just throw the ball up which Brown caught for (drumroll please) a 5-yard gain.

That play effectively ended any chance of a Steelers comeback and capped off a day where Jarrett was credited with 10 total tackles, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. That is one helluva stat line. More importantly, Jarrett's big plays helped his team to get a win they were desperately needed.

Jarrett hadn't made a start all year, but he was ready when his number was called. That makes me feel a little better about picking him over one of the big fellas this week. At the end of the day, it was obvious to me that after that kind of performance, given his situation, that Jaiquawn Jarrett's performance was the one most deserving of Hoss Of The Week honors for Week 10.

If Jarrett can continue to play at that level, Pryor could have a hard time winning back his job.

hoss of the week