Year two with the Jets has been a tough go for Moore. It follows up with what was a remarkable finish to his rookie year as the team’s 34th overall draft selection.
Over the final six games of last season, Moore recorded 34 catches (5.6 per game) for 459 yards (76.5 per game), 13.5 yards per catch, with all five of his receiving touchdowns for the year. Ironically, the start to that six-game streak for Moore began with Mike White in what was his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Moore provided the Jets’ passing game with an explosive in all six of those games, with his longest catch being at least 22 yards in each game. Also, Moore recorded 35 yards rushing over that stretch. Similar type of production was expected this year.
What Moore displayed in those games was his speed, versatility, and just an overall home-run-hitting presence for the Jets’ offense anytime he got the football in his hands. Pairing these traits with the production in the back half of 2021, the expectations entering 2022 for Moore were significant.
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Second-year WR Elijah Moore provides New York Jets with exciting game:
While playing at least 58% of the Jets’ offensive snaps over the first six games (at least 87% each of the first four), Moore’s production and overall impact on the Jets’ offense was minimal.
Over those first six weeks, Moore had just 29 targets with 16 catches for 203 yards (12.7 per catch) with no touchdowns. On a per-game average over that period, Moore was getting 4.8 targets, 2.7 catches, and 33.8 yards per game. Simply put, for a player of his talent, nowhere near good enough.
After some frustration was aired out publicly, it led to a well-documented trade request. Moore was inactive for the team’s seventh game. In the next two games, in Weeks 8 and 9, he went without a catch and was targeted just one time. He totaled 37 snaps, seeming to be in the dog house with both the coaches and the organization.
Finally, in Week 11, Moore recorded his first catch since Week 5, catching two of four targets for 17 yards.
This last Sunday, with now the third quarterback of the year, things finally clicked for Moore. Although he was targeted just twice, he caught both passes for 64 yards. Both grabs came from his new position in the slot, which also hopefully helps his production pick back up to where it should be.
The first reception Moore had on the day was on a third down on an in route over the middle. He made a tough grab in traffic and did what he does after the catch, gaining a ton of extra yards. The play went for 42 yards, his biggest play of 2022.
On his second catch, Moore got into the end zone for the first time this year. This time, running an out route just outside the red zone. Moore did a terrific job of slowing down in the middle of the zone coverage, working with Mike White for a key touchdown to extend the lead to 14. Moore seemed to be as elated as can be after the score to finally help the Jets’ offense.
Moore now has 36 targets, 20 catches (55.6% catch rate), 284 yards (14.2 yards per catch), one touchdown, and a longest reception of 42 yards. Having played 10 games, Moore’s per-week average is 3.6 targets, two receptions, and 28.4 yards. Should he play each of the final six games, Moore is on pace for 57 targets, 32 targets, and 454 yards. Still, not ideal and what was widely anticipated.
However, hopefully, Moore now puts together a few more splash games and earns more targets down the final stretch here. If so, those stats he is on pace for will only increase, which everyone would love to see.
It is also worth noting that Moore’s Week 12 breakout came with just 22 snaps played. The dynamic of the Jets wide receiver group has undergone some recent changes, with the resurgence of Denzel Mims earning reps and a healthy Corey Davis returning.
Ultimately though, it was thrilling to see a few impact plays provided by Moore finally. He himself seemed pumped after the game.
Moore is extremely young at 22 years old. He has the speed, quickness, route running, versatility, and strong hands. Moore is one of a few skill positions players in this offense with the ability to take any play to the end zone.
His talent level is too good to be kept on the shelf. For the 7-4 Jets to make the playoffs, more opportunities to contribute for Moore have got to come.