As I dig into my virtual thesaurus, there are countless adjectives that seem appropriate for superstar Justin Jefferson. Fantastic, preposterous, nonsensical, and marvelous are some of my personal favorites.
On Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings walked out of Orchard Park with a thrilling 33-30 win over the Buffalo Bills, Jefferson piled up 10 catches, 193 yards, a touchdown, and more than one jaw-dropping moment. NINE of those ten receptions came with an under 50% competition probability according to Next Gen Stats.
In a Week 1 win over the Packers, Jefferson was put in advantageous situations and was schemed open early and often. In Week 10, Jefferson put all the tools on display and won in multiple situations where it looked like the defense had him covered. As the league’s receivers continue to become more and more skilled, defenses can fight back by getting players into certain leverages that dissuade particular throws.
Justin Jefferson does not care about your leverage advantage.
On an early third down conversion, Justin Jefferson had a defender in a low trail position. Theoretically, the defender would be underneath and inside of Jefferson and therefore in a decent spot to stop an in-breaking route. Instead, Jefferson found himself open, stopped on a dime while catching the ball, and threw in some YAC for good measure:
Big 3rd and 11 conversion for an explosive. Nice YAC for Justin Jefferson pic.twitter.com/iM6dV693pm— Shawn (@syedschemes) November 13, 2022
Kirk Cousins’ increasing willingness to throw tight window balls has helped Justin Jefferson see more opportunities and has boosted the Vikings’ offense. On the first drive of the game, Jefferson created just enough separation and Cousins dropped it in the basket for a TD:
Justin Jefferson comes down with a TD 1 on 1 on 3rd down. Another Cousins to Jefferson 3rd down conversion pic.twitter.com/zKKIOrHwPC— Shawn (@syedschemes) November 13, 2022
Later in the game, Jefferson again insisted that calling it a 50-50 ball does not give #18 enough credit:
Justincredible for Justin Jefferson again on a 3rd down conversion pic.twitter.com/d8nT002NbG— Shawn (@syedschemes) November 13, 2022
Coming down with tight-window throws does wonders for an offense. Like asking your best player to get a bucket when isoed in basketball, these wins are disheartening for defenses. Despite being in good position, having the right play called, and sticking to their technique, Jefferson is able to beat defenders and get the Vikings key first downs. Jefferson’s ability combined with Cousins’ accuracy has the Vikings griddying through these games.
I almost forgot, did I tell you Justin Jefferson had one of the most ridiculous catches in NFL history?: