For the New York Jets to make NFL history, they needed a lot of help from different parts of the team.
One of the most unlikely came via defender Ashtyn Davis, who scored game sealing Intercepting in the waning moments of the incredible comeback against the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns had 22 seconds on the clock after the Jets took a 31-30 lead with a touchdown from Garrett Wilson and a successful conversion of extra points.
Jacoby Brissett used his wheels to canter for a 21-yard scramble, and according to The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt, that was enough time to make a quick defensive switch to put Davis on the field.
In his first defensive snap of the 2022 season, Davis went for quality over quantity. He read Brissett like a book and intercepted a pass intended for Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Throughout training camp, the majority of fans and media had written him off as an inevitable future roster cut. However, to everyone’s surprise, he did make the final 53-man list.
After the game, head coach Robert Saleh was asked Davis’ performance:
“Maybe he was buried [on the depth chart] for others, not here. There’s a reason he made this football team. He’s been getting better every week and last year he was opportunistic to find the ball. He’s just getting his feet wet as he finds his footing. People take for granted how good he is on special teams. But to give him an opportunity to lose three points and try to keep the ball up front. Credit to him for keeping an eye on the quarterback, and he got away with one.
When Davis was originally selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft with the No. 68 overall pick, people forgot how raw he was as a prospect.
Originally joining the California track and field team as a walk-on, he stumbled upon a college football tryout that changed the course of his athletic career.
An athletic specimen with rare gifts, but has missed some of the fundamentals of the game. When you watch him on tape, one of the big things that stands out as negative is the pursuit angles of tackles.
This is an important trade for a safety considering they are the last line of defense this side of the ball. If you screw up your task, the short to medium buff turns into a monster explosive.
While his first two years left a lot to be desired on the surface, year three should be the appeal.
He clearly has the talent, but what was missing from his CV was experience in the system and a clear path towards playing time. With Gang Green doing nothing of significance at the safe point (outside Jordan Whitehead), this was Davis’ time to shine.
The 25-year-old has two years left on his rookie contract with a $1.3 million cap hit this season.