One thing you should know about Braxton Berrios is that he’s very smart. Meet the former University of Miami receiver and valedictorian of its School of Business Administration. His final college stats: 100 career catches and a 3.961 GPA in a double major of finance and entrepreneurship.
Another thing you should know is that he’s very fast. That was quite apparent on one particular play that helped turn the Jets’ game against Oakland on Sunday at MetLife Stadium into a 34-3 rout by the home team — a 69-yard catch-and-run by a 5-9 player who primarily has served as a punt returner this season.
“Obviously, football is a game of opportunities,” Berrios said. “When they come your way, you try to make the most of them. It honestly felt good to be able to do something on the offensive side of the ball today . . . Obviously, I want to contribute. I have been waiting.”
New England took Berrios in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but he spent last season on injured reserve. The Jets claimed him from the Patriots on Sept. 1 after the cut to 53, but he made only three receptions for 30 yards across their first 10 games.
Berrios' primary stat had been an 8.9-yard average on 14 punt returns, and he had a season-best 26-yard return in this one. But he also made a mistake in the first quarter, letting a punt bounce instead of catching it. That forced the Jets to start at their 4, although they went on a 96-yard touchdown drive.
“If he makes a mistake, he’s able to put it behind him and move on to the next thing,” coach Adam Gase said.
Now it was the third play of the first drive of the second half. The Jets were riding a 13-3 lead and had first-and-10 at their 30. Four receivers were on the field. Three lined up on the right, including Berrios.
Sam Darnold hit him in stride on the right side just past the 40 as he began to cut, and he raced down the field on a diagonal to the left. The only question was whether the Raiders could catch him.
“I thought he could’ve scored on it,” Darnold said.
But Berrios, who said he has run a 4.4 40, admitted, “I ran out of gas. It was a nice 25 yards there where I was going. I kind of slowed down a little bit.”
Safety Erik Harris finally pushed him out at the 1, and Darnold tossed a touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin on the next play. The Jets were on the way to their third straight win and a 4-7 record.
“We’re clicking right now,” Berrios said. “I think it’s a culmination of things. But the main thing is we’ve been very cohesive as a group and haven’t listened to much outside of our building. I think everything is just starting to really head in the right direction right now.”