Late in the first half of Sunday’s game, the New York Jets drove into the Indianapolis Colts red zone up 14-3. Quarterback Mark Sanchez dropped back from the five yard line and completed a strike to Jason Hill in the back of the end zone. Fans are accustomed to seeing the other Hill, rookie Stephen Hill in the back of the end zone, but this time it was their recently signed free agent who scored the touchdown followed by a hopscotch celebratory dance.
“It’s something we practiced during the week,” said Hill of his touchdown grab. “I’m obviously limited. My base isn’t as big as our guys who have been here throughout training camp. So, that was one of the plays we worked on. We just made it happen. Mark found me and I’m glad we scored.”
The Jets signed Hill prior to the Houston Texans game. He was picked in the third round of the 2007 draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of Washington State University and spent three and a half seasons in the Bay area. While with the 49ers he made 40 catches for 413 yards and four touchdowns. On November 16, 2010 Hill was released by the 49ers and the next day the Jacksonville Jaguars signed him. While with the Jaguars, Hill showed glimpses of immense talent. Last season was arguably his best season in the NFL as he recorded 25 receptions for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Hill was waived towards the end of the 2011 season by the Jaguars despite his productive season. The Denver Broncos gave Hill a tryout during preseason this season, but cut him before the season began.
Hill is probably most famous in New York for calling the Jets, “overhyped,” last season while he was with the Jaguars. USA Today writers Mike Garafolo and Chris Strauss said Hill called out star cornerback Darrelle Revis when he said, “him personally, he’s a good player, Pro Bowl player, I’m trying to make it to the Pro Bowl, too. This’ll be a good game to put some notches on our belts too.” Revis replied to the comment with, “I don’t even know who that dude is.” The Jets went on to win the week two matchup 32-3.
The Jets offense was moving the ball up and down the field the whole game against the Colts this past Sunday. Sanchez finally had some of his favorite targets back on offense. Tight end Dustin Keller and wide receiver Stephen Hill returned from injuries.
“To have Dustin and Stephen back, that’s huge for the passing game, for the running game,” Sanchez said. “Those guys really contributed today and that other (Jason) Hill too. He had a big catch for us, so that was nice.”
Hill’s touchdown was one of the many things that went right for the Jets offense during Week Six. They dominated the Colts in their 35-9 victory at MetLife Stadium. Although the passing game was effective against the Colts, It took a backseat due to the ground game performing well.
“We came into the game with equal opportunity, mentioned Hill of the run-dominant offense. “I think Shonn took off and Joe took off. We rode their backs today.”
This week the running game took charge. There will be weeks when Gang Green will have to rely on Sanchez and passing game. The two weeks prior to Sundays game the Texans and 49ers shut down the run game.
Sanchez and Hill only connected once on the day. It was a critical touchdown with 27 seconds left in the half to put the Jets up 21-6. Sanchez and Hill are working on getting on the same page and they hope that is not the last time they hook up for a touchdown.
“Doing the things that you do, the weekly meetings and everything,” Hill explained as to how he is getting on the same page as Sanchez. “I think he respects the way I work, early and late, making sure I’m on top everything, and being professional. So far, so good.”