NFL

Seven lessons from the 2020 NFL season: Barnwell on star QBs, coaching and the Jets

    Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

This hasn’t been anything resembling a normal year, but there’s still plenty to learn from the strangest NFL season in recent memory. The rules of the game haven’t changed, but amid the highest-scoring season in league history, there are both tried-and-true takeaways repeating themselves and new lessons to carry forward into 2021 and beyond.

Let’s go through a few of the lessons I’ve learned from the 2020 season and how they popped up in Week 15. We’ll start with something the league’s worst team should have known from the start:

Lesson No. 1: There’s no tank in Frank Gore

If Jets fans spend the next decade regretting their fate as quarterback Trevor Lawrence revitalizes the Jaguars, they’ll have Adam Gase and his favorite veteran running back to thank. The Jets rode their customary opening-drive touchdown and a pair of field goals to a 13-0 lead over the Rams on Sunday, and then mostly tried to kill clock on the back of their 37-year-old leading rusher.

Playing for a winless team whose fans wanted nothing more than to go 0-16, Gore’s 23 rushes were the most for the veteran since his time with the Colts in 2017. Those runs produced only 59 yards, but he converted a fourth-and-goal for a touchdown and then picked up a pair of first downs on the final drive to seal New York’s first victory of the season.

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