The man the Australians call the Hayne Plane made quite an impression in his first NFL action. Jarryd Hayne looked solid working as both a running back and return man. He finished the first half with 63 rushing yards and 24 punt return yards.
Hayne rushed for two yards on his first attempt, but shortly thereafter followed it up with a nice 53-yard rush. He got some really good blocking on the play, but it was still good to see the "rookie" break a big run. He has 63 rushing yards on five carries.
Dude was playing rugby last year in another continent pic.twitter.com/EqfJsRhVNE— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) August 16, 2015
On the next drive, Hayne was the punt returner and had an 11-yard return with a broken tackle mixed in. Later he had a 13-yard punt return. He broke some tackles and showed excellent vision on both punts. Here is his second punt return:
Rugby player just making things happen https://t.co/oSl3274s9T— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) August 16, 2015
He also had a 33-yard kick return. The only negative in the first half was on a receiving attempt. He was the safety valve and Blaine Gabbert looked to him. The defender was closing quickly, and as Hayne turned around, the defender was on him and stripping the ball for an incompletion. I'd put it more on Gabbert than Hayne.
The big thing to take from Jarryd Hayne's debut is that he does solid work in pads. The specific numbers are not all that important. Instead, it is more about just what we saw him do. He showed some nice vision, and he could get physical when needed. He needs to build on this, but it was a strong first step in game action. It was exactly what we needed to see from Hayne in his first professional football game.