The Jets won a game they were favored to win by a fair margin, and thrust themselves back into the playoff mix. While it looks likely that the Titans will be the easiest opponent they face all year, the team took care of business. Let’s examine how the passing offense broke down, as it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
The credit of this play has to go to Gailey because this sets up the Titans in a very bad position. They are in a single high safety look, and Marshall motions over inside of Decker. This causes the Titans to switch defenders, but forces the defender on Decker to be playing deeper. The lack of linebackers in the middle of the field for this play makes sure Decker’s defender can’t count on help over the top, alas he’s forced to play back. Also, notice that both Decker and Marshall make their breaks simultaneously, and it’s by design. Gailey designs plays with many variants in it, even if it seems similar. If the QB feels the defense will sniff out this play (ala Decker’s defender is much closer to him) the play can be switched to have Marshall make the horizontal move instead of Decker. This would involve a simple gesture to both of them, instead of having to bark out a whole new route pattern. It’s a nice throw by Fitzpatrick, but the design of this play is impeccable in regards to the defense.
This play is the brilliance of Decker and the coyness of Fitzpatrick. For one, Decker absolutely puts his defender on skates and makes him look foolish. This play also shows the ineptitude of the Titans. Down in the redzone, the CB is playing well back of Decker with inside position. The CB is also lined up inside of him, as to cut off the slant route, with the idea being that you take away the easy throw and force the outside over the shoulder throw, which is harder. However, as soon as the play starts, all the defender does is back away from Decker lending his initial position useless. So what forced him to the mistake? Fitzpatrick. Moving Enunwa is the key to this play, it dictates the entire LB crew to slide over. This takes away Decker’s defenders clog in the middle. The most likely defense in this case was Enunwa’s defender before the motion across the line, was supposed to play zone, hand off Enunwa to the safety over the top. Therefore, he would clog the slant lane for Decker, and his CB plays outside contain. However, once the LB leaves the slant lane, the entire play is just a simple throw. While Decker runs an amazing route, it’s really Fitzpatrick moving Enunwa that makes this TD.
This play is a good example of why having a good running game helps out the passing game. In this instance, 7 people completely commit to stopping the run, giving up one on one coverage all over the field. Fitzpatrick waits for Decker to get past his man before delivering a good pass. The commitment against the run caused them to leave a safety high again, leaving intermediate areas open.
The play has a few remnants of film reviews past. One, it’s a mirror play, there are the same routes run against man coverage at the same time on opposite sides of the field. This is to account for overload blitzes so the QB has a choice to pick a side, without disrupting his timing. Two, Fitzpatrick in situations with single high safety and man coverage on Marshall has a habit of just feeding the guy, and Marshall keeps producing. They execute a well run come back route and gain good yardage.
Bilal Powell has apparently started to take track and field lessons, because he’s been much more explosive the past two games on screen games. This is a routine screen, where he just runs away from the initial defender and weaves his way through traffic. The playcall seems to be a screen all the way, as most of the receivers are looking at blocking right away, and it’s a risky proposition on 3rd and long. However, it works out for the Jets.
The longest play of the year for the Jets is an early gift from the Titans. The only person who recognized the issue for them is DT Jurell Casey, who emulated Sheldon Richardson from the Viking game last year in trying to chase down a WR. The play is obviously all on Fitzpatrick in recognizing the lapse in coverage, and also Mangold for snapping the ball. There are instances in games around the league where the QB is screaming to snap the ball, but the center is too busy directing line coverage to pay attention. This is one of the few advantages of taking snaps under center, because you don’t have to give away your urgency to snap the ball. The play is simple, Fitzpatrick throws to Marshall, he runs as fast as he can. The issue in this case seems to be the safeties as they both end up in the same place before the snap.
The play is in here to illustrate Fitzpatrick recognizing a single high safety with one on one coverage on Marshall. He’s the type of WR that can abuse one on one coverage, so it’s good to see the QB and WR on the same page in these situations. Also notice the timing of the breaks in Decker across the field, built in protection for overload blitzes that may clog one side. It’s a good throw by Fitzpatrick.
Magician’s Assistants Fail:
This is a good route by Marshall, good recognition by Fitzpatrick and a good throw. However, Marshall goes at this ball awkwardly, almost as if he was contemplating catching the ball and doing a spin move backwards. It’s a bad drop in the end zone, and mistakes like this could hurt against a superior opponent. Also, notice the cushion that Devin Smith enjoys, on a comeback route his DB is a good 7 yards off.
This is a horrible throw and the Jets quite lucky it wasn’t intercepted. It might just be the worst option on the board when the throw is made, because it’s a floater pass into double coverage. The much easier play on this were the underneath routes reading the LB. It’s an easy 6-7 yards with the opportunity for more, instead of taking a risk downfield into double coverage.
The read and the route on this play is good, and even the protection holds up. However, Fitzpatrick makes a bad throw and misses an opportunity for a big gain. As maligned as Devin Smith amongst the fans, his speed preoccupies the safety in this case, leaving the one on one coverage on Marshall. If that’s Jeff Cumberland running that route for Smith, the safety is going to take much more of an aggressive role.
This play occurs on third down, and is again the worst choice for Fitzpatrick can make. Decker is open in the middle of the field, and Fitzpatrick throws into double coverage for possibly the smallest WR on the team. The protection held up well so there was no reason to throw the ball. To make matters worse, it’s a horrible throw with no shot at completion. Also, notice how Smith draws the safety on this play. His injury is going to change the dynamics of the offense, because safeties don’t have that threat of speed as much. While fans may not have confidence in Smith even catching cold, his threat was opening up the field for others, even if he was just running around. It would be interesting to see if the Jets sign a speedster before the Patriots game.
Another bad throw, and another target at Smith. In this case, he’s open for a TD, but Fitzpatrick throws behind him for some reason, and almost throws it right at the defender. This is a broken play to begin with. There are three Jets WRs on the right side, but only two DBs nearby. The safety is almost 15 yards off Smith, this is an easy pitch and catch but Fitzpatrick misses him badly.
Overall, this was a good game for the Jets, and a much needed win. The Jets offense moved the ball well and Fitzpatrick had a good game. However, the Titans made plenty of mistakes of their own, and handed the Jets golden opportunities. In the end, they beat a team they were supposed to beat, but the Jets need to avoid some of these mistakes in the next three weeks.