The Jets won another tough game this week, against the Dallas Cowboys, and stayed in the hunt for the playoffs. The Jets do need some outside help to get into the playoffs, but most importantly, they need to win the games on their schedule. Ryan Fitzpatrick did not have his best game, and the offense looked stagnant at times, but they pulled out the last minute victory. It’s victories like this, where the team wins without playing it’s best ball that lead to playoff appearances. Let’s take a look at this week’s Film Breakdown:
This is a simple play design with Fitzpatrick rolling out to the left and finding Decker on a crossing route. While Kellen Davis is much maligned on by the fans, he makes the play here that allows Decker to make the catch. Davis pushes the defensive end inside and then breaks outside as the safety valve for Fitzpatrick. For the QB, the read is simple here, see what the LB assigned to Davis will do. If the LB drops back, dumpoff to Davis, if not, there should be a clear path to Decker. In this case, the LB sticks by Davis, thus the pass is open to Decker. It’s a good rollout and recognition by Fitzpatrick.
The pre-snap movement in this case has been displayed numerous times this year, and is highly effective because it creates separation without game action. Notice prior to the movement, the CB is right up on Decker. Once he moves, the CB has to play behind the CB playing Marshall, therefore creating an extra 2 yards or so of separation. That extra separation is enough for the completion here. It’s a good route by Decker, and a good throw by Fitzpatrick, but the main reason this play was a success is because of the movement.
Brandon Marshall one on one, with a single high safety? Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t even look elsewhere on this play. Once, the safety on Marshall’s side showed his hand with the blitz, this ball more often than not is going to Marshall. This playcall also happens to be somewhat good for the Jets, because the Cowboys are technically double teaming Marshall. His CB is playing the inside route to take away the slants, while a LB drops back to the outside, to take away the quick out route. However, the comeback route is run deep enough that the LB is taken out of this play completely.
Notice how the Cowboys are lined up on 3rd and 8 here. They employ a wide front 4, with the middle open, the same technique the Eagles used in their game. Other teams have caught on that the front gives the Jet’s line trouble, and the only way to combat it is to run up the middle with the QB. In this case, the Cowboys are betting that they can stop Fitzpatrick before he gains 8 yards, but he ends up burning them. Moving up in the pocket and running were two things Fitzpatrick failed to do in the Eagles game, but he has been much better at it lately. He makes a great run here and gets the first down. Also, notice again how the formation on the bottom led to separation.
This is purely just a good throw. Nothing exotic about the play design, nor do they take advantage of a big mismatch. The LBs are all deep in this case, Marshall runs past them, and makes a curl route, and just executes it extremely well. Great anticipation by Fitzpatrick on this throw, as he begins to throw the ball before Marshall even makes his cutback. This is just a case of great connection between the QB and the WR, and Marshall just being good at beating his CB. After years of mediocrity at the position, the Jets actually have one of the best duos in the game.
Brandon Marshall one on one again? This play was going to Marshall once the Dallas defense showed itself. Enunwa runs the Stephen Hill route to keep the safety occupied from entering the middle of the field, and Marshall makes a great cut, and a good throw by Fitzpatrick. It’s also a good job by the QB to move up in the pocket against pressure. The secondary throw here is to Ivory if Marshall is not open. This is something of a safety valve the Jets lacked in years past where the RBs rarely went out for passes. While it may not show up in the stat sheets, those guys running out there more often occupies the LBs from dropping back further.
This may not be the best read on this play, because Marshall is essentially double covered on this play, but the safety bites outside for some reason, as if he was guessing a comeback route. The mismatches are on the other side of the field, where the Cowboys are playing zone coverage, but Fitzpatrick doesn’t look towards them. This is a nice throw, and a good catch by Marshall. It is the Dallas defenders over aggressiveness that makes this play occur seamlessly.
The Cowboys are again lined up in a wide stance with the middle open, and again Fitzpatrick moves up in the pocket with the option to run in the open field. The Cowboys are counting on stopping Fitzpatrick before he gets to the first yard marker. However, Fitzpatrick finds a cutting Enunwa against the zone defense, and makes a great throw. Enunwa, for his part, makes a great catch as well, readjusting his body to catch the ball throw slightly behind him. This is a huge conversion in the game.
Pre-snap movement creating separation? The Jets display it again, this time at the goal line. Dallas is lined up in man coverage across the board, assuming it’s a running play. When Decker goes in motion, it forces his CB to run across the line and run into traffic. Notice where Decker stops before the snap, it’s well inside of Marshall. If he crosses, Marshall, then the CB covering Marshall will switch, and the CB chasing Decker would be covering Marshall, negating any space advantages. However, by stopping short of Marshall, it creates the pick play with Marshall running a route right at his defender, causing him to pause, which in turn slows down Decker’s defender just enough to have the easy TD. This play is almost all based on playcall and set up, as the execution on this play is simple.
When you read this article, this play will come first, but this is actually a great adjustment from one of the bad magic moments that you will read about later. Earlier in the game, the CB on Thompkins was caught on a double move (Fitzpatrick missed it) where he was looking into the backfield. On that play, Thompkins was going to be running wide open. The Jets try a double move here, and catch the CB peeking into the pocket again, and gets burned for possibly the biggest play of the game. The safety valve again on this play is the RB, but there is no need. Thompkins beats the guy down the field, although replays show him juggling the ball when initially caught, which probably induced a few heart attacks in the tri-state area. Great route, and great throw by Fitzpatrick.
Magician’s Assistants Fail
This is a 4 WR set, and again Dallas tries to mask a double team on Marshall. However the playcall negates the double team as the slant is well behind the safety turning this into a one on one matchup. Fitzpatrick makes a great throw, and it hits Marshall’s hands perfectly, but he misses the catch. A WR of Marshall’s caliber should bring in this ball and convert the first down here. It’s a bad drop by Marshall that really hurt the team.
This play isn’t tremendously foolish, but it’s a missed opportunity for the Jets. Pre-snap, the Cowboys show blitz from Decker’s side, meaning Decker is going one on one against a safety 10 yards out. From another angle, Fitzpatrick even looks at Decker, but turns and chucks the pass to Marshall, missing high. This is a play a top tier QB burns defenses with because the matchup as a result of this blitz is too good.
The play again is an example of failing to pick up the blitz and leading to a bad play. In this play, the defender on Enunwa shows blitz, with the closest defender being 8 yards away from him. Considering the short route that he is running, Enunwa should be the hot read on this play. Pre-snap read on Decker is fine here, his defender is well off, so if this is a well protected play, then the pass to Decker makes sense. However, since it’s a slow developing route, Enunwa should have been the first read, and the pass should have gone there since he was wide open. Enunwa creates a mismatch for the team because of his blocking abilities, alas allowing him to function almost as a TE. This is a mismatch opportunity the Jets should look to exploit as the season winds down. This is just a bad throw to the middle of the field.
This play is partially broken because Ferguson can’t control the DE one on one, and leads to pressure. It’s a bad throw to Decker, and the Jets are lucky this wasn’t picked off. Notice Thompkins on the outside though, and the double move he puts on the CB. It’s an easy TD if Fitzpatrick looks his way, but he makes a bad throw to Decker. However, it’s from this play that develops the big pass to Thompkins at the end of the game, because the CB was susceptible to double moves.
The throw ends Fitzpatrick’s interception streak and it’s just a good play by the CB. The read on this play was the CB that eventually made the INT since the Cowboys were in zone. If he goes with Enunwa, this is a first down to Thompkins. However, the CB fakes going with Enunwa and jumps into the passing lane. He was reading Fitzpatrick’s eye all the way, and it led to a big play. Obviously the pass to Enunwa was better here, but this is not one of those horrible interceptions into triple coverage. This was more the CB making a calculated risk, and it paid off.
Overall, this was an average game from the offense. They got 3 turnovers (the 4th ended the game for all intents and purposes) and a good defensive effort, so there should’ve been more points on the board. Against the back up QBs of Dallas, they can get away with this kind of performance, but they need to improve to get into the playoffs in the next two weeks. Quincy Enunwa could be an X-factor for the offense because he does provide some mismatches with his size, speed, and blocking ability. A win’s a win, so the Jets will celebrate this victory, but next week needs to be better.