The Jets won the game, but it wasn’t pretty. The Jaguars had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but Blake Bortles is a terrible QB, and the Jaguars have to be in the market for a good QB soon. Let’s look at some of the bad plays in the passing game.
This play is a one outcome play, as the Jets have one route in mind and the rest of the team is tasked with blocking at first. The main purpose is to get the ball to Robby Anderson running down the field, and he is open for the pass. However, McCown doesn’t take the risk with the throw, instead choosing to run around the pocket until finding a safer option, which leads to a pass that nets negative yardage. This is probably one of the biggest issues with McCown, as he’s risk averse to a fault and doesn’t push the ball down the field when opportunities are present. The Jets caught the Jaguars in a bad defense for this deep route, yet still end up losing yards on this play.
This is a third down pass that does not get a first down, because McCown makes the throw too early. The read on this play is the middle linebacker, especially since McCown has space inside the pocket to wait. When the tight end runs by the linebacker, that’s when the throw needs to be made, depending on the reaction of the linebacker. If the linebacker moves up for the running back, then the pass goes to an open tight end. If the linebacker follows the tight end backwards, there is more space for Kerley to run up the field. Instead, McCown pulls the trigger early, which allows the defense to collapse upon Kerley to prevent yards after the catch like a punt return.
This play doesn’t count because there is a holding penalty on the Jets offensive line. However, note the risk aversion again from McCown. He has a wide open receiver running down the field and should be able to hit him for a sizable gain. However, McCown doesn’t pull the trigger and ends up running with the ball. This should have been a completed pass down the field. To hurt the cause more, the penalty happens after McCown decides to run, as the offensive lineman is trying to prevent the defensive lineman from running after McCown. Therefore, had he chosen to make the pass to the open receiver, the penalty would not have been called. This is a brutal miss by the Jets.
The Jets are trying to rush down the field prior to the half to get some points, so some risk is warranted. However, McCown once again has a receiver running free down the field, and he decides to pass up on the option to get sacked. This should be an easy completion as soon as the receiver clears the linebacker in the middle, as you can see with him looking back towards the QB, expecting a pass. Another major missed opportunity by the Jets.
The Jets are near the goal line and trying to score a TD, and McCown once again misses a wide open receiver. He makes a throw to a covered Jermaine Kearse, with Robby Anderson running free down the middle of the field. This is essentially a Fitzpatrick level pass because McCown focused in on Kearse from the start of the play and didn’t see Anderson at all. This could have been a touch down.
This is a second and five play, and it almost goes for a pick six interception. The Jets have two safety options built into the route on either end to make easy completions. McCown does a good job of scanning the field, and finds Anderson open for the pass, but he can’t throw the ball with enough force and it’s almost intercepted. He doesn’t seem to see the safety in the middle at all, and it almost costs him. The decision is fine on this play, but he has to put more force behind this throw, or take the safety valve options because this is a fairly easy interception opportunity for the safety.
On the outset, this is an unlucky interception. The pass most likely wouldn’t be intercepted if Bilal Powell doesn’t fall down. However, given the relatively clean pocket, this is another throw that is executed far too early. The Jets have a receiver cutting across the middle and Powell is the second tier option on the play. If the middle linebacker cuts towards Powell, then the receiver cutting across is open. If the middle linebacker goes with the receiver, then Powell will be building momentum with more space to run. Instead, McCown throws this pass early, which allows the middle linebacker to run towards the pass early, thus increasing the chance of Powell being stopped prior to the first down anyway. Since Powell falls down anyway, it’s a moot point, but this is also very bad execution on the part of McCown.
Another Fitzpatrick level stare down of Jermaine Kearse, which almost leads to an interception.
The Jets have a receiver going right down the field to the right side of the formation, with a defender trying to gain inside leverage, thus meaning a free release to the outside. Instead of taking a shot with the pass, McCown throws this pass up into double coverage to the other side of the field, with another pass that is lucky not to be intercepted. There isn’t much to be said about this, it’s just a bad decision.
This is a play that has been analyzed over and over again. It’s pretty simple, McCown threw the pass early, which meant that Powell wasn’t ready for this pass, and it bounces away from him. The pass is a lateral, thus it counts as a fumble and it gets returned for a touchdown. The Jets are set up well to get some yards on this play with the screen pass, but McCown rushing it throws the entire play off.
The play ends up being positive, but it seems like a very risky play with a low chance of a positive outcome. The game is tied, and the situation is 4th and 21, with 22 seconds remaining in the first half. The Jets need to execute a pass from a punter for 21 yards to have a chance for a possibly long field goal. An incomplete pass in this scenario would give good field position to the Jaguars with roughly 16 seconds remaining for a couple of quick plays. The throw is wobbly, and Marcus Williams makes a nice catch, runs around the defender, then runs into his own player, and somehow regains momentum to get the first down. The Jets of course seemed ill prepared for a positive outcome, as they promptly get a delay of game penalty and then miss the field goal. Most Jets fans probably don’t mind this call since the team is playing with house money, but this is a bad call for the situation. If there was more time to sustain a drive, or at least a couple of shots into the end zone, then it’s worth it. It worked out for the Jets but the distance and situation called for a safe punt.
Josh McCown hadn’t won back to back games since 2004, a feat he accomplished with this win. Things that happened in 2004:
- Britney Spears married Kevin Federline
- The infamous Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl
- FaceBook is launched
- The last season of Friends
- President Bush is re-elected
- The Christmas tsunami
The Jets offensive system is actually encouraging because receivers are getting open, but the QB is missing them on a routine basis. McCown has a high completion percentage, mainly because he’s overly conservative with passes in critical situations.
If the Jets had faced a competent offense, this would have been a loss.
A) What’s your opinion on the punt?