Turn On The Jets Film Room – New York Jets Passing Game, Week 3

Joe Caporoso breaks down the film on the New York Jets passing game in week 3

The Turn On The Jets film room is back to break down the New York Jets passing game in their 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Today we focus on the team’s success with the deep ball as Geno Smith connected on four passes of 40 yards or longer, two to Stephen Hill and two to Santonio Holmes. Let’s go to the tape and see how the Jets successfully executed these big plays.

Play 1 – 45 Yard Completion to Stephen Hill 

On the third play of the game, Geno Smith hit Stephen Hill for a 45 yard gain. The Jets came out in shotgun with split backs and Hill split out right, Jeremy Kerley in the slot and Santonio Holmes backside. Ironically, all four of the Jets 40+ yard passing plays came from this formation and personnel grouping. They all also came picking on the same corner, Buffalo’s Justin Rogers.


Hill ran a deep seven route, which is a post-corner. Basically, he pushes vertically up the field for 10-12 yards, breaks to the post for 2-3 yards and then snaps back to the corner route, ideally after breaking the corner’s leverage. This route requires very good agility and a hard sell on the post route. In the slot, Kerley runs a deep in-cut to help occupy the safety. Holmes runs a backside post. Notice Hill selling the post at the 35 yard line and Kerley getting ready to make his break inside at about the 32.


Hill successfully spins Rogers around when he plants to head towards the corner and comes wide open at 40 yard line. The safety over the top is held momentarily by Kerley’s in-cut, as you can see him frozen at the 40 and too far inside to help with Hill.


Geno Smith actually under-throws a wide open Hill here, forcing him to come to a complete stop to make the catch. If Geno had put the ball out in front of him, this is easily a 77 yard touchdown. Look how far behind the defense Hill gets himself. Terrific route. Not a great throw but still enough to pick up 45 yards on the 3rd play of the game.


Play 2 – 51 Yard Touchdown Pass To Stephen Hill 

The Jets are in the same formation they hit their previous big play on, with Hill and Kerley frontside and Holmes backside, Smith in the shotgun and split backs. They run all verticals here, with Hill and Holmes releasing down the sideline on 9 routes (basically take off deep down the sideline with an outside release) and Kerley running vertical up the seam.


Geno Smith takes three steps and lets it fly down the sideline to Hill who has beat his man (Rogers…surprise, surprise). He delivers a perfect pass despite taking a huge hit while releasing the ball.


Hill has beat his man but was widened to the sideline a little bit. Smith trusts his route running ability and lays the ball out with the assumption that Hill will effectively stack the corner after running by him.


What I mean by stacking is that on a vertical route like this, Hill needs to work back on to his original path after being widened to the sideline by the corner’s coverage. Instead of staying near the sideline and making the quarterback’s window to throw the ball smaller than it needs to be, he needs to work back inside after running by his man and have the corner directly behind him, where he is no position to make a play on the ball. Hill does just that. Touchdown Jets. A great route, ran with veteran savvy and a perfect throw from a quarterback under pressure.


Play 3 – 40 Yard Completion To Santonio Holmes 

In the third quarter, the Jets went back to well on the deep seven route they had success with in the first play we highlighted. It is the same formation we have seen in the other two plays but they flipped Santonio Holmes to the frontside to get him matched up with Rogers.


To help further make sure that Holmes would be one on one with Rogers, the Jets send Kerley (in the slot) on an angled vertical route at the safety.


When Holmes breaks out to the corner after selling the post route, Rogers is badly beaten.


Holmes then proceeded to make a ridiculous over the shoulder catch that merits two separate screenshots. This is an immensely difficult play and is very encouraging to see from Holmes who is clearly just about back to 100%.


Play 4 – 69 Yard Touchdown Pass To Santonio Holmes 

Finally, the go ahead touchdown. The formation? You guessed it. The same one we saw on the earlier three plays but with Holmes now back to his traditional backside location. Again, Marty Mornhinweg is dialing up the deep ball by sending Holmes and Hill on go routes on the outside. Jeremy Kerley runs a deep in-cut from the slot position.


Notice the deep safety (at the 46 yard line) is hesitant in the middle of the field, helping make sure Holmes remains clearly one on one with Rogers backside, in a match-up the Jets love and Geno is well aware of.


The safety is staying put because Geno Smith is eyeing him down and giving the illusion he is considering throwing the ball to Kerley in the middle of the field.


After looking the safety off, Smith delivers a perfect throw to Holmes. Santonio makes the catch, shakes Rogers’ tackle attempt and finishes off the game winning touchdown.


There is no reason not be encouraged by the Jets deep ball success against Buffalo. Stephen Hill showed strides in his route running. Santonio Holmes looks to be back to 100% healthy. Geno Smith demonstrated his arm strength, accuracy and short memory. However, keep in mind that all four of these plays took advantage of a battered secondary and one very mediocre corner who had a nightmare day. It isn’t always going to come this easily but at least the Jets are playing aggressively on offense and have the playmakers to take advantage of suspect secondaries.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • KAsh

    So we abused a rookie corner on all four plays. They would not have happened if their free safety (another backup) had not hesitated and bitten on Kerley’s routes, also.

    And Marty is not shy about targeting weaknesses in the defense, both in his game planning and during the actual games. Just because we used the same circumstances four times against Buffalo does not mean that we will ever rely on them again. Mornhinweg used a short pass/screen game against the Bucs and their weak combination of linebackers and strong safety, a medium to long passing game with lots of crossing routes against the Pats weak secondary, and unveiled Marty ball against the Bills inability to stop the run. My guess is that he will factor in what the Titans are bad against into what the Jets will do.

  • John C

    I wonder how much of the running game’s success, was a result of the deep balls that were hit early on? Of course it can’t really be stated, but I’d say a lot.

    I believe Hill now has 4 catches of more than 30 – it is great to see them begin to really use him to stretch the field. With Holmes coming on, and Geno getting more comfortable, they should be able to keep Safeties “out of the box” much more often.

    Another nice thing about deep passes, is that for Geno, they may actually be safer than a lot of crossing routes and other intermediate routes, that tend to get “cluttered” with layers of Defenders. A bomb, is solitary, and if intercepted, in many circumstances, no worse than a punt. I’m not implying every pass should be a deep pass, but to see them mixed in, and best yet, actually completed, is such a refreshing change from the last couple of years.

  • KAsh

    Almost forgot. Is anyone else surprised that on the touchdown to Hill, it is Vlad looking at the back of #95 as Geno gets hammered?

    The caption for that photo must be: “Whoops! Geno, my bad…”

  • Mark Phelan

    Yes, it is the best having an OC with a Game Plan! Also, having a squad of receivers who offer the options ours does.

    Only a very few attempts to Cumberland after the TB bellringing. I wounder if he is OK; being kept in for blocking protection; or being held for future opponents.

    A few more screen passes this week? I think so.

  • Frank Antonelli

    This is not a one time occurrence against a suspect secondary. This is Geno getting more comfortable in an NFL offense. He’s starting to freeze safeties and do the type of things veteran QBs do. The opposition will continue to challenge Geno since they view him as a rookie and thus the long ball opportunities will continue until they finally realize that game plan is not working.