The New York Jets continued to roll in Dallas, by obtaining their fourth straight victory. It wasn’t the prettiest of games but they were able to turn it on enough offensively in the fourth quarter to get a win. Let’s break down how they pulled it off and what to look for next week against the New England Patriots. Last week’s edition is linked right here, as always leave any questions or comments below. On to the #TAPE…
The Game Plan The New York Jets struggled in the first three quarters. They weren’t finishing drives, couldn’t get a push in short yardage and left more than a few plays on the field. However, they were able to find stability through their short passing game, led by Bilal Powell (7 catches on 7 targets for 54 yards) and Quincy Enunwa (4 catches on 4 targets for 49 yards). Kellen Davis, Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley all chipped in a reception as well, while Eric Decker remained the Jets primary chain mover and Brandon Marshall broke free in the second half for a few big down field plays. The lack of running game was concerning (21 carries for 60 yards for the running backs) but the jets were able to adequately replace it with the previously mentioned short passing game and break through for enough big plays in the fourth quarter for a win. You don’t always have your best stuff and being able to adapt to do enough for a victory is a testament to the coaching staff, quarterback and versatility of this offense.
This was an ugly game for the Jets offensive line, which racked up penalties and struggled to get a push in multiple short yardage situations. This 3rd and 1 was blown up thanks to an ugly D’Brickashaw Ferguson whiff and Kellen Davis being driven backwards so quickly off the ball and losing inside position.
Their failure on 4th and short by the red-zone was due to Jeff Cumberland being easily beat inside by Greg Hardy and Davis again being driven back so easily and quickly. To be fair, it is never a good idea to pull lineman on 4th and so short and leaving Cumberland to block Hardy is a fool’s errand. Just sneak the quarterback next time.
It wasn’t all ugly for the offensive line, look at this drive block and effort down field by Brian Winters along with a textbook combo block from Nick Mangold and James Carpenter. Easy points for the Jets offense as Bilal Powell walks into the end-zone.
The Quarterback We had three quarters of bad Ryan Fitzpatrick, showing his #JRFitz colors for the first time in over month, which culminated in a brutal third quarter interception that led directly to Dallas points. However, Fitzpatrick rallied in the fourth quarter with two critical scoring drives that ultimately led to the Jets victory. Heading into week 16, Fitzpatrick is completing 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,428 yards with 28 total touchdowns and and 13 turnovers. He is averaging 7.08 yards per attempt (23rd in the NFL) and has racked up 245 rushing yards.
Fitzpatrick’s interception was a mix of a bad read, locking on to a target and being baited by a defender. The Jets ran a basic curl/flat concept with Kenbrell Thompkins and Quincy Enunwa, and Fitz is baited by the underneath defender who throws one step towards the flat route but then jumps right under the curl, directly into his throwing lane. If Fitzpatrick throws this to the outside shoulder of the flat route, it is an easy completion and a first down.
Later in the game, Fitzpatrick did show an ability to come off his first read and improvise to make a play. On Quincy Enunwa’s critical third down conversion, the play is designed as an out route for Decker, which is open at the top of the screen. However, the pressure flushes Fitzpatrick up in the pocket. He steps up and finds Enunwa’s deep crossing route. This is a great job by Enunwa staying with the route and finding an open window and Fitzpatrick knowing where to find his secondary target.
Fitzpatrick continued to smartly utilize Bilal Powell as a check down option, rather than force the football into coverage down the field. This turns into a 19 yard gain thanks to a great down field block by Marshall and Powell’s quickness.
He also did a nice job taking advantage of the clean releases Dallas gave to Enunwa and space he had to operate underneath. The Jets will need Powelll and Enunwa to have another big game and make routine plays like this with so much defensive attention on Marshall and Decker.
The Wide Receivers The Cowboys worked to double team Brandon Marshall most of this game but struggled to properly execute. Below, the Jets have four receivers to one side of the formation and have Marshall on a skinny post backside by himself. The safety oddly tries to jump the route before his post break, giving Fitzpatrick a window to hit Marshall for a big gain.
Later, they try to run an extra defensive back under his deep curl route but he doesn’t get wide enough on his split, which gives Marshall enough space to drive off the corner and Fitzpatrick a big enough window to thread it down the sideline.
The Jets also hit this as a curl route later in the game. This is the right coverage call by Dallas to take this away but just poor execution, which Marshall and Fitzpatrick were able to take advantage of.
The Jets continued to flourish when targeting Eric Decker on third downs, particularly with him working out of bunch formations. Enunwa’s release here gives Decker the needed space to make his break, which Fitzpatrick hits right on time for a first down.
The Thompkins What happened on Kenbrell Thompkins’ huge fourth quarter catch on the game winning drive? The Jets hit a hole shot against the Cowboys Cover 2 defense. This play is designed to have Thompkins clear out space for Decker’s whip route, which Fitzpatrick can read in conjunction with Marshall’s backside in-cut. However, the Dallas safety is held by Quincy Enunwa’s vertical route down the hash, long enough to prevent him from getting over the top to pick up the coverage from the squat corner. The Cowboys are a mess here as Bilal Powell is also wide open in the left flat for a huge gain. Credit to Ryan Fitzpatrick for recognizing the blown coverage and getting the ball to a wide open Thompkins down the sideline, after he fights past the squat corner.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com