WARNING: The following may be considered disturbing to some viewers. Please exercise caution when viewing the below GIFs and images which show what was an attempt at a NFL passing game on this previous Sunday between the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.
Folks, I’ve seen Sanchez, McElroy and Lindley go toe to toe. I’ve seen the Geno Smtih/Marty Mornhinweg/David Nelson recreation offense. I’ve watched Brooks Bollinger in primetime. I saw Tom Tupa replace Vinney Testaverde and Rick Mirer replace Tupa. I witnessed the Quincy Carter games and Matt Simms playing. What transpired on Sunday was just as bad, if not worse than any of it. On to the #TAPE…
The Game Plan: Even before the interceptions began to fly, this was a fairly conservative game plan. The Jets were throwing horizontal in front of the sticks on third and long and didn’t shy away from their running game despite falling in an early hole. As the game progressed, it became harder to read what their intended plan was because Ryan Fitzpatrick was consistently making such bad decisions and regularly ignoring open receivers.
In terms of distribution, Matt Forte had 15 carries and 4 targets, complimented by Bilal Powell’s 4 carries and 7 targets. This was Powell’s heaviest usage but unfortunately his most memorable play was a very questionable fumble call. This play should not deter increased usage for him in the future.
Brandon Marshall only caught 3 of his 10 targets and Eric Decker only caught 1 of his 6. Marshall and Decker are two of the twenty best receivers in the league, it falls on the quarterback if they are catching such a low ratio of their targets. Quincy Enunwa caught 4 of 11 targets, as he was not immune from the inaccuracy either. Robby Anderson got in on the action for the first time with 2 catches on 2 targets. The Jets were spreading the ball around but found no answers, wherever they turned.
The primary gripe with Chan Gailey in this game was his avoidance of the running game in the red zone. Forte was over 4 yards per carry and with how off Fitzpatrick was, this was a game to lean on power football inside the 10 yard line. The Chiefs were all over his old favorite calls, the slot fade to Decker and the motion crosser route to Decker. Chan needs to learn how to better coach around Fitzpatrick when he is in full JR Smith trainwreck mode.
The Quarterback: A flaming pile of crap, to put it kindly. Fitzpatrick was 20/44 for 188 yards with 6 interceptions. He was lucky he didn’t have 10 interceptions. This was as bad as you will see a NFL quarterback play and it is on the coaching staff for not pulling him in the 4th quarter when he was so clearly mentally checked out. If you are annoyed with Chan Gailey for not giving Matt Forte a few moe red zone touches, that is fair. If you are blaming him for anything else about Fitzpatrick’s abomination on Sunday, you are delusional.
The interceptions are easy and we will get to them but there were more plays left on the field. Here, the Jets are driving with a chance to make this a one possession game early in the third quarter. It is 3rd and 2 and Gailey calls a frontside smash combination. Quincy Enunwa runs an in-cut from the outside and Eric Decker runs a corner route from the slot. Both players are wide open for a first down. Fitzpatrick never turns his head and instead launches the ball into double coverage at Brandon Marshall.
Later in the half, Brandon Marshall beats the corner off the line on his play-action, nine route. This needs to be lofted in front of him for a touchdown. Instead the ball is thrown behind him. Yes, the Jets draw a pass interference penalty but they left a 80 yard touchdown on the field.
Earlier in the game, a similar thing happens when Robby Anderson makes his first career catch. Anderson is a tall, fast target who has beat the player covering him. Put air under the ball and let him run under it for a touchdown. This is not a back shoulder throw. Seven more points left on the field.
The play prior to his second interception of the game, Fitzpatrick tries to force a slot fade to Decker in triple coverage. If you squint closely enough, you can see a white jersey buried in a sea of red.
Determined to turn the ball over, Fitzpatrick attempts to throw the ball through a Chiefs defender on the next play to a covered Jalin Marshall. He does not succeed.
On his first interception, Fitzpatrick just tries to force the ball to Jalin Marshall. There isn’t a collection of great options on this but taking a shot down the seam to Enunwa or throwing it away in the flat are both superior to throwing it right to Marcus Peters.
By the end of the game, Fitzpatrick is in full “I don’t give an ‘eff, I can throw as many interceptions as I want and nobody is going to bench so let’s go break a record” mode.
The overthrow to Marshall on the wheel route.
The underthrow to Powell on the wheel route.
The underthrow to Marshall on the nine route.
The Context: This was not “Fitz had a bad day at the office, he is a roller coaster” type game”…that was week 1. This was historically bad football. It is now on Fitzpatrick to have a short memory and bounce back from this game against a tough Seattle defense. The Jets should have pulled him in the 4th quarter because he clearly didn’t have it. It doesn’t mean you are replacing him as a starter (we aren’t at that point yet) but sometimes you just need to sit a guy down.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com