We are back with another TOJ New York Jets film breakdown. Check out previous editions right here. On to the #tape…
Passing Game Perfection
The New York Jets passing game operated at near perfection against the Kansas City Chiefs. This went from the play calling, to the protection, to the wide receivers and the decision making of the quarterback. It is rare to see a team be so productive on third downs but the Jets consistently dominated the Chiefs in these situations, repeatedly coming up with a play in the game’s most important spots. Let’s look at how it happened:
The Jets motion Robby Anderson towards the formation, a player who was likely keyed in practice all week by the Chiefs. He ends up stacked behind Jermaine Kearse and breaks across the formation on a short drag route, pulling a linebacker with him, holding another and then occupying the weak side corner.
Kearse runs a clear out route to take his corner out of the play. In the slot, Chad Hansen runs a deep in cut to mirror Anderson’s drag route, which holds two defensive backs, including the one high safety. With all of this traffic going on, Matt Forte releases underneath into the space vacated primarily by Anderson and Hansen’s route combination. There is nobody near him, the protection gives Josh McCown time to step up into a clean pocket after everything has developed and drop it off to Forte. On top of that, Forte takes advantage of an out of shape Darrelle Revis to add extra yards after the catch.
Later in the game, the Jets use Robby Anderson in motion to their advantage again (remember what we said about the defense keying on him). This time he comes across the formation, ending up in a tight alignment, traditionally utilized by a H-Back. Anderson immediately breaks back across the formation on a short drag route. The entire underneath is open because Chad Hansen and Austin Seferian-Jenkins release down the field on criss crossing waggle routes, occupying the linebackers and safety. The defensive back who is tracking Anderson across the formation is caught flat footed by his release back across the field because the Jets have set this play up multiple times this year with Anderson running immediately to the flats on a speed out. This is excellent play design by John Morton, that directly plays off a tendency set up by previous play calls in a similar formation with similar personnel.
The Jets have frequently used bunch formations to free up their receivers and this third down is no different. The personnel in the strong side bunch is a tell. The point man is backup tight end Eric Tomlinson, the outside receiver is ArDarius Stewart (who is primarily used as a blocker/H-Back for some reason) and the slot receiver is Kearse. Tomlinson and Stewart are “running routes” but really what they are doing is blocking by setting picks with their route paths, which gives Kearse a free release and an easy conversion in the flats. This is a well executed pick-play man beater. New England would be proud.
Finally, rookie Chad Hansen is able to get in on the action. The Jets again use Robby Anderson in motion pre-snap.. He comes across the formation and runs a deep out route, that is cleared out for by Kearse. Hansen is in the slot and breaks off of Anderson’s route to run a spot (which is basically pivoting and sitting in the open hole of the zone defense). Hansen is appropriately patient and McCown is given all day by his offensive line to come off his first read to Anderson and back to an open Hansen. Another successful third down conversion.
Learning On The Fly
Both Jamal Adams and particularly Marcus Maye have had strong rookie seasons. Sunday was not their best day at the office, with Maye notably struggling in coverage for the first time this season since week 1 against Buffalo.
On Travis Kelce’s second touchdown, the Chiefs run a basic wheel route combination. The Jets have Maye in man to man coverage against Kelce, one of the league’s best tight ends. Maye tries to undercut the route and guesses wrong that Kelce will be breaking towards the sideline. Instead, he turns up the field on a vertical route for an easy score. This is a simple case of a rookie playing a bit too aggressively and guessing wrong against a player who is too good to weather that type of mistake against.
Later in the game, Maye is actually in good position over the top of Tyreek Hill. He does not bite on his move to the outside before breaking to the post route. The problem here is Maye’s ability to play the football in the air. He gets caught with his back fully turned to the quarterback, which Hill takes advantage of by stopping on a dime and elevating to make a 40 yard catch.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com