For this week’s passing game breakdown, let’s take a closer look at five plays from Geno Smith against the New England Patriots. This past Thursday was arguably Smith’s best performance of the season, as he flashed his potential and avoided any turnovers. Yet, he was not without a few errors.
The Good: A dime to Decker on Revis Island.There isn’t a Jets fan in the world who didn’t want to see Decker beat Darrelle Revis for a big play this season. On this “seven” or corner route, they got their wish on a 24 yard gain thanks to a precise route and a beautiful throw.
Prior the snap, the Jets motioned Jeremy Kerley away from Decker to balance the formation. On Decker’s side, Jeff Cumberland chips and runs a delayed flat route. Kerley runs a mirrored flat route on the opposite side of the set, while David Nelson runs a curl route. A very common route combination for the Jets and many teams is mirrored curl/flats on each side of the formation. However, on this play the Jets have Decker break to the corner instead of snapping back to the quarterback on the curl route.
Darrelle Revis may have been anticipating this, which is why he spins at the top of Decker’s route, allowing him just enough separation for Smith to drop in a perfect pass. New England is playing a one high look and with the balanced formation, along the very brief look off from Smith at the beginning of his drop, the safety has no chance to get over in time for help.
The Bad: A miss in a big spot
After the touchdown we will discuss in the play after this, he followed with a poor throw on a critical two point conversion. It is frustrating to see Chris Ivory as the point man on the bunch and Eric Decker on the bench, without question. However, the intent of this play was to go to Jace Amaro on a slot fade. Amaro gets a good release and is in position to make a play. Smith doesn’t put enough air under the football to allow him an opportunity. Yes, there was a low snap which may have thrown his timing off slightly but Smith needs to give Amaro a chance here.
The Good: Precision Touchdown
Smith did a nice job rallying the Jets back after they fell behind 27-19 with a long touchdown drive capped by this 10 yard pass to tight end Jeff Cumberland on third down. The post route by David Nelson helps clear out space for Cumberland who is basically left in man coverage. He gets limited separation but has a substantial size advantage and Smith throws a perfect pass into a tight window, allowing him not to break stride and get into the endzone for the score.
The Bad: Over the middle in the danger zone
The Jets are backed up inside their own 10 yard line and have double in-routes on the front side of the formation from Jeff Cumberland and Eric Decker. Cumberland has the deep route and breaks into a very, very tight window between three Patriots defenders. The pocket collapses around Smith but he stays locked into Cumberland, attempting to force the ball in, an unnecessary risk on a 1st and 10 inside your own 10 yard line. The throw is also slightly behind him. The Jets were lucky this didn’t end up being a critical turnover.
The Good: Run, Geno Run.
On a 3rd and 2 the Jets roll Geno Smith out, hoping to hit Jeremy Kerley on a speed out. If he is covered, David Nelson is running a short in-cut and settling in a window as a secondary option. New England is all over this play, which is a very common 3rd and short call in many offenses similar to Mornhinweg’s, leaving Smith with no open receivers. Yet, he uses his legs to make something out of nothing and move the chains. This is good, smart patient running from Smith to get a first down.