The New York Jets weekly passing game breakdown is back at Turn On The Jets (find last week’s right here). Despite losing 30-23 to the New England Patriots, the Jets were generally productive through the air but a few critical errors ultimately helped swing the game in the Patriots favor. Feel free to leave questions below or send them over on Twitter. On to the #TAPE
The Game Plan: Chris Ivory hurting his hamstring on the game’s first play was not optimal for the Jets likely offensive strategy against New England. They were able to get him going a little in the second half but he was clearly not himself (17 carries, 41 yards) and Zac Stacy was not a viable replacement in the running game (7 carries, 19 yards). The lack of production from the running backs and the Patriots decision to double team Brandon Marshall all game (4 catches, 67 yards on 7 targets) put more pressure on the rest of the Jets options to make plays. Unfortunately, there was too much inconsistency from everybody outside of Eric Decker (6 catches, 94 yards) and Jeremy Kerley (3 catches and a TD on 4 targets).We already mentioned Stacy’s ineffectiveness but both Jeff Cumberland and Chris Owusu didn’t come up with potential first quarter touchdowns. Devin Smith only had 2 targets, resulting in 7 yards. In conjunction with Marshall’s drop, a few missed opportunities and a turnover from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets didn’t have enough to match New England’s 30 points.
The Quarterback: Fitzpatrick finished 22/39 for 295 yards with 2 touchdowns, 29 yards rushing and a lost fumble. On the season he is now at a 61.4 completion percentage, 1,472 yards passing, 11 TDs, 7 INTs and 1 lost fumble along with 112 rushing yards and 7.01 yards per pass attempt (23rd in NFL). You can make a reasonable argument he played well enough for the Jets to win on Sunday and he was victimized by a few drops from his targets. However, he made a few decisions and throws that hurt the Jets in critical spots.
In the fourth quarter, prior to Brandon Marshall’s gut wrenching drop, Eric Decker had cleanly beat Malcolm Butler (again) on a fade route. There is no reason for Fitzpatrick to make this a back shoulder throw, just put it out towards the back pylon and let Decker run under it for a touchdown.
Later in the fourth quarter with the Jets were driving for the lead, Fitzpatrick made two frustrating decisions that helped kill the drive. On 2nd and 6, he threw to a blanketed Jeff Cumberland, who gave a poor effort to fight for the football. There wasn’t much open on this play but he had a better shot attempting to throw one on a line to Owusu in the slot when he gets inside position. On 3rd down, he flat out misses Eric Decker wide open on an out route (after he beat Butler again). There is no justification here for attempting the go route to Smith, which was clearly serving the purpose of opening up space underneath for Decker.
For most of the game, Fitzpatrick was in great rhythm with Decker. This is a brilliant throw into a tight window for a critical third down conversion.
Also for the third straight week, Fitzpatrick made plays with his legs. He tacked on another 29 yards rushing and made something out of nothing here for a big gain to Tommy Bohanon.
On the day, Fitzpatrick really should have had four touchdown passes if Cumberland and Marshall were able to come through in the red-zone. All this is from Cumberland is a lack of concentration and Patrick Chung wanting the ball more. This needs to be a touchdown 10 out of 10 times. How about using your size and high pointing it?
The Receivers: The Patriots doubled Brandon Marshall for the most of the game. He was able to break free a few times, most notably for a 29 yard catch and run but this is the play that will haunt him on a perfectly thrown back shoulder ball from Fitzpatrick.
Credit to Chan Gailey for getting creative in the second half with Marshall to get him this look on third down. Marshall lines up at running back, motions to the slot and is able to avoid the double coverage. The Jets will have to do more of this going forward to help free him up as defenses start to roll coverage towards him.
Decker had a terrific game working against Malcolm Butler, finishing with 6 catches for 94 yards and drawing a 20+ yard pass interference penalty. He should have had more if Fitzpatrick threw the fade ball shown earlier properly to him and didn’t miss on the also mentioned 3rd and 6. Jeremy Kerley caught a touchdown pass working from the split end position and had a nice catch and run from the same spot on a third down screen. It will be interesting to see if his usage continues to increase due to his productivity on limited targets.
Chris Owusu didn’t do much with his extended reps. It is hard to get on him about this goal-line attempt, as this is just a great play by the Patriots defense. Similar to Devin Smith (17 snaps, 1 catch for 7 yards on a third down drag route), he was primarily used to clear space out for Decker on his underneath routes versus Butler.