New York Jets Passing Game Breakdown, Week 13

Joe Caporoso breaks down the film of the New York Jets passing game in their week 13 win over the New York Giants

We are back with another look at the New York Jets offense and more specifically their passing attack. You can check out last week’s edition right here. The Jets had one of their most productive passing games in the past decade against the New York Giants in a 23-20 victory. As always, please leave any questions or comments below or over on Twitter. On to the #TAPE…

The Game Plan: After an encouraging start with their running game led by Chris Ivory, the Jets moved to a more pass happy Bilal Powell centered attack to counter a Giants pass rush that was abusing their offensive line. They routinely turned to their screen game and play action boot package, which both Powell and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick thrived with. Ivory appeared to tighten up after his big opening drive and then fumbled, which limited his impact for the rest of the game after the first quarter. The Jets had limited opportunities on offense in the second half thanks to a prolonged Giants offensive drive but began to get rolling down 20-10 with a little under 8 minutes to play.

The Jets stuck with and won with a proven formula for them in 2015 with a slight twist: Relentlessly funnel the ball to Brandon Marshall outside the numbers (12 catches on 13 targets for 131 yards and a TD) combined with relentlessly funneling the ball to Eric Decker in the slot (8 catches on 12 targets for 101 yards). The twist was an increased focus of Powell as the third option. He responded with a career day (8 catches on 13 targets for 91 yards). There wasn’t anything overly complicated with the Jets approach, they stuck to 3 or 4 primary passing concepts that the Giants could not figure out how to stop.

The Quarterback: Fitz-Freaking Magic. The Jets starting quarterback picked a great time to play his two best games of the season. Building off last week’s strong performance, Fitzpatrick lit up the Giants to the tune of 36/50, 390 yards and 2 TDs with zero turnovers. He also chipped in a timely 22 yards rushing. On the season, Fitzpatrick is now at a 60.1 completion percentage, 24 total touchdowns, 12 turnovers and 7.0 yards per attempt (22nd in the NFL). He is averaging over 238 yards passing per game, a foreign high number around these parts.

He only had a handful of missteps in this game. He put too much air on both of these swing screen attempts preventing them from having a proper chance to develop.

On this deep attempt to Eric Decker, Fitzpatrick failed to notice an open Devin Smith down the sideline for a potential big play. Smith spent the bulk of this game clearing out space for Decker and Marshall but on this particular play and a handful of others, he got himself open for down field shots.

Finally, if there is one ironclad rule on the Jets it is this: do not EVER throw to Kellen Davis. Ever. This is a particularly frustrating mistake because of how wide open Decker is for the win (2nd down in overtime). This is a beautifully designed play by Gailey and a perfect route from Decker, hence his frustration after. You can’t blame Gailey for Davis getting a target when things like this happen.

Fitzpatrick got hot in the second half by properly taking advantage of this route concept, which the Giants refused to cover. The outside two receivers run mirror in-cuts to occupy the shallow linebacker and corner, leaving an open void in the middle of the field for Decker to take advantage of. The Jets ran this four times for 52 yards on a single drive.

He also thrived moving outside of the pocket, as the Jets went to their boot concept more frequently than normal. This was perfect timing and execution on a critical 3rd and 2 in overtime. 35 million man Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t have much of a chance here against Decker.

Finally, Fitzpatrick successfully was able to improvise with a game saving scramble late in the 4th quarter. He also created outside the pocket on a 28 yard hook up with Quincy Enunwa.

The Receivers:  You got a good idea of what Eric Decker was able to do above. Brandon Marshall put on an absolute show for the second week in a row. Shame on the Giants for thinking they could cover him one on one and letting him feast on his normal collection of deep comebacks and fade routes.

Beyond that, Chan Gailey got Marshall moving across the formation to get him in open space and freed up.

The Gailey: A paragraph of appreciation for the Jets offensive coordinator, who is the best one they have had since Charlie Weis in 1998. Do not discount the job he has done this season just because the Jets added Marshall, James Carpenter and Ryan Fitzpatrick to the mix. Gailey had the foresight to put Decker primarily in the slot, use Quincy Enunwa as the H-Back, properly feed Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell and have a quick release offense with a shaky offensive line. He also does not shy away from peppering Marshall with targets, particularly in the red-zone.

A less competent offensive coordinator wouldn’t frequently use Decker in the slot, would keep Enunwa on the bench while playing Jeff Cumberland more, not properly feed Ivory and Powell, and be unable to cover up a weak offensive line (cough, Marty Mornhinweg, cough). We’d also have regular articles questioning why Marshall isn’t getting enough targets.

Appreciate old man Gailey, he’s doing good work this season.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports