New York Jets – Three Sam Darnold Specials, Week 6

Joe Caporoso with a closer look at three of Sam Darnold’s best plays against the Dallas Cowboys

Three gems from Sam Darnold and the New York Jets passing game for your enjoyment…

3rd and 4: 24 yard completion to Jamison Crowder

What is the play?

Sam Darnold appears to make a check at the line of scrimmage when the Dallas Cowboys show a one high, press man look. The Jets have frontside trips with Crowder in the slot and tight end Ryan Griffin immediately to his outside. Demaryius Thomas is the outside receiver.

Thomas releases inside on a deep post route with the purpose of occupying the safety, Griffin releases inside for a spot route and Crowder releases to the outside behind both on a wheel route. Darnold drops in a perfectly placed pass on the third step of his drop out of the shotgun. First down.

Why did it work?

Darnold made the correct check at the line of scrimmage and both the timing and placement on the release of his pass is perfect, as it drops in the small window between the step Crowder has on the corner (this is not bad coverage at all) and the roving safety over the top. Also, Griffin does just enough with his spot route (a pick route in practicality) to free up Crowder.

2nd and 10, 1:11 left in half: 33 yard completion to Demaryius Thomas

What is the play? 

The Jets smartly played aggressive before the half with the lead, including this second and long pass which trusted Darnold and the offensive line with five receivers in the route. Dallas is in man coverage and the Jets take advantage of this by running a short crossing route combination with Jamison Crowder (who draws a double team from the safety coming downhill, opening up a big window for the throw) from the outside slot and Le’Veon Bell from the backfield. Demaryius Thomas then releases behind this cross combination and easily beats his man on a deep post route from the inside slot. Darnold steps up in the pocket and hits Thomas in stride allowing him to pick up a huge chunk of yards after the catch.

Why did it work? 

This is a well designed route combination against man coverage that took advantage of a defense understandably focusing on Crowder and Bell in the short passing game. Thomas does a good job with his route, easily beating him over the middle and Darnold’s pass placement makes this is a 30+ yard gain instead of a 10-12 yard gain.

1st and 10: 30 yard completion to Jamison Crowder 

What is the play?

After Dallas made it a one possession game, the Jets correctly stayed aggressive by coming out with a play action, downfield passing attempt on first down. The Jets run their two outside receivers on vertical, nine routes. Jamison Crowder also releases vertical but with Dallas playing one high safety, smartly breaks his route off to sit in the open spot in front of him and behind the linebackers.

Why did it work?

The play works because Crowder is smart enough to find the soft spot in the zone and Darnold is patient enough to climb the pocket to make an accurate throw without fully setting his feet. The Robby Anderson touchdown brought the fireworks but this might have been the most important and impressive play of the game from the Jets offense.

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