Browsing Posts published in November, 2015

With the season seemingly on the line, the New York Jets played their best game in nearly two months. Ryan Fitzpatrick was very efficient, throwing for 277 yards and four touchdowns while Chris Ivory looked explosive for the first time in nearly a month. Fitzpatrick hit the ‘trifecta’ by throwing a touchdown pass to each of his starting wide receivers. While Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall regularly hit pay dirt, Devin Smith scored his first touchdown right before halftime. With just seconds remaining, Smith ran a tight post route and Fitzpatrick delivered a strike for a 16-yard touchdown. This scoring play gave New York a 14-0 halftime lead, but more importantly, Fitzpatrick showed a lot of trust in the rookie by targeting him in a high leverage situation. After weeks of drops and poorly run routes, it was encouraging to see Smith haul in this touchdown pass.

Sans Darrelle Revis, New York’s defense completely dominated Miami’s offense, allowing just one third down conversion in the first three quarters. Miami’s offense lost Rishard Matthews and Mike Pouncey to injuries early in the game, but Ryan Tannehill was once again befuddled by New York’s blitz schemes.

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New York’s defense did not have an answer for Houston’s third string quarterback, TJ Yates. Yates managed the offense fairly well and did not shy away from throwing at Darrelle Revis. Revis locked horns with DeAndre Hopkins for the majority of the game—and Yates-Hopkins won the majority of those battles. During the second quarter, Yates hooked up with Hopkins on a 61-yard touchdown bomb off of play action. Revis bit on Hopkins’ double move and Yates dropped a dime over Revis’ outstretched arm. Revis did not have safety help over the top and paid the price against one of the NFL’s best young wide receivers. Revis left the game during the third quarter with a head injury, so his status is worth monitoring.

New York’s offensive line, sans Nick Mangold, did not have an answer for JJ Watt. Watt lined up all over Houston’s defensive front and dominated one-on-one match-ups, particularly against right tackle, Breno Giacomini. New York refused to double-team Watt, which proved to be a foolish decision.

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New York lost the ‘Rex Bowl’ at Metlife Stadium by committing four turnovers and making numerous mental mistakes that led to their third loss in their last four games. Those mental mistakes started at the very top as Todd Bowles made a few questionable decisions. Down 22-9 midway through the third quarter, Bowles opted to kick the extra point, making the score 22-10, instead of going for the two-point conversion. His biggest gaffe, however, occurred with three minutes remaining in the game. Trailing by five points and armed with three timeouts, Bowles opted to go for it on 4th-and-4 from Buffalo’s 7-yard line. New York failed to convert a first down, deflating the home crowd and a defense that was played inspired football during the second half. Buffalo’s offense was able to kill the clock due to some strong, elusive carries by LeSean McCoy.

For the first time this season, Devin Smith was forced into kick returning duties, but things did not go according to plan. Early in the second quarter, Smith fumbled away a kick off return and Buffalo returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Smith made the mistake of returning a deep kick-off out of his own end zone and chose to run away from his blocks. Smith’s mistake spun momentum in Buffalo’s favor and proved to be one of the most noteworthy plays from this game.

Tackling has become a major issue for New York’s defense. New York’s tacklers were routinely whiffing on tackles and each member of the defense missed at least one tackle. McCoy exacerbated New York’s tackling deficiency late in the fourth quarter by juking, side stepping, and evading defenders to pick up first downs and kill the clock.

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It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Jets did enough on both sides of the secure their fifth win of the season. New York had to dig down deep in an effort to overcome numerous injuries on the offensive line and in the secondary. In addition, kicker Nick Folk injured his quadriceps during warmups and gave all kicking duties to punter, Ryan Quigley. Ryan Fitzpatrick, injured thumb and all, was able to muster a competitive, winning effort and did not commit any turnovers.

New York’s defense returned to its ball-hawking ways, forcing three turnovers and registering five sacks. New York’s defensive line, which was led by Sheldon Richardson’s dominant effort, simply overpowered Jacksonville’s unit at the line of scrimmage. Monitor the progress of rookie linebacker, Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin was strictly utilized in pass rushing situations, but registered two key sacks.

From purely a statistical standpoint, Chris Ivory had one of the worst games for a running back in history. Ivory rushed 23 times for just 26 yards, which was an all-time low for a player with at least 23 carries. Ivory, however, was able to salvage his afternoon by scoring twice. While there were some injuries on the offensive line, namely to Nick Mangold and Willie Colon, Ivory is responsible for some of this ineptitude. Jacksonville’s run defense is fairly good, but it’s far from an all-time great unit that should limit Ivory.

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The New York Jets learned that the fate of a team’s season can change on a single play. Ryan Fitzpatrick injured his left thumb, his non-throwing hand, on the game’s sixth play and exited. Fitzpatrick scrambled on a third down play and secured a first down, but went head first instead of sliding. Fitzpatrick gave way to Geno Smith—and everything started to fall apart on both sides of the ball. After chasing around Tom Brady and Co. last week, New York’s defense looked sluggish against a confident Oakland offense. New York’s tackling was uncharacteristically poor and the secondary was shredded by both Derek Carr and Latavius Murray. Personnel wise, Oakland exploited back-up corner, Marcus Williams who was filling in at safety for the injured Calvin Prior. The middle of the field was wide open for the duration of the game and Oakland’s dynamic playmakers exploited it all game long. Credit Darrelle Revis, though for his superb coverage on Amari Cooper, who was limited to just 55 yards.

Monitor Brandon Marshall’s status throughout the week. Marshall went down twice during the game, once with a toe injury and a second time with an ankle injury, and was constantly talking to doctors on the sideline. Credit Marshall for only missing a few plays and battling through his ailments. During the fourth quarter, Marshall’s speed was comprised and dropped a sure-fire touchdown, but luckily, he finished the game.

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