BGA: Getting off the island

You sense this was an important game for Eric Decker’s reputation. Entering the game, he didn’t have much of a record against number one corners because of the fact he was usually the second or third option in Denver. In two previous meetings with Darrelle Revis, Decker had zero catches. Never mind that Revis wasn’t covering him and he only played six snaps in the first game and had Tim Tebow throwing him the ball in the other one, that’s not a good thing to have on his résumé – especially when he laid an egg against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

Decker ended up with four catches for 65 yards, which is far from an offensive explosion, but he did manage to get separation from Revis on a couple of plays – one outside and one over the middle – for 42 yards and a first down. He also drew a penalty and almost came up with the ball on a pass Revis broke up where another penalty could arguably have been called. Against Revis, that’s not a bad day’s work. At his apex, in 2011, Revis only gave up two catches and 31 yards per game. This year, only James Jones (3-43) and AJ Green (3-64 against Revis, 7-81 overall) have fared any better against Revis this season. That’s hopefully a positive sign that a healthy Decker is going to be able to produce no matter who is covering him, which will be a boost to the rest of the receiving corps.

Having said that, he didn’t get much help from the rest of the receiving corps with no production whatsoever from the wide receivers until late in the game. Those other wideouts were only targeted once between them in the first half, a further sign that perhaps teams are making it tough for them to get open.

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BGA: Anticipating a drop-off

Encountering a high-powered Patriots offense that, following some early season teething troubles, had scored 80 points in two weeks (only seven less than the Jets had managed in their previous five), the Jets opted to drop seven or eight (and sometimes more) into coverage regularly last night. This meant that the Jets were usually rushing with a one or two-man disadvantage.

Despite this, both Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson did a great job of driving their man back and getting off blocks to get in Tom Brady’s face. They combined to hit Brady four times and accounted for half of the 16 plays on which Brady was pressured. Brady would complete seven of 15 passes on those plays for 98 yards and threw the ball away harmlessly four times.

It will be interesting now to see whether the pressure the Jets are continuing to generate (even when not blitzing) will have more of an impact upon opposing quarterbacks, with the Jets facing some less established names over the next few weeks. It’s pretty incredible that they’ve still only intercepted one pass all season and you’d imagine that has to change at some point.

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BGA: Get to the back of the Q!

Whatever the main reasons for the Jets’ five-game losing streak entering last night, one of the last things I’d atrribute it to is the play of Quinton Coples. However, Coples was benched last night for veteran Jason Babin and only played a bit-part role.

While Coples has only one sack so far this season, he’s been generating constant pressure and the run defense has been much better with him in the game rather than Babin. The fact he didn’t play at all until late in the second quarter makes me wonder if this is something of a disciplinary nature. When he got in the game, Coples looked noticeably slow in pursuit compared with earlier this year, so maybe there’s a physical aspect to it as well. He was sporting a large elbow brace for the first time all season.

While the Jets maybe had higher expectations for Coples in terms of his sack total, the pass rush as a unit has been working well, with Coples getting close himself, but often being the player whose pressure results in someone else getting the cheap sack. In fact, he was close to getting a sack again last night despite only rushing the passer eight times, with Brady stepping up to slip out of his grasp and throwing incomplete on an important third down.

I’ve seen in Coples’ body language over the past few weeks that he’s getting frustrated. Whether that’s with not getting holding calls, coming so close on so many occasions and not closing the deal or just with his role generally, I expect that’s a factor in his benching. I just hope this is a case of the Jets trying to motivate him to get more from him rather than a sign they’ve unexpectedly soured on a player who was showing progress and making positive contributions.

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BGA: Blown away

After holding his own when thrust into the cornerback role earlier in the season, many Jets fans were looking forward to seeing Antonio Allen make his return to his natural position of safety and continuing to develop. Personally, I was dubious. Allen had shown promise last year when matched up in man coverage, which is why I wasn’t all that surprised he held his own at corner. However, he had been too inconsistent in coverage support.

Allen moved back into the starting line-up at safety this week. Calvin Pryor had been struggling, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him replaced, although perhaps it was surprising that they didn’t opt to start Jaiquawn Jarrett there instead. Jarrett had replaced Pryor late in the Broncos game and the defense had fared well with him in there, forcing three straight punts. Instead, Allen was paired with Dawan Landry at safety and his error gifted the Patriots an easy touchdown on a day when nothing else came easily for them all day.

As they’ve taken to doing, the Jets will often opt to press a receiver at the line and then pass him off to the deep safety. However, when Phillip Adams did this with Shane Vereen, Allen was not anticipating it and came up too fast to station himself in no-man’s land. Brady would have known this was a touchdown pretty much immediately, but had time to roll out and make an easy throw to the wide open Vereen.

After this gaffe, Pryor took over from Allen at safety and Allen moved into the nickel back role which seems more suited to his skill-set anyway. However, you’d expect a safety’s instinct to be to keep the receiver in front of him on 3rd and goal at the 19. However, when he initially played tight coverage on Danny Amendola, he allowed Amendola to sneak behind him for the decisive touchdown, infuriating Ryan. After that, he was benched for the remainder of the game and it might take a while for him to get out of Ryan’s doghouse.

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BGA: Pushgate sequel fails to disguise special teams woes

As noted, we’re doing this week’s BGA in reverse, partly to shake things up but also partly to get into those areas which had the biggest influence on the game last night. Special teams were obviously a major factor, with Nick Folk’s potential game winning field goal as time expired being blocked to preserve the two-point win for New England.

Last year in the home game against New England, Folk missed a long field goal in overtime but got a reprieve when New England were correctly called for an unnecessary roughness call because Chris Jones pushed a teammate into the line of scrimmage. Folk then made a shorter field goal to win the game a few minutes later. Ironically, it was Jones who blocked the field goal to preseve last night’s win.

Could there have been a repeat though? Dom from NJ.com points out here than the official prevented Dont’a Hightower from being penalized for lining up over the long snapper rather than just throwing a flag on him, but apparently that’s standard procedure. Let’s assume the Patriots didn’t break the rule that says you must line up with your “entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap” (although they did pinch in right before the snap and it is debatable as to whether there is some overlap in terms of the legs and feet that would constitute part of the “entire body”). Did they break that rule that says “players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation”?

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BGA: Six feet under

Welcome to BGA! We’ll be here the day after every Jets game for an in-depth review of what happened. We’ll look at each position group throughout the day, so keep coming back to TJB to check it out. We’ll also post a summary with links to all the articles later on today.

Let’s move on to discuss yesterday’s game…

This one hurt. However, it hurt more for the fact that it was the Patriots than the fact that it was a sixth straight loss or because it pushed the Jets closer to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention before Thanksgiving.

At the end of the day, 1-6 isn’t really that different from 1-5, representing, as both situations do, a reality of being basically out of contention already. However, at least after this loss the Jets can feel a bit better about where they’re headed over the remainder of the season because they did play a lot better than in recent weeks (unpredictable nature of their opponent’s season so far notwithstanding).

I don’t like to make predictions, but a line I typed out for inclusion in my preview article yesterday and then deleted (because I don’t like to make predictions) went something like this:

With the matchups the way they are, you can expect the Jets to dominate in the trenches and the Patriots to dominate downfield. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be enough.

That sums up the game quite nicely, as the Jets ran the ball well, protected Geno Smith well enough to enable him to move the chains, stifled the run and pressured Tom Brady pretty consistently. However, they blew a few key coverages, didn’t make any big plays of their own downfield and couldn’t convert in the red zone enough to win the game.

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BGA Preview: Jets at Patriots

During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…

The Jets and Patriots rekindle their rivalry on Thursday night coming off a short week. Last season, the teams split two games with the Patriots winning an early season game 13-10 after three Geno Smith fourth quarter interceptions but the Jets responding at home in an overtime win. The Patriots were looking pretty mortal early in the season after an unconvincing 2-2 start was punctuated by a blowout loss to the Chiefs. However, they’ve responded well to the adversity, scoring 80 points in their last two games and will be heavily favored against the struggling Jets.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

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