BGA: Worst. Play. Ever.

I’d more or less given up on the season, so this was for all intents and purposes a meaningless game, but the joke of a play the Jets tried early in the second half still had me fuming.

The Jets had some momentum before half time but their first drive of the second half was doomed to failure after a penalty backed them inside the 10 and then Michael Vick took an ill-advised sack near the goal line. Still, even after that gave the Bills good field position, the Jets were able to hold them to a field goal and this would be their chance to drive for a score like they had been doing in the second quarter and get it back to a one-possession game.

I was already annoyed that the Jets had been running the ball out of the end zone too often when starting at their 20 would have been a much higher percentage option. However, the lack of judgment shown on this next play was MIND-BOGGLING.

Percy Harvin fielded the punt at the back of his end zone and ran it out to the one yard line and then looked to throw a lateral to TJ Graham. Graham had been lying down on his stomach in the end zone in hopes that the Bills might not realize he was there. They did and Harvin had to eat the ball at his own two-yard line.

After the jump, I will be listing all the ways this was utterly stupid. It’s going to be a long list.

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BGA: Backs to the Walls

Let’s start off our defensive backs recap by looking at the coverage breakdowns that led to the Bills’ biggest plays. As ever, this comes with the caveat that I won’t have seen the all-22 coaches film until tomorrow and that I can’t always be sure about what each player’s assignment was.

The first breakdown was something I mentioned in the linebacker’s review and saw Robert Woods line up on the right and then run across field in behind the linebackers to catch a 25-yard pass. While Antonio Allen was the nearest man to him, he basically just followed him across field having seen that nobody was covering in that area. It was David Harris that Woods ran in behind, on a play similar to one which the Jets have been burned on a number of times over the last month or so. It’s possible, however, that the safety on that side of the field (Calvin Pryor) had dropped too deep.

The next one was Woods’ 22-yard touchdown pass. On this play, Allen got turned around on a post-route and was unable to recover and knock the ball away on what effectively turned out to be a back-shoulder throw. With Allen playing him with outside technique, I wondered if he was expecting help to the inside. On this occasion, Dawan Landry was the safety on that side of the field, but he came up to to pick up a tight end underneath with Pryor dropping across. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pryor hesitated before getting across late.

We then have the 84-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins two plays after the Bills had fired a warning shot on a similar route. Darrin Walls was playing downfield latch coverage and let Watkins blow right by him. There was no safety support, although this was another ill-fated Jets gimmick as this was a look they’ve given before, getting Saalim Hakim to show blitz off the edge and then sprint back to the deep middle to (in theory) take away any deep pass down the seam. A quarterback could fall into this trap by underestimating Hakim’s speed. Instead had the Jets overestimated Hakim’s supposed fastest-in-the-NFL speed and he wasn’t able to get anywhere close to being able to prevent the completion (although he did make the tackle).

Finally, the 61-yard touchdown to Watkins was simply a missed tackle by Walls, compounded by Pryor once again coming up way too fast with a bad angle and overpursuing to leave 50+ yards of open field behind him. Four breakdowns, all of them, in my mind, fixable just by coaching adjustments without even needing to improve the talent level of the players involved and without which Kyle Orton was just 6-for-13 for 46 yards. These breakdowns show no signs of slowing down or stopping though.

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BGA: Backing away slowly

The linebackers played well as a group this week, but their usage continues to be surprising. For example, Antwan Barnes – one of the best situational pass rushers in the entire league over the last five or so years – played 18 snaps and rushed the passer on exactly none of them.

In large part that was because the Bills only dropped back to pass 22 times. This also limited Quinton Coples and Jason Babin to just 19 pass rush attempts between them. Still, when you end up with Calvin Pace having the most pass rush attempts out of the four of them, something’s not quite right. Pace actually only played 37 snaps, his fewest since 2010 but still rushed Orton 12 times.

In terms of results, the Jets generated four sacks in total with Coples leading the way with 1.5, Pace getting credit for half of Coples’ first sack and Babin drawing a double team with a sharp inside rush to create room for Kyle Wilson to come off the edge unblocked. They didn’t generate much in the way of pressure other than these plays, though, although they each played their part in terms of stopping the run.

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BGA: Keep moving them back

Despite racking up 43 points, I’m not sure I’d be too encouraged by this win if I was a Bills fan. Other than exploiting some blown coverages, the Bills struggled to do anything on offense and I’m not sure they have the firepower to beat anyone with a half-decent offense.

Of course those 43 points contribute to the fact the Jets have now allowed a league-leading 228 on the season. However, the nature of the performance sums up how it’s the offense that’s the problem. The Bills started eight of their first 13 drives inside the Jets half and only scored one touchdown (on a one-yard “drive”) and three field goals on those eight drives.

Once again it was the defensive line that was the driving force behind the Jets defensive performance, led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, who continue to play at a high level. The pair shared a first half sack and each blew up a handful of runs at, behind or close to the line of scrimmage with the Bills held to 67 yards on 32 carries (2.1 ypa).

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BGA: Harvin some teething troubles

I alluded to this earlier but I wasn’t impressed with the Jets’ approach to having Percy Harvin in the line-up. With just over a week to prepare for his first down, they were always going to have the most success on special-package plays. I anticipated a couple of outside runs and a few short passes with the opportunity to create yards after the catch. Expecting him to do any damage downfield and have any kind of chemistry with the quarterbacks was foolish. Trying to force it to him downfield was just reckless and the Jets got what they deserved.

With that said, Harvin did show some flashes of dynamic play and picked up 50 yards on seven touches. It would have been even better for him had there not been two first down plays called back for illegal blocks (neither of which looked like it was necessary). A lot of people are already calling this move a disaster because that was all he achieved but we should be able to expect more going forward as he familiarizes himself with the playbook and develops chemistry with whoever it is that will be throwing him the ball.

Even 50 yards a week is 800 per season, a not-insignificant contribution to a struggling offense. However, if what we saw yesterday is the ceiling (not that I think it is), then you’ve got to consider whether paying $10m for a slightly better version of Brad Smith – a guy the Jets smartly let go because $4m per season was too much – is going to be smart. In the end, this trade may prove to be about little more than getting the rights to Harvin so you can negotiate a lower deal before anyone else can give him a similar deal on his release.

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BGA: Can’t get out of each other’s way

Don’t been fooled by the box score (175 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries), this was not a good performance by the Jets’ running game. Take out quarterback scrambles, the Percy Harvin packages and late game garbage yards from third stringer Bilal Powell and the top two Jets running backs combined for just 50 yards on 16 carries.

Most of that was from Chris Ivory, who at least rushed for two touchdowns. Chris Johnson played a season low 16 snaps (less than 20%) and carried the ball just three times. While Harvin did a good job of rushing off the edge (four carries for 28 yards), all that seems to achieve is to take away the main thing Johnson brings to the table.

The Harvin deal is only going to work out if he can do things other players on the team have been unable to do, like stretch the field or create big plays with the ball in his hands. If the only way they can get production from him is to get him to do a slightly better job of something that someone else on the team was already capable of doing, how much have you actually upgraded?

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BGA: Had a bad Oday

As is often the case following an awful quarterbacking performance(s?), I note that some people were blaming the pass protection, which is the next logical step from criticizing the receivers if you’re still in denial about the lack of ability the Jets have at the quarterback position. (Next stop: Playcalling).

There were some breakdowns, but the Jets quarterbacks (especially Michael Vick) again brought a lot of this on themselves by holding the ball for far too long and then not anticipating the pressure when it arrived. There were plenty of occasions where the protection held up well, but the quarterback still wasn’t able to make anything positive happen. The breakdowns early in the game were costly though.

For the second straight week, new left guard Oday Aboushi settled down later on in the game, but had a really rough start. Called upon to single-block Kyle Williams in pass protection, Aboushi was twice beaten for pressures that led to Geno Smith’s first two interceptions and landed the Jets in a hole from which they never recovered. He was also beaten upfield by Williams and tried to pass him off to D’Brickashaw Ferguson far too late, leading to a strip sack. Later on Williams absolutely mowed him over and Vick was sacked as he stepped up. This will be one of the toughest assignments he gets all year, but still it was not encouraging to see Williams dominate him so routinely.

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