Michael Nania reviews the game that established Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye as perhaps the best safety duo in the NFL.
When the Mike Maccagnan-led Jets selected Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in back-to-back rounds to headline their 2017 Draft class, their intentions were clear – to form a duo of young safeties who compliment each other well enough to uphold the secondary for years to come.
Three years in, the Batman & Robin safety tandem has proven to be Maccagnan’s parting gift that keeps on giving.
Twenty-nineteen was a marvelous season for the pair. Adams was named a First-Team All-Pro. Maye stayed healthy for all 16 games and established himself as one of the best single-high safeties in the league.
The duo’s destructiveness was most glaringly evident in two games – the Jets’ Week 6 win over Dallas, and their Week 16 win over Pittsburgh. Today, we will analyze their performance in the latter game.
Adams and Maye were everywhere that afternoon. Here are just some of the numbers highlighting their excellence:
- 3 passing game tackles shy of the first down marker
- 2 run stuffs for one yard or less
- Pressure to force a third down incomplete pass
- Pressure to force a Devlin Hodges interception
- Pressure to force rushed/errant throw on Pittsburgh’s final chance of the game
- 2 potential touchdown passes thwarted (one of those intercepted)
- 2 potential long run plays stopped
Let’s start from the beginning of the first quarter and run through every positive play that Adams and Maye made throughout the game.
1ST & 10 AT PIT 21 (Q1, 10:21)
Adams is in man coverage against James Washington and follows him across the formation when he motions right. Steve McLendon and Henry Anderson create penetration to force the ball outside. Adams reads the action as it unfolds, mirroring James Conner’s outside cut. He beats Washington’s block and finishes Conner down low. It’s a one-yard loss for the Steelers on their first offensive play.
That play was one of Adams’ seven tackles for loss in the run game on the season, third-most among safeties despite the fact that he was only 28th in run defense snaps played (343).