Michael Nania highlights the most crucial moments that went overlooked by the stat-sheet during the New York Jets’ Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Many of the occurrences on a football field that most directly contribute to the outcome of a play do not get recognized in the box score, and are often not even visible on the television screen.
With this series, those overlooked moments are going to get the recognition they deserve. I will be looking back through each of the Jets’ 16 games in 2019 and pointing out some of the most crucial off-the-stat-sheet plays in each.
After looking at the first half of the Jets’ season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, we move on to the second half, in which the Jets blew a 16-0 lead.
3RD & 2 AT NYJ 44 (Q3, 13:25)
Sam Darnold was physically limited by the complications of mononucleosis in this game, but he did make some solid plays with his brain.
This 3rd & 2 play is one of those moments. Adam Gase shows off an interesting wrinkle as he lines Jamison Crowder up in the backfield, who motions into the left slot. Nobody follows Crowder, tipping off zone coverage. Crowder is uncovered, but it’s no lock that Darnold can get him the ball safely. Darnold needs to read the two defenders on that side.
It’s possible the outside corner could shift inside while the safety rotates outside to cover Ryan Griffin’s vertical route over the top. If that happens, neither player would be open and the play would likely be dead. If both defenders stayed put, Crowder would be open for an easy first down.
Darnold notices the safety beginning to drop a tad before the snap while the outside corner stays home in the flat and tags Griffin. Crowder is the easy choice. Darnold gets the ball out quickly under the heat of two unblocked defenders for a first down. Good pre and post-snap recognition.
3RD & 10 AT 50 (Q3, 12:53)
The entire Jets offense hangs Darnold out to dry on this third-and-long play. Five players run routes, each covered man-to-man, and none of them are able to create any separation whatsoever. Upfront, Kelvin Beachum and Kelechi Osemele allow the pocket to collapse around Darnold, closing down any escape lanes.
4TH & 15 AT NYJ 45 (Q3, 12:10)
The Jets defense would pick up a safety under a minute after that sack on Darnold. How did it get set up? Great special teams play by Brant Boyer‘s unit. Lachlan Edwards drops a beauty inside of the five. Trenton Cannon (#25, highlighted) blazes by his man and gets in position to down the ball at Buffalo’s two-yard line.
3RD & 10 AT NYJ 49 (Q3, 05:24)
In hindsight, this momentary lapse of control from Henry Anderson was a major turning point in the game. Josh Allen throws an incomplete pass on third down and the Bills would have punted the ball back to the Jets in a 16-0 hole with under 20 minutes left in the game. Instead, Anderson decides to give Allen a shot well after he releases the ball. The Bills wound up scoring a field goal on this drive. Killer penalty from Anderson.
2ND & 3 AT BUF 22 (Q4, 14:21)