Big Dog Breakdown Jets – Vikings

Alright so obviously Sunday wasn’t the result all us Jets fans were looking for, the Vikings showed why they were favored on the road and Darnold looked like a rookie. This is another game I was at (again no big deal) so this will be my first time getting the full view of the game. A few things that stood out to me during the game, it was cold and windy as hell and when the weather is like that you have to be able to establish the run. The defense was was in short field situations for way to much of the game but that doesn’t excuse some of the chunk plays they were giving up. The offensive line looked bad as they couldn’t get anything going on the ground and Darnold seemed under duress throughout. Field position, field position, field position, it’s always important to win the field position battle in a game and the Jets got killed in that aspect. Alright now lets watch some film and see what we find out.

1st Quarter:

This game couldn’t have started off worse for the Jets, after winning the toss and electing to defer so that they could play with the wind, the Vikings went right down and scored in what seemed to be a matter of seconds. While the big play on this drive was the Thielen touchdown, the Vikings were helped out by 2 Jets penalties for 20 yards. Watching the penalty back that was called against Doug Middleton and it couldn’t have been a stupider play. The back was on his way to the ground and Middleton inexplicably lunges head first at him, makes no sense. A report came out after the game that Middleton tore his peck muscle, meaning he will be sidelined for the rest of the year. The Jets are now down to their 3rd string safety as their secondary gets more and more banged up. I mentioned Thielen in the break down last week and he was as good as advertised, scoring a touch down on the first Vikings drive of the game as shown below.

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You have Daryl Roberts in man coverage on Thielen, and there isn’t much to criticize when it comes to his coverage. He is with him step by step and just misses knocking the ball out of the air, it’s just a great throw and great catch to beat him. Jets are bringing 6 men on the rush and aren’t able to generate any interior push. When you have a banged up secondary and you are leaving them in man coverage across the board and bringing some pressure you at least have to get a hand on the Quarterback.

On the ensuing kick off the Jets were assessed their 3rd penalty on the day, a 15 yard unnecessary roughness call. The Jets inability to run the ball forces them into a 3rd and 7 scenario and like I mentioned last week when the Vikings get you in 3rd and long they like to bring pressure. Below I took a screen grab and drew on it to show the 3rd down pressure.

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This is right after the snap of the ball. The entire offensive line has their hips and heads turned toward he right side of the field. The Vikings are bringing 3 off the left edge but since Bechum at the snap turns like he does it leaves 3 Vikings for 2 Jets. Harrison Smith is able to come in unblocked and lay a hit on Sam right as he releases the ball. On plays like this it’s difficult to determine who is at fault but to me it looks like the Jets were prepping for a blitz off the right side of the field and the Vikings came from the left. Pre snap the Vikings had 8 defenders in the box, making it hard to determine who is coming and from where. But it’s hard for me not to think if Bechum doesn’t turn away from the rush than the Jets are able to give Darnold a little more time.

The Vikings following drive generated one of the more controversial calls in the game, a play that looked to be a safety for the Jets. Watching in the Stadium, 20 beers deep I was screaming for the challenge flag, after doing some more research today it was the right call not to challenge. Bowles had the following to say about the matter. “Once I watched the replay, he was in the grasp. It’s just like forward progress for a quarterback. Once they get their hands on them, it’s going to the spot. It’s not going to carry over into the endzone. They (the officials) came back and said the same thing, so we were right doing it (not challenging).” So it was the right call not to challenge, disappointing, but what was more disappointing was the 63 yard punt the Vikings ripped off from their own end zone flipping the field on the Jets.

Going into the game one of the biggest positions to watch for the Jets was the wide receiver position. The Jets were without two of their most productive receivers on the year in Enunwa and Pryor. They were greatly missed throughout the day, as there were miscues, sloppy routes and drops by their replacements all game long. Below we have Roberts, just stopping his route leading Darnold to throw the ball to no one.

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Roberts makes a good fake in and has the defender on his heels and would be open for a 1st down catch if he just breaks back out to the sideline. Instead he just stares into the back field leaving Darnold throwing to no one.

One thing I’ve noticed with Powell is that he tries to cut runs back a good bit on outside zone runs. When running an outside zone running scheme you want your running back to run parallel to the line of scrimmage until he finds an opening to burst through. The Cowboys run a lot of outside zone running plays and Ezekiel Elliott does a good job of this. There were a few times in the game where I though Powell cut back early and left yards on the field.

Darryl  Roberts played well throughout the game leading the defense in tackles. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the Vikings were targeting him in coverage, but he did have 2 pass break ups in the game and was a sure tackler after the catch. Obviously we would like to see Johnson come back and play like the 75 Million Dollar corner we paid him to be but I have no real complaints with Roberts on Sunday. I have talked about Jamal Adams a good bit over the past break downs and I specifically remember talking about his tackling, well mid way through the first quarter in this game he missed two tackles. They didn’t really affect the game but Adams made a comment about missed tackles after the Jags game so I think the criticism is fair.

The Jets scored their only TD of the first half on a drive that started on their own 15 yard line. The big play of the drive being a 35 yard gain for rookie Trenton Cannon on a wheel route out of the back field, shown below.
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Great job all around on this play. You have first and foremost the offensive line giving Darnold all sorts of time in the pocket. You have Darnold with the patience to let the route develop. Lastly you have Trenton Cannon running a great route, running hard to the flat drawing the linebacker up and then as soon as Kendricks starts up field Cannon breaks down the field for an easy pitch and catch. Cannon finished with 69 yards through the air, and look for him to have an expanded role with Powell injury.

I talked last week about the Jets tight ends and what happens? Chris Herndon catches yet another touch down. For a team who over the past 4 years have seemed allergic to integrating tight ends into their offenses the Jets have a tight end with consecutive touchdown games for the first time since JFK was shot. The Jets are consistently lining up with 3 tight ends on the field and this is a trend I expect to continue with the injuries to their receiving corps. While the Herndon TD wasn’t anything crazy impressive I’m still gonna show it.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (38)

If Herndon can be a big body in the red zone it could go a long way in eradicating the Jets red zone woes.

2nd Quarter:

The second quarter was a offensive struggle for both teams as only 3 points total were scored. Considering it was -35 degrees in the stadium this was definitely not ideal for the Big Dog or those watching at MetLife. When you’re at the games you want to see one of two things, either explosive offense or your defense generating turnovers, the second quarter seemed like a string of never ending 3 and outs.

Last week I talked about the improved special teams play and then Andre Roberts muffed that punt and I just about pooped my pants. Luckily for the Jets he was able to recover the fumble so there was no real harm done.

At times throughout the game Darnold struggled with his accuracy on out routes, one such example can be seen below.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (39)

The Jets are backed up against their own end zone and in a 3rd and 5 situation, Darnold has to complete this pass. Anderson is buck naked and would easily have the first down but Darnold short arms the throw which causes it to sail. The ensuing punt, there is a bad snap and Edwards doesn’t catch it cleanly setting up the Vikings with  1st down from the Jets 35. You can’t consistently put your defense in short field situations and expect to win.

The Jets defense does a good job on the following possession to hold the Vikings to a field goal. The Vikings were able to work the ball down to the 3 yard line but the Jets defense was able to hold.

The Jets did try to work the ball down field to Bob throughout the game, and there were a few times where it was ever so close to connecting. None more so than this throw down the deep middle of the field. He had Bob 1 on 1 with a safety and just threw the ball up for grabs. Harrison Smith just made a good play to rip the ball out of Bobs hands as they went to the ground.Capture

What could have been.

On the very next play Darnold is in play action and takes the sack. It looks to be a quick read play where he is expecting to have an open receiver to get the ball to quick. The Vikings do a good job of not biting on the play action causing Darnold to hold the ball and eat the sack. Like I have said when the Jets were in 3rd and long scenarios the Vikings were coming on the blitz. Capture1

Eight Vikings at the line of scrimmage, 7 are coming on a blitz, 7 Jets in to block them. The only way this has any chance to work is if the Jets are able to determine who is coming and who isn’t and then slide the protection to get a man on each blitzer. The Jets aren’t able to do that, they allow immediate pressure and the play results in an in completion. 3 and out for the Jets.

I talked about Nathan Shepard last week in regards to the start to his year. He is still very much unpolished, but he does a good job on the below play getting penetration and stopping the play in the back field.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (40)

Obviously he has a long way to go but there are signs as to why he was drafted in the 3rd. I still think it was a bit of a reach pick but if he is able to develop any semblance of a pass rush he can be a solid player.

The Jets are able to force a 3 and out and are set up in good field position at their own 42 yard line. When you are in good starting field position you have to capitalize. Instead of capitalizing Spencer Long has a bad snap, which leads to a bad hand off and a lost fumble. I read somewhere that Long has an injured finger or wrist and that might be why he is having trouble with his shot gun snaps. I don’t give a shit what his excuse is you have to get the snap to the quarterback, this has been a reoccurring theme throughout the year. Also it’s not like he has been this monster when it comes to blocking and the only bad thing is his snaps. He has been trash so far. When the Jets signed him everyone was so excited cause it meant the end of the Wesley Johnson era, but the Spencer Long era is off to a terrible start.bad snap

With the defense defending a short field, they are able to force the Vikings to a 3 and out and force a punt.  I’m a big proponent of field position football, last year 7/10 teams with the worst starting field position drafted in the Top 7. The Jets have been better this year on special teams which has contributed to a better starting position but when you look at games they lost, they get killed on the average drive starting point. Besides the Jags game in their 4 losses the opponents on average have started with 10 yards better field position, in this game the Vikings average starting position was their own 41, that’s a recipe for a loss.

Like I mentioned before, and I’m not sure if it was the wind or what, but Darnold was inaccurate on out routes, plays where he has been able to make in games past. I know the Samchise is used to playing in SoCal weather, but he better get used to the cold because last Sunday was nothing compared to late December games in Buffalo.

The 2nd quarter was also when Powell suffered his injury which will find him on the IR. I have always been a fan of Powell during his Jets tenure and I don’t think he ever got his fair shot. He has always been the complimentary back but never the feature, even when he’s been better than some of the “feature backs”(Read as Matt Forte) over the years.

When Bob gets open you have to be able to put the ball within reach of him. Against the Broncos Darnold laid it out perfectly for him on their 75 yard connection, but on Sunday he missed a big play opportunity. Throughout the game the Jets were looking Bob’s way when he had single coverage, but were just unable to complete any.

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This game was a far cry from the game against the Colts when both punters essentially got the days off. In this one both teams punted the ball 8 times.

Besides the 38 yard TD run by the Vikings, the Jets for the most part were able to contain their running. Even with the long run the Vikings only averaged 3.7 yards per carry.

The Jets got the ball on their 20, with 3:51 left to play, perfect time to go down get a score and prove that you belong and take the lead going into half. Instead the Jets go 3-out, and lose 18 yards.

The Vikings get the ball to start their 2 minute drive at the Jets 30 yard line. The defense is able to stop them and force a field goal. With 1:37 on the clock, the Jets with 3 TO’s and the Vikings facing a 4th and 3, Todd Bowles elects to sit on his timeouts and let the Vikings run out the play clock. The Vikings miss the kick but rather than having 1:30, 2 TO’s at your own 32 the Jets have just :42 second on the clock. It’s situations like these why some people hate Bowles, hes just so god damn conservative, it’s incredibly frustrating. Also his face, he’s got a hate able face on the sidelines.

I guess it didn’t end up mattering anyway because Long has another shit snap that forces the Jets to just let the clock run out.Capture6

3rd Quarter:

As I’m writing this I discovered the NFL.com game book, and it is going to be great going forward for these breakdowns. It can be found here.

Some key first half stats, average drive start; MIN: Own 39 NYJ: Own 23. Penalties; MIN 2-10 NYJ 7-56. 3rd Down Eff; MIN: 0/8 NYJ: 0/6.

Going into the second half, I was thinking the Jets are right in this game. They got ball at half, defense has held the Vikings to 10 points after continually being put in bad positions and if Darnold and Bob are able to connect on just one this game may be turned around. What a naive idiot I was.

Bates started the 3rd with a pretty cool play design that I would like to show.

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The first play the Jets had on offense in the game they were in the same formation as above and ran the same blocking scheme but rather than handing it off Darnold kept it and hit the tight end in the flat. Here they bring Sterling across the formation, to kick out the back side end. However that block doesn’t matter as he is really just a decoy. Him coming across the formation freezes the linebackers, allowing the linemen time to get to the second level which leads to a nice 10 yard gain. There might be a more technical term for this play design but I’m gonna call it a fake play action which is essentially what it was. This play, the fake screen last week show why many think Bates can be a good OC. Bates does a good job of setting up the defense with plays and then running counter plays off of that.

I mentioned in my breakdown of the Colts game about Sam not trying to do to much, and taking what the defense gives him. Below is a prime example of that.

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Sam throws it here to Herndon, circled in Black. When he releases the ball there are 3 defenders within 7 yards of him, including safety help over top and a corner underneath. Circled in red is Crowell who is hanging out ass naked in the flat with nothing but green in front of him. I understand Darnolds thinking, Herndon has a step, but he has to do a better job of recognizing the safety coming in from  over top. He’s done it multiple times this year where he gets bated into the long ball because he thinks his man has the step only to have a safety come in to make a play. He’s young and with young quarterbacks they are always trying to make a game changing play, but sometimes its alright to take what the defense give you and dump it off underneath.

The Vikings first drive of the second half again starts with good field position from their own 35 yard line. I have mentioned it before but Jordan Jenkins needs to do a better job of keeping outside contain. On the second play of the drive he fires inside to try and make a play on the run, only problem is it was a play action boot.

Leonard is able to draw a holding call on this drive forcing the Vikings into a 1st and 20. When you get a team in 1st and 20 scenarios you have to get off the field. Jets are able to do so as the Vikings convert a 3rd and 8. The Jets came out of the huddle disorganized, on the 3rd down play. They bring 4 rushers, and give Cousins 3.85 seconds in the cleanest pocket this side of the Mississippi, giving the Vikings a first down. When the Jets are playing with the rag tag secondary they have been the past two games it’s important to force quick throws from the quarterbacks. It’s easier to only have to rely on Nickerson and Brooks in coverage for 1-2 seconds as opposed to 3-5.

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Speaking of  those two, above is them giving Brandon Zylstra his first NFL reception for 23 yards. I can’t get mad when Nickerson gets beat by Theilen or Diggs but I don’t think I’ve seen Parry make a play since week 1 when he almost had that pick. Didn’t we trade a 6th round pick for Reshard Robinson, I know he was suspended but he is back and can’t beat out Nickerson to get on the field? Now I won’t write off Nickerson, he is a rookie thrust into a starting role due to injury, but the Jets haven’t drafted a starting quality corner since Revis.

Two plays later the Vikings ran it in from 11 yards out. Rich Cimini showed a still shot of this play and was critical of Darron Lee for again getting blown out of the play by a linemen. Lee responded, essentially saying it wasn’t his fault, the exchange can be seen below.

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Lee is right, he does secure his gap, he also allows the center to drive him 3 yards toward the sideline, but he’s not wrong he is technically in the A gap so I don’t put him at fault on this play. I put Pennel, Williamson, Anderson and Adams at fault. First Pennel gets reached by the backside guard and shielded from the A gap where he is lined up to start. Getting reached like that is a terrible job by him. Then Williamson looks like he essentially tackles Pennel causing a nice three way pancake when Anderson is added to the mix. Adams, inexplicably runs himself out of the play to hit Thielen? Just a shit job all around, then to top it off, Roberts misses a tackle a the 5 to let Murray walk into the end zone. I’ve raved about Steve Mclendon in my break downs, and it’s plays like this from Pennal that show how important Steve is to this teams run defense’s success.

Me on Sunday: Alright the Jets are gonna go down put some points on the board, and were right back in business.

Sam Darnold on the 1st Play of the following drive:Capture45

Darnold tries to force feed a covered Anderson, the corner in coverage drops an easy pick but Harrison Smith is there on the deflection. Not only was it a bad decision, but he throws it off his back feet with his weight shifted backward, the ball floats on him, just a horrible play by Darnold.

Multiple times the Vikings try to block Adams with a receiver shifted in, and I didn’t see it work a single time. He is too quick and too powerful for a receiver to make that block, next week against Chicago look for the bears to use Trey Burton in that role.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (43)

The Jets defense is able to again hold the Vikings to a field goal on a short field and keep the game at to a two possession match up.

The Jets are able to get some good field position after a great return from Roberts and were able to run for a quick first down.gooddog

Above is a nice play above by Darnold to finally find his check down Crowell with plenty of room to turn up field and get another 1st. Oh wait a minute, Crowell dropped this one?

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Luckily the Jets were able to pick up the 1st on 3rd and 12 with the below pass to Tomlinson so the Crowell drop didn’t hurt them too bad.

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Oh Tomlinson ALSO dropped a pass that hit him in the dick?

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I think Tomlinson had another drop last week and with the emergence of the other tight ends his days on the roster may be numbered, especially with the injuries mounting to the receivers. Meyers continues his strong play and hit a 55 yarder in brutal kicking conditions.

On the following Vikings drive there was the play which I’m sure you all have seen replays of, the fumble by Cousins with 2 Jet defenders close to the ball and they just stop playing. Re watching I think the majority of the blame falls on Nickerson, he has a clear path to the ball and instead starts walking towards Diggs before realizing the play is still live. Nickerson even gets his hands on the ball but isn’t able to secure the fumble. If the Jets get the ball there they are in great field position down only 10, it turns into a different ball game.

Rather than starting with the ball in Vikings territory the Jets are pinned within their 10 yard line and start from their own 8. The Vikings bring pressure on second down and the Jets line gets blown back and sacks Darnold to end the 3rd quarter.

4th Quarter:

Looking back, when the Jets aren’t able to recover that fumble was really when the wheels started to fall off, Darnold has another inaccurate throw on 3rd down forcing a punt giving the Vikings good field position, yet again.

The Vikings bust off two long runs, one of them being the one below which goes for a TD.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (44)

Lee completely over runs the play allowing Murray to cut back. Brooks takes a horrible angle and misses the tackle and then its just a foot race, which Murray wins easily.

Down 17, in the 4th against a great defense is a terrible spot for anyone to be let alone a rookie quarterback already having a bad game. Andre Roberts is able to get the Jets good field position on the ensuing kick off, getting it out to their own 41 yard line. The Jets were able to put together a nice little drive that almost ended in Herndon scoring a 2nd time, which would have been the 1st multi-TD game for a Jets tight end since Dustin Keller was playing(I assume). Pun intended, Darnold has been sneaky good on quarterback sneaks this year, converting all of them.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (45)

Nice little play by Hank here, firing hard into the A gap, realizing the center is pulling and just finding the ball carrier and making a play.

After the Jets force a 3-out, they have the ball, 8:48 left, down 10 at their own 43. If they would have been able to score on this possession it would have changed the dynamic of the game. But like what has happened time and time again earlier in the game, when the offense needs a score to bring it to a 1 possession game, they are unable to. Watching the deep ball to Bob down the sideline real time I thought it was a pass interference, even when they were showing it on the jumbo tron I thought it should have been called. Re watching I thought it should have at least been an illegal touching, Rhodes clearly extends his arm and impedes Bobs momentum. I might be biased but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth thinking what could have been on that play. Bob had a step, Darnold didn’t throw the best ball, and I understand why it wasn’t called but that doesn’t mean I’m not pissed still. The in route which was extremely effective against the Colts lead to an INT this game. Andre Roberts hesitates at the top of his route and it leads Darnold to throw a ball right into the defenders balls.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (46)

I didn’t do a great job editing the gif but Roberts stutter steps to make his cut and that causes an INT. Roberts is a great return man but he is not a good receiver. Runs poor routes, not great hands, and not a great blocker. He may be good on some of the Jets WR screens but other than that lets just keep him fresh for returns.

At this point I’m still thinking the Jets have a chance, if they can get a 3-out and get a quick score than maybe they can pull off a miracle. I of course forgot that Nickerson was still playing.ezgif.com-video-to-gif (47)

The Vikings run a nice pick route, but still on 3rd and 8 Nickerson has to get over that and not allow such an easy throw and catch.

If the refs hadn’t picked up the flag on the Adams hit of Thielen, I would have ran onto the field and challenged them to a bare knuckled boxing match. Lucky for them they made the right call. 4th-8, perfect time for the defense to make a play and get the ball back for the offense. They bring pressure, play man to man on the outside, and Cousins from a perfect pocket delivers a dime to Robinson who makes a hell of a catch over Claiborne for a TD. Game Over.

The next possesion Darnold threw another pick, here is a still shot showing the ball hitting Peake in his bread basket.

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Do you know when your having a catch with a little kid, and you tell them to just place there arms out in front of them so you can try and drop it into their arms, and pretend like they actually did something to catch the ball. I feel like that is what Darnold did here, he told Peake to put your arms out and I’m going to put it right in between them, but like a child he still found a way to not catch the football.

The game was over at this point any way but the Vikings got another field goal, Robbie Anderson got an unsportsmanlike conduct and the Jets lost by 20.

Final thought:

It’s tough to say that a defense did good when they surrender 37 points but they were put in terrible situations all game. The offense couldn’t convert a 3rd down, and you can’t turn the ball over 4 times against a good team and expect to win. The offense wasn’t able to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t have many explosive plays. For defense it’s about stopping the chunk plays, 3 of the Vikings TD’s were over 30 yards, that can’t happen. The Jets had a chance to prove themselves against a good opponent and came up short.

Now onto da Bears. The Bears have the #4 ranked rushing defense which doesn’t bode well for the Jets and if the line isn’t able to keep Darnold upright it could be a long day again for the Offense. I don’t like this matchup for the Jets, the Bears coming off two losses in a row, they are going to want to put on a show for the home town crowd. The defense will need to have themselves a game if the Jets want to have any chance. Mitch has been turnover prone this year and if the Jets are able to stifle the run it could go a long way. It will be important for the Jets to stay in rush lanes all game as Mitch has shown an ability to escape pressure and pick up yards with his feet. This is something Tannehill and Bortles hurt the Jets with so the Jets may look to keep Lee by the line of scrimmage as a spy on 3rd downs.

The injuries continue to mount for the Jets, as Powell is now out for the year and it looks like Bob will be inactive for this weeks game with an ankle injury. If Anderson is unable to go the Jets will have a WR corps consisting of only one starter from the start of the year. Not good considering how poorly the Jets passed on Sunday, I’m sure the Bears will be loading the box on Sunday trying to make Sam beat them.

Alright well I think I’ve wrote enough on this game.

-Big Dog

Also shout out to me for continuing to make some fire GIFs. Also I need to learn how to circle stuff on GIFs.

 

 

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