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GIF Breakdown - New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (1 of 4)

Let's watch some plays.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In this GIF Breakdown, we're going to be trying things differently. We will have one GIF per day for the next few days. I will attempt to convey more X's and O's information on the play so we can become more intimate with the chosen plays.

Although the New York Jets were beaten down by the Buffalo Bills, there were some good plays that came out of it. This series will highlight those few good plays.


First quarter, 8:23 remaining. Geno Smith is lined up in the shotgun with Bilal Powell to his left. The team is in 11 personnel, which means there's one running back and one tight end. That leaves three receivers. The Bills appear to be in a standard 3-4 defense with four down linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. After the snap, Smith rolls right and gives a quick pump fake, presumably to freeze the free safety. The line is actually holding up and doesn't really give up any pressure, which was fairly rare in this game; to say the unit underperformed is an understatement. It is rare and usually unadvisable for quarterbacks to throw across their body to the opposite side of the field, especially deep, which leads me to conclude that the play was designed to go to one of the two receivers on the right side, and Smith immediately recognizes they aren't open. So Smith immediately finds Santonio Holmes on the opposite side.

Holmes is running a "sluggo" route, which is a slant and go up the right sideline. He's actually held and the defense could have been flagged for defensive holding, but he seems to be doing it as well, so the referees let the penalty slide. It's unclear if the ball is actually put where Smith intended, because of the gusting winds (four plays later, Nick Folk would miss his first field goal of the year). In any case, the ball ends up where only Holmes can get the ball, and he adjusts beautifully. If the ball is thrown farther down the field, it may actually be picked off by the closing free safety (out of the frame), or more probably, thrown out of bounds. So the ball ends up in a perfect location and the Jets have a huge gain. In considering the wind, I think this play recognizes two things. The first is that Smith moved off the primary read to his secondary read, and that he had the arm strength to deliver the ball across the field in a perfect spot despite gusting winds. That displays enormous arm strength that, frankly, many quarterbacks just don't have.