The Jets had a pretty solid first half. The only big play for Miami was t
wo bogus PI calls a really nice misdirection play.
The Jets meanwhile had about as good of a opening drive as you can. They marched down the field scoring 3 plays into the game. Let's check out the score because Ivory's vision and a really neat concept helped the Jets score here.
The basics of the play are simple. First and goal after a long pass to Marshall and a Chris Ivory 12 yard run on the 3, with the Jets in 3 wide with a TE and single back formation. The big key here is the motion. Devin Smith runs a jet sweep coming from the slot on the left across the formation. That motion sets up the Ivory cutback as it freezes the two defenders on the right in black.
Meanwhile, up front the fat cats are doing a bit of double-timing and selective ignorance on the DE. The RT (pictured left) is one on one. Otherwise the interior line double teams the two men up front with the left guard slide blocking the MLB. Meanwhile our TE leaves the DE free to go after the LB in the second level.
At the handoff a few things. You see the linebackers take a few steps to guard against the sweep action. That freezes them in place. Notice 24 who is running across the field. That effectively means 3 men were trying to cover the sweep action. 50 is unblocked and does a great job at setting the edge and also not getting too far upfield. That prevents a bounce to the outside and forces Ivory into the muck in the middle.
Ivory sees the linebacker and goes into the middle. There's a small crease in between Mangold and Winters and Ivory tried to split it. Instead he slams into the back of the RG and propels himself forward in the scrum, losing the ball a few tenths of a second after crossing the plane. 7-0 Jets.
I might rag on Gailey's playcalling from time to time. (Ok, a good bit), but this is a fantastic call and execution. The defense had to favor the speed sweep, which meant the linebackers weren't in position when Ivory cut back. While the DE deserves some kudos for staying home, Ivory's ability to stay on his feet even after slamming into his own lineman proved to be too much for the defense that had 3 defenders trying to play the sweep.
After two good drives ended in field goals Miami staged a quick scoring drive of their own. Aided by penalties, the drive found the Dolphins inside Jets territory. A classic misdirection play caught one Jet so off guard that the TE found himself wide, wide open.
The Dolphins lined up in shotgun formation with the running back to the right with two WR right and two TE left. The play is a classic misdirection by lining up all the fast players to one side while having the play go back door to the two TE left. On the right, you see the fake sweep with both WR running in routes across the middle of the field. To the left, the outside TE runs a box-out route, while the one closer to the tackle runs a simple corner route.
The Jets are in cover one with the safety over the top and everyone covering a man. The Jets are rushing 5. The key man to watch here is Harris who blows his assignment completely, selling out for the fake sweep action.
Without looking at the tape, I thought Pryor and the other safety were to blame, but this falls squarely on Harris. He dives inside, only to realize he's been had. Pryor meanwhile is in great position for the out route, but let's the inside TE go around him on the corner route.
The deep safety is watching the two crossing routes dead in front of him as the TE blows by to the outside. Harris is completely out of position and really it comes down to a good pass. Pryor is on the correct man, and stays with him the whole route, never once selling out for the fake. The Dolphin in blue is the one who is going to be wide open.
The last image shows the aftermath. The safety is too far away, Pryor sees the pass float over his head and Harris is far out of position to do anything but watch and hope the pass gets dropped.
No such luck, as the catch is made and Miami is on the board. Plays like this are what can kill an overaggressive defense. While I hesitate to say this, but here Harris was totally schooled by the pitch and costed his team the score. The fact is in man or cover one coverage, one player getting fooled can lead to a score especially if the pass rush is muted.
The Jets offense got the message loud and clear on the drive before halftime. They embarked on a 9 play 75 yard drive capped of by an Eric Decker score that looked far too easy even if Fitz nearly threw the ball behind Decker.
To set it up it was 2nd and 3 from the Dolphins 10 with 30 seconds and change left in the half. The Jets lined up with 4 wide, 3 to the right and Marshall to the left. Decker was lined up in the tight slot, meaning close to the tackle on the right. Decker runs a simple post route while Marshall on the left runs a fade route. The back scoots out to the left, while the two WR on the right run in routes. Notice the safety shading on Marshall's side. That becomes key because of the Dolphins defensive play.
The run a cover one lurk, where a deep safety over the top and one linebacker hanging out around 5 yards in the middle of the field. Everyone else is in man including the corner who is playing the sideline route and off the right hip of Decker. This opens up the post route, especially with the safety basically double teaming Marshall from a distance. Really he's in no man's land with Marshall running upfield rather than across the field.Decker is in red, while all the other man coverages are in pink. The two black circles are the zones where the MLB lurks and the safety should be.
Decker makes a rather tight cut, running more up the field than across it, which opens the lane for Fitz to throw the ball with the defender too far out to do anything but watch and pray for a bad pass. Fitz tried to oblige the Dolphins throwing it on Decker's back hip and not in front of him, but the pass was easily hauled in for another Jets TD.
If you're looking for a reason this play was so successful, thank Marshall and the defense. The safety paid just about no attention to anyone but Marshall, which opened a hole for Decker on the post route. Similar to the Colts game, Decker found himself open in the middle of the field, with all attention on Marshall. Call it part defense, part Marshall, but Decker in the redzone has become a go to of Fitzpatrick.
Second half chalkboard will be up later this week. Thanks for reading.