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Two 4th Down Plays Saved Jets Season

In the 4th Quarter two huge plays on 4th down gave the Jets a chance to come back. The defense on 4th and goal held the Giants to nothing, while Fitz used his legs to get a key 4th down conversion.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Late in the game the Giants faced a dilemma. Should you kick the FG and go up 13 points forcing the Jets to score 2 TD's or should you go for the "kill" and go for a touchdown? Coughlin went conservative earlier in the game, but with a chance to put the Jets away, he made a decision to go for it.

There are a few keys to this play. One Eli locks on to his main target and never once goes through a progression. The second is the stunt underneath.

To set it up the Giants line up with 4 wide 3 to the right of Eli with a 4th on an island to the left. The Back is offset left of Manning and runs more or less a blocking route. Meanwhile the bottom WR does nothing to suggest he's even remotely going to be considered for a pass. The top two WR run crossing routes trying for the pick play. Meanwhile the tight slot runs across the middle of the field.

Giants 4th routes

The Jets are in cover two man, with a four man rush. Miles ends up making the play based off how he floated to help the pick pass. Meanwhile, underneath the Jets run a stunt with Douzable looping around the DT.

Jets D

The safeties help out with coverages, one swinging to help Cro who didn't really need any help and the other helps with the pick pass. Meanwhile, at the same time Douzable has gotten around the guard and has a free run at Manning while Richardson chases him down from the outside. The only pass remotely open is the one that Harris covers over the middle, but he's directly on the hip.

At the crucial moment Eli has nowhere to pass. This route tree only gave him one option in his mind and the second it didn't get open this play was screwed. It didn't help matters that the Giants O line fell apart and let big 78 right on the doorstep.

Eli threw it up, but there was no chance for success. Eli locked on to the WR and Miles coming up from the safety spot made the smart play to stop what could have been a game ending TD.


On the other side of the ball the Jets needed to convert on 4th down to keep their chances alive. Luckily Fitz used his legs to make it happen on a Giants defense that was a bit too worried about the deep ball.

The Jets line up with 5 wide, 3 to Fitz's right and two left. It's a levels concepts with three 5 yard routes that go across the field. Only Marshall and Decker go up the field, Marshall on a fly and Decker on a clear out slant and up route.

The Giants rush 4 and play cover two man behind it. While no one is open, a curious thing happens. Breno gets a good block shoving the guy past outside contain and Fitz seeing man coverage takes off. Breno's block gives  a wide open seam for Fitz to run. Since it's cover two man, there's no spy and no one will be keying on the QB run.

Fitz does a great job of reading the man defense and check out how wide open he is running the ball. The two guys up top do some more or less basketball screen blocks to make sure Fitz gets the yardage.

The play resulted in a huge first down. Marshall's pass came during the same drive. Without two key plays the Jets would find themselves on the outside looking in, rather than in the drivers seat during the push to the playoffs.