A clutch 9 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter sent Sunday's game to overtime. The Jets went on to beat the Giants in the extra period. Let's take a look at what happened on the huge play that tied the game.
The success of this play was not born on Sunday. It started during Ryan Fitzpatrick's film study during the week as described by Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column.
Marshall enjoys playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick because he says Fitzpatrick finds flaws in the other team from film study that many coaches and players don’t see. "He’s relentless with the voicemails, the texts, the video messages, and sometimes he’ll just pull us aside on the practice field to tell us something he’s learned," Marshall said.
That happened the other day at practice. When the Giants were playing defense in the deep red zone, Marshall said, Fitzpatrick saw a tendency for them to leave receivers split far out in single coverage. So, Fitzpatrick told Marshall, If we get in a situation like that, we’ll split you far to the left or right, to be sure there’s only a corner on you and not a safety in support. So in the final minute of the fourth quarter, with the Jets down seven and at the Giants’ nine-yard line, Marshall was dispatched to the far left of the formation. At the snap of the ball, he was singled by Prince Amukamara. Fitzgerald threw a jump ball into the end zone, and Marshall overpowered Amukamara for the ball. And the tying touchdown.
"Game on the line, and it happened exactly the way he said it would happen, and we scored," Marshall said.
I think the more you learn about this league, the more you are left in awe by the little things these guys do during the week to gain an edge which most fans never realize. Sometimes in film study, they learn a small tendency they keep in mind. It might not be utilized in the first 59 minutes. Then with the game on the line, these players draw on this knowledge to make a game-altering play.
Because of his film study, Fitzpatrick was able to make a presnap read and know his best player had a one on one. There was no doubt where the ball was going.
Prince Amukamara gave Marshall a free release off the line. Amukamara talked about his approach after the game.
"[Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] was telling me if I could have pressed and disrupted timing, I probably would have played the same way but just have been a little bit more outside because he threw it."
Instead, Marshall was able to have a free run off the line and was able to move where he wanted to go. His timing with Fitzpatrick was not disrupted at all.
Amukamara drops further back as Marshall begins his route. Amukamara eventually ends up in the end zone having given too much cushion. It gives Fitzpatrick an easy throwing lane. There's no way Amukamara is getting to the ball with a 6'4" 230 pound obstacle in the form of Marshall in his way.
Take a look at where Marshall is when Fitzpatrick throws the pass and where he ultimately catches it.
Because Fitzpatrick made the correct presnap read and decided to go to Marshall before the play had begun, he is able to get the ball out quickly. Amukamara not getting physical and obstructing Marshall's route also aided this.
This proves to be important because the Jets are in the wrong protection. The Jets have only left five linemen in to block. The Giants fake a blitz of six. Because the Jets think six guys are coming, somebody is going to be left unblocked, and it is the guy coming off the edge.
Eventually, three guys drop into coverage, but the Jets are fooled, and Jason Pierre-Paul is a free runner at Fitzpatrick. Only because the timing on this play is so precise does this not end in an easy sack.
The throw is put in a perfect spot. Fitzpatrick has the ball out with great anticipation.
Even when Marshall is at that point, he knows how deep Marshall is going to take his route to cut off Amukamara, exactly where he will jump, and the time at which he will high point the ball.
After the game Fitzpatrick said of the play:
That dude he makes my job so easy. We got single coverage, which we put him to the wide field and basically just threw it up and said Brandon make a play. (He) came down with it, made it look easy. It’s not easy to do, but he made it look easy.
It was about talent. You have to have a talented receiver to throw a ball like that and know he will come down with it. It is also about chemistry. Everything about that the timing and placement of that throw was beautiful. That kind of precision is the result of hours on the practice field learning every last detail about the way the other guy plays.
Amukamara wasn't surprised by the play.
"It just sucks because I knew that play was coming," the 6-foot Giants cornerback said. "He threw it to a perfect spot. Marshall’s a big guy. He boxed me out."
When the other guys knows exactly what is coming and still can't stop it, you have an offense clicking at a very high level.
That Fitzmagic Moment