Thursday night was not pretty for the New York Jets. It was only the preseason opener, though. This performance is not cause for any concern. With this in mind, I still want to look at what happened on the first drive defensively as the Detroit Lions went down the field and scored on the Jets' starting defense. Let's see what happened.
1st and 10; NYJ 29; Theo Riddick runs for 3 yards.
Key points: This was the only play of the drive where the defense executed well.
First of all, I think Calvin Pace does a nice job setting the edge, preventing Riddick from getting to the outside. He has to cut his run in.
After this, Ronald Talley does a good job getting off his block as Riddick his the hole, and Darrelle Revis comes up in run support to limit the gain. This is a win for the defense.
2nd and 7; NYJ 32; Matthew Stafford completes pass to Golden Tate for 22 yards.
Key points: Antonio Cromartie's coverage is simply too soft. He gives Tate too much cushion, and the Lions have an easy completion as a result.
The problems are compounded as Cromartie then misses his tackle following the reception.
The problems are further compounded when Tate throws a move on Calvin Pryor, leading to Pryor missing another tackle.
The two missed tackles allow Tate to tack an extra 14 yards onto his reception.
1st and 10; NYJ 46; Ameer Abdullah runs for 7 yards.
Key points: The biggest thing I noticed was the Lions used Golden Tate to move to his right at the snap and bump Quinton Coples, who was playing defensive end. This wiped Coples out. Because Detroit was able to take out a defensive lineman with a wide receiver, this freed up multiple offensive linemen to get up the field and provide Abdullah with an escort. An offensive lineman vs. Antonio Cromartie in run support is not a winning matchup for the Jets.
David Harris gets caught up in all of this traffic, and Abdullah has a big gain on first down, picking up 7 before Harris can get to him, and Buster Skrine can get off his block to help.
If you want to get on the Jets, namely Coples, that's fine. This was just a really good play for Lions against the defensive call the Jets were in, and it was executed well. The Jets went small with two defensive backs on that side of the field. Detroit was able to flood it with linemen.
2nd and 3; NYJ 39; Ameer Abdullah runs for 4 yards.
Key points: You know how in baseball sometimes an infielder ranges a long way to get a ball but boots it? The infielder gets charged with an error, but he had to do something right to get charged with the error because just getting to the ball was an accomplishment. That is similar to what happened here with Calvin Pryor.
The Lions have the play blocked very well. There is a huge cutback lane open for Abdullah, but Pryor has read the play, and he is coming up to make the stop.
It becomes a one on one between Pryor and Abdullah. Unfortunately for Pryor, the back throws a move on him, and Pryor goes flying by, missing the tackle. It would have been a huge stop for the Jets. It would have brought up a third down. Instead the Lions pick up a first down.
At the end of the day, the play is a loss for the Jets. These are the type of plays the Jets need Pryor to make. These are the type of plays he didn't make last season.
1st and 10; NYJ 35; Matthew Stafford completes pass to Golden Tate for 35 yards. TOUCHDOWN
Key points: This is another very well-executed play by the Lions.
Unfortunately, preseason camera angles are not spectacular so I did my best to figure out what happened. It looked to me like the Jets were in a zone coverage. The Lions completed the pass around the area where David Harris' zone ended and Demario Davis' began. It looks like Harris might have let Tate go a second or two too early, and Davis might have not dropped deep enough into his zone.
This doesn't necessarily look like terrible execution by the Jets. It was just superlative execution by the Lions. With that said, the Jets probably should be getting superlative execution for the amount they are paying Harris. As the season goes on, I would expect opposing offenses to try and target the linebackers as much as possible in the passing game. With the corners the Jets have, this is a weak link in coverage.
Even with all of this, the play should not end in a touchdown, but Marcus Gilchrist takes a bad angle. This is not a layup, but it is a tackle the Jets need their safeties to make.
The end result is a touchdown and a sloppy start to the Todd Bowles (Preseason) Era.