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GGN Chalkboard: Eagles Fly; Jets Grounded

The Jets lost in a game where they were down 24-7 at the half. Let's take a look at how they got to that point.

Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

The first half was ugly. The Jets were down 24-0 at one point and it felt a lot worse than that with mistakes galore. The Jets gave up a few big plays on defense, but mostly the offense was ineffective in the first half. Let's take a look at the big mistakes.

Let's start with something that is a first on GGN Chalkboard. I'll do my best to break down the Sproles TD.

It starts off with the fact that the Jets punter Ryan Quigley had a bomb of a punt. Normally a good thing, but here it's a classic case of out kicking the coverage. Notice below how far away the Jets are when the ball is caught. No one is within 10 yards of the punt and only two players are within 25 yards of where the punt ends. Here's where all 11 men are as the punt is caught.


On top of that you have to deal with Sproles, who is elusive as they come. The right gunner misses a tackle. A good job but not really goes to the left gunner did a decent job of forcing Sproles to one sideline. At the same point, he's out of the play because he gets behind the runner, a no-no. Four Jets along the sidelines have one man blocking them so someone should be able to make a tackle right?

punt return 1

One misses the tackle and the rest freeze up trying to protect a lane and not fly by Sproles. Problem is they are tightly bunched and are near the sidelines. This will allow a lane to form when Sproles makes a cut to the inside.

Jets return 2

Last frame shows the aftermath. The sideline guys either whiff or get taken out by a blocker. The other guys are completely blocked. Sproles runs towards the blocked guys, makes a cut (and another tackler miss) and then it's off to the races. Only the punter and one man are left. One misses the tackle, Quigs gets shoved around and that's all she wrote.

Jets return 3

Quigley deserves some blame for out kicking the coverage, but the coverage unit here takes most of the heat for missed tackles and not surrounding him better. I counted five defenders that either had a hand on him, or flew by in close proximity. That's just poor defending and tackling against a really good returner.


A few drives later saw a touchdown to an Eagles running back on a simple wheel route, one that Demario Davis was outmatched, but still made a crucial mistake.

It's 2nd and 10 from the 23, which means the Eagles can do a lot of things. Running the ball would put them closer  or they could take a shot at the end zone knowing they had a play to give. This play falls somewhere in between, but ultimately works out in their favor.

The Eagles run a five man out with 3 short routes and one deep route. Matthews, the tailback, runs a wheel route, moving laterally across the field and turning up the sideline. The concept to clear out the right side, meaning that Matthews will have the two routes on the right attempting to clear one side of the field. Both the TE and WR run inside slants to that side opening up the whole sideline for him and his defender.

Matthews TD 1

The Jets are in cover one man, exactly the worst defense for this kind of play. The reason is Matthews will have a linebacker covering him, and a middle linebacker at that. The deep safety is the home run stopper with the other middle linebacker turning into a spy on the QB or turning into a lurk linebacker looking for a crossing route coming into his zone. He ends up taking the crossing route after it's passed on from the top OLB.  It's a four man rush meaning pressure may take awhile from the D line.

Matthews TD 2

Davis makes one crucial error here. Rather than play on the shoulder and take him on upfield, for some reason he takes a route that would make you think he was expecting just a simple swing route and nothing going upfield. He allows Matthews to get behind him and be on the outside, which sets up the floater pass. Meanwhile the safety over the top gets sucked into the double slant routes and takes himself out the play. The D line does get a hit on Bradford but the pass was well out of his hands.

Davis Fal

Here you see the aftermath, Davis is completely out of position, the safety is in the middle of the field and out of the play. All Matthews has to do is catch the pass and beat Davis in a footrace. Davis made a crucial route error and is hoping for any kind of mistake.

Davis is burned

It never comes as Matthews catches the pass in stride and has no problem beating Davis to the end zone.

TD Matthews

This is the part where I try to assign some blame. First off it must be noted that this was a perfect play call to beat this defense. So there's that. That's around 90 percent of the reason it worked. The other ten percent is the safety has to read that Matthews is a threat to go long and Davis has to take a lot better route to the RB. Combined together that's why this play looked so easy on Sunday.


We're not done with the defense. There was another TD in the first half. One that shows that our D line for all it's worth got manhandled at the point of attack by the Eagles.

To set it up it's 3rd and 1 from the 1. The Jets need a goal line stop like Terry Bradway needed to be fired. (Desperately.) The Eagles quick snapped the ball and ran a simple off tackle to the left side of the line.

Let's swing it around to the endzone look so you see where the Eagles attacked. Not sure if the Jets were purposely playing this way or someone lined up in the wrong gap, but you can see the hole between Snacks and Coples. Both would need to come up huge to stop the run from this formation.

End zone view

Harrison gets down blocked down and gets shoved down. This creates a logjam which doesn't allow defenders from the other side to make a miraculous save. Coples meanwhile: just take a look.


That's not how you succeed at beating a man. The lineman has Coples at a 90 degree angle, hands perfectly under the shoulder pads. Anyone whose played football knows there's no way to recover from this, you're going where the lineman wants you to. That is unless you spin out, which because it's short yardage, wouldn't work. Skrine does a decent job and gets a hand on Sproles, but it's not enough and he gets in the end zone.

Make it 24-0.


Credit to the Jets here. They engineered a solid drive, and actually made this a game by scoring a touchdown. But it wasn't without a LOLJETS moment either. To set it up there's 12 seconds or so left in the half. The Jets are on the 16 looking to do something to stop the bleeding. The Jets run a 5 WR pattern with two crossing concepts to either side- both inside guys go outside and the outside guys go inside. The running back is your safety valve option if the defense blitzes and falls asleep covering him. Otherwise it's WR or bust.

Jets TD 1

The Eagles are in cover 4 with 4 men deep (black) and 4 underneath (light blue). It's a max zone designed to prevent a late TD. At the bottom is the LOLJETS moment as the two WR nearly collide and take themselves out. What they did do instead is have one nearly stop to let the other go, killing any running start and taking one WR out of the equation early in the play.


On the top, Marshall is running the post route. Somehow he finds a hole in the zone between the two defenders and runs back to the line of scrimmage.. Say what you want about Marshall and Fitz this game, but they were on the same page on this play.

Marshall open

The defense wasn't bad, but perhaps a bit loose, which opened up just enough room for Fitz to throw what would count as a laser by his standards to Marshall. Marshall did his part catching the pass inside the box with the Jets logo on it, scoring a touchdown. The pass itself was nice, fitting in the area crawling with defenders. A floater and it could be a pick 6 the other way.

Marshall scores

After all the trauma of the first half the Jets were down 17. They would make a game of it late, but not without more issues. That Chalkboard is scheduled for later this week. See you then.