For 3 days after this game I struggled to put together a coherent thought or explanation behind this game. I thought of doing all the defensive 3rd downs we gave up. Perhaps one on Revis and Watkins. Instead I kept coming back to this one. Fitzpatrick laid an egg in the 4th quarter.
The first INT is about as brutal as it gets. We all got on Bowles for saying it was gameplay for Ivory to get less carries than Ridley. I didn't hear the same outrage when Fitz said he thought Decker was open. There should have been. It was a terrible decision, period. His other picks include him locking on, and the last was simply a desperation mistake. I'll put my personal thoughts at the end. Let's get to the tape.
There's two stories to this play. Decker is never remotely open and Fitzpatrick locked on him the entire way.
The Jets lined up with 4 WR/TE. They ran an interesting version of a trey look on the left with Enunwa playing a Wing/TE. On the other side a WR is in the slot. The routes are pretty basic and designed to beat a defense deep. The only two short routes are from Enunwa and Ivory. This is important because of what the defense chooses to run.
It's a fairly typical cover 3 defense. That means three men deep instead of the usual two. This play is exactly what a defense wants to be running against the routes being run. Decker, Thompkins and Marshall never get open. However, Ivory is wide open for a swing route.
Decker was never open and the CB made a heck of play. He knew exactly where the ball was going because of Fitz. That pass was even worse watching it a second time.
Two things made this horrific. It was a forced pass in a situation that urged caution. There was no way Decker was open, and Fitz locked on. I know a check down to Ivory probably gets at most 5 yards and more than likely gets stuffed for little gain, but in this case take the yards. Who knows maybe Ivory bowls a guy over and catches a block for the 1st or touchdown. Either way you had 2 more plays to try to do something.
Later the Jets still somehow had a chance until
Bowles totally mismanaged the clock Fitzpatrick got rocked and the pass was a floater. That's not the entire story though.
The Jets lined up with 4 wide, 3 split right and Marshall to the left. Marshall runs a sideline route while Decker runs a fly route that turns into about a 40 yard in route. The two other WR run stop routes a few yards apart also known as a spacing concept.
On defense it's a cover four. 4 defenders split the field into quarters and play deep. Only three men stay underneath. Guess where Fitzpatrick watched the whole way. He did a poor job of recognizing the coverage here and should have checked off Marshall. His route plays right into the defensive hands.
On the other side of the field a situation where one defender is covering two men. It's a dangerous pass, but you can pump fake to the inside man drawing both defenders and that should open up the top stop route.
Either way two things went wrong. Fitz locked onto Marshall, but this is the second play where Gailey was completely outcoached. With two minutes left, there's still enough time to drive down the field. The Jets were at the best with 10-15 yard passes in the middle of the field not bombs along the sidelines. This was yet again bad all the way around.
And why not add to the misery. This pick is all about a QB whose desperate and not on the same page as a wideout.
The Jets have 3 WR right and a 4th left. The one on the bottom runs a deep out route while two WR go long and one stays underneath. The WR runs a stop route and Fitz thinks he's going to run an inside route. Oops.
The defense is yet again cover 4. No one really gets open except maybe the short guy.
Fitz messes up throwing the ball to the defense, ending the game and the season in one shot.
Let's talk about Fitzpatrick shall we? Personally, I'm not a lover of what he does. I'm not a hater either. If anything I recognize he had a great statistical season for the Jets, but he was never a measure of consistency. Was he competent? Absolutely. Anyone who argues this, watch 2012 Mark Sanchez or 2014 Geno Smith. That's incompetence. It's a very low bar admittedly.
However, it's a good point to start. For all those that say he was bad, I'd point to those examples. For those that thought he was good, I'd point to the season's that Cam Newton had with the talent around him. Depending on whether you like or hate him, he's in the middle somewhere. Will he win you a championship? Perhaps if he gets on a good team and has the kind of 4 game run he did against the Dolphins, Giants, Pats and Cowboys. However, he's also just as likely to do everything to prevent you from winning like he did against Buffalo this past week.
After watching two years of tape on him, he is what he is. Good at times, horrid at other times. He'll come out of nowhere a few times every year and have a monster game but also stink the place up a few times. Is he worth mega dollars, nope. Is he worth more than the league minimum? Yes.
This season may be over but the amount of intrigue with this team is not going to die down any time soon.