After another loss, let's go to the film and see what went wrong and right vs the Steelers.
Marcus Williams is an enigma. On some plays, he looks like a stud picking off passes, but on others he looks like a guy that is not ready for a number two cornerback role. This is the latter case.
The Steelers line up with a tight bunch formation three to the right with a running back and sole flanker on the right. The routes are pretty straightforward, two deep sideline routes, two short out routes and a middle arrow route that is of medium length. Usually the bunch is used to pick a player, however in this case, it's more or less the deep man who is going to be the primary target.
The Jets are in cover two man, with two deep safeties. It's a pretty basic defense used to protect the deep, while keeping man underneath. Williams fails to get a jam up front, letting the outside bunch WR run up the sideline. That's exactly where a cover two is the weakest, however some blame could be tossed to Pryor for failing to help out.
Coates gets on the outside shoulder against Williams in a foot race that he will win every matchup. Pryor drops in his zone and has to watch across the middle as well as the deep route. In truth, it's a very good route concept that should bust a cover two. Williams failed to get any contact and basically hopes Pryor gets over. Pryor gets caught in no man's land really, covering the deep half, but failing to cover the sideline. How much is on Pryor is tough to say really. He should help deep, but at the same point has to be wary of that over the middle route.
Williams gets absolutely burnt on his side of the field and deserves a ton of blame for not protecting the outside where he's going to have limited help. That being said, Pryor didn't exactly react well to the deep outside route staying in the middle of the field.
This play is a combination of a great call on offense beating a defense that it's designed to beat. The bunch probably prevents Williams from jamming his man, fearing a pick play at the line. That allows an outside release. Pryor gets caught in no man's while the matchup between Coates and Williams favors the Steelers. It's half tip your cap, half poor defense.
The lone Jets touchdown looked horrible on TV. How the ball wasn't picked off is one issue, but overall I can't fault Fitz's decision. I can fault the ball placement though. It's a terrible pass that got bailed out by a WR making a heck of a play and a little luck.
Jets line up with three WR spread over the right side with Marshall and a running back to the left. Marshall runs a deep fly route, which the RB crosses under coming out of the backfield. On the other side of the field, it's a crossing route, a deeper post route and an underneath slant/post route that turns into an arrow because our TE never breaks out of the defenders jam.
The defense is in cover one man with a defender deep watching anything over the middle long, while underneath man coverage prevents short routes.
On game film it's spectacular one on one defense. Marshall is forced outside while the defender is underneath. However, it's Brandon Marshall one on one with a CB. It's a semi favorable matchup here. Meanwhile the defense on all other routes is solid. Realistically it's the only spot where someone has some sort of chance to make a play.
The pass is short to the inside. Again, it's solid defense which is not encouraging. Fitz sees the matchup, likes it and throws the ball to Marshall while no one else is open or will be immediately hit when making a catch. The defense all over the place is solid.
We all know that Marshall stole the ball from the defender. It's a poor pass, but a decent decision considering the other options. Basically Fitz trusted his man to make a play, and against the odds and poor pass he did. I can't fault his process here, however I can fault the throw, which should have been picked. The only other option would be to eat a sack, or make a play with the legs, but I didn't see a lane form so the former is more likely. Am I defending the pass? No, I think the decision was the best option considering what I saw on tape.
Blown assignments seem to be the new norm for the Jets. Every week someone screws up royally and yet again we find ourselves wondering just who is to blame. This is the case of the touchdown before the half.
Pittsburgh lines up with a single WR to the left, with trips to the right and a single RB also to the right. It's a designed pick play on the right with two WR's blocking... one of which blocks and goes right to the middle of the field and a corner route. The corner-post route on the opposite probably is a favored option as well here.
The Jets screw this up royally. Henderson, Lee and another defender both jump the running back route. The two deep routes are covered, in one case double covered.
The last frame shows ineptitude defined. Four defenders cover two options, one of which was a block on the right side of the formation. Gilchrist helps out the single WR on the left, which is another double team. Meanwhile the TE is all alone.
Before the play you can see Lee pointing to the running back as if to say I have him. I have no clue who blew the assignment, but someone has to be responsible for the TE and trust the other guys to make a play on the running back. Again, this is just pathetic defense from a team that's made it a habit.