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How Well Did the Jets Defend the Pass on Each Portion of the Field?

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Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

It’s easy to look at football statistics in a vacuum, but when broken down you can learn a lot more. I decided to take a look at the 2017 Jets defense and find out exactly where on the field they were thriving and where they were getting exposed by opposing QBs.

The chart below showcases the Jets’ opposing passer rating allowed at each portion of the field compared to NFL average at that part of the field.

Overall, the Jets ranked 19th in opposing passer rating in 2017, at 90.1. One look at this chart clearly defines where the strengths and weaknesses of the Jets’ pass defense lied. When they had the opponents backed up, they performed pretty darn well, allowing a passer rating significantly below league average when the opponent was inside their own 40.

From there, the problems began occurring. From the opponent’s 21-40 to the next portion, the opponent’s 41 to their own 40, the Jets saw a huge dip, from significantly above average to considerably below average.

Past there comes the horror: the doorstep of the red zone. Quarterbacks ripped the Jets apart in this zone. Leaguewide, quarterbacks completed 59.5% of their passes in this area with a 149-80 (1.9 to 1) TD/INT ratio with 6.7 yards per attempt. Quarterbacks facing the Jets in the shadow of the red zone completed 62.9% of their passes with an 8-2 (4 to 1) TD/INT ratio with 7.7 yards per attempt.

Those numbers are all poor, but the real horror? The Jets had 1 sack between their own 39 and 20. One. That gives them a sack rate of 1.0%, eons below the league average of 5.9% in the zone. This shines light on why the pass rush is such an issue for the Jets. When the Jets struggled most defending through the air, it was largely because their pass rush was nearly nonexistent.

What do these numbers tell you about the Jets’ pass defense?


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