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Jets Film Breakdown: Five Interceptions vs. Detroit

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Was It The Jets Defense or Lions Offense?

NFL: New York Jets at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After one day of watching the game film. I’m still not sure what to make of the Jets defense. Of the five interceptions, one was a D-U-M-B-O throw by Stafford and at least two of the picks were individual effort that are a great sign of things to come. I truly enjoyed Lee’s interception for the TD. That was fun to watch the first time and only got better after a second/third/umpteenth viewing.


Let’s take a look at the first interception. This is Claiborne baiting a QB while playing the underneath zone knowing he had help over the top.

Lions lined up with four wide, two split to each side. A simple deep and underneath out/in routes were run to either side. The underneath is a cover two beater, while the deep is a classic cover two buster.

The Jets are in cover two. (I based this off of the safety and far corner position which had them splitting the sideline while the corner dropped off short.) Claiborne follows his man. He has to decide whether to jump the short route, or stick with the deep route.

The linebacker continues to cover the middle out route, while Claiborne played slightly off/ underneath the route. In real time, I thought he was baiting the throw the whole time and knew exactly where the throw would end up. (Based on the safety positioning and how much airtime a pass would need to split the zone.)

He high points the ball perfectly and ends up with a pick. A higher pass might have led to a big play, but I’d love to hear what he was trying to do.


The second pick was a bit of fortune. Instead of picking the defender, the inside WR ran his defender straight into the WR who was the intended target.

Lions again had four wide with two split to the side. The left side of the formation ran “give up” routes while the right side ran a banana/slant combination. The slot wide out runs a bit delayed compared to the outside slant route.

Meanwhile the Jets are in cover one man with one deep center fielder and the rest playing man on the outside. In this case it works to the Jets favor. Adams is covering his man as he swings outside. He never sees the outside WR in front of him.

The collision on the outside takes out the wideout leaving Johnson to make a rather easy pick. Stafford ended up throwing directly to the defender. Also of note, this was not PI because of incidental contact.

So was this a good play by the defense or perhaps just a bit of luck.


This one is just gorgeous. It could be chalked up to this, but it still takes a bit of skill to pull it off.

The formation is two split right with two left in a tight formation. An underneath shallow cross route runs across the middle of the field and behind the RB runs an angle route. The cross route is a rub route hoping to take out the middle linebacker.

The Jets are in zone. Lee bumps the slot man and lets him cross his face and move into the other zone. He has eyes for the RB running the arrow.

If he was wrong, there’s help outside, and the crossing route was now being picked up on the other side. He wasn’t wrong. Also side note: Anderson crushed the QB here.

The Jets had a great film study according to the quotes after the game. This play shows that when it came down to game time, the Jets were ready and executed.


The next one is Stafford simply forcing a ball where no ball should have been thrown.

The Lions lined up with two right, one left and a TE left. Three deep routes are run including a deep comeback route and two deep go routes. The middle and most important is an atrocious meandering route that seemed like a rounded arrow.

The Jets lined up with either cover three or two. (Again Claiborne played the same type of off zone) Either way though three underneath zones are covering the middle of the field including one playing slightly deeper about five or so yards behind the rest of linebackers.

I have no idea why the Lions didn’t pull Stafford right around this throw. It’s triple coverage, with no where to safely put the ball or to keep your target upright.

A pass like this should be picked off and was a combination of the game being nearly out of hand and a QB trying to force something to happen.


Last interception is a classic tip ball drill.

Lions had four wide, two to each side. On the top they run a shallow cross and a corner route. On the other side, it’s a corner-go route and a go route.

The defense is in max defense cover one man with one deep two middle zones and the rest of the secondary playing man underneath.

The defender closed well, did enough to disrupt the pass and tip in into the air where another Jet had just turned around and had the ball fall to him. It wasn’t a great individual play but nice to see another turnover.


I wanted to highlight that turnovers come in all shapes and forms. I’ll reserve judgement on the defense until we get more footage to see if this was a fluke or a sign of things to come, but I have to say I was impressed by a few plays. Hopefully this wasn’t a fluke.