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Jets Offensive Line: Isolated and Destroyed

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How the Bills attacked the left side of the O line

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The goal of a blitz or stunt is to force the offense into one on one matchups that are favorable. In the four sacks against the Jets against Buffalo, all were caused by pressure on the left side of the line. Meanwhile the Jets seemed to be favoring the middle of the line, often helping Ryan Kalil with a double team. Perhaps the lack of snaps in preseason led to this, or the Jets had a plan. Let’s look at the sacks.


The first sack was caused by simply stacking six along the line but only blitzing four. It’s a designed deception play where you can’t tell who is coming and who will be covering. It’s worth noting the Jets were in 3rd and long.

The Bills run a cover 2 zone with a spy watching for anything coming low. Only four rush, two from the far right one from over the middle and another from the far edge. You can see how this is to force on one one with Beachum.

Here’s the diagram of the scheme with guys rushing in red:

Beachum gets put on the proverbial island as the protection swings right to cover the two outside rushers. The Jets double team the NT.

For those that say Sam should take off it was 3rd and long. He would have maybe gotten 5 yards with the QB spy/zone man lurking plus linebackers/corners all playing a short zone.

I call this the deciding moment. It’s the last frame or two before the QB takes evasive action and abandons the play. I wanted to see the routes and whether anyone is open.

In this case of the coverage was perfect. No route is even remotely open. In true Jets fashion, not a single route went past the sticks and all stopped 3-5 yards short.


This one is infuriating because no one bothered to take on the Bills safety on the blitz. Either this was a miscommunication between assignments (doubtful), the TE never chipped (probable), or the protection was called incorrectly (possible).

The Bills again stack the line with 7 in the box. There’s an end/tackle stunt on the right side of the defense while two rushers on the left go straight on. The safety takes the long outside route. The two white boxes are defenders covering man to man.

The Jets block four defenders with five lineman including the middle double team. Meanwhile you see the one on one matchups on the left side. The TE runs an arrow concept right by the blitzing safety.

Sam has no hope on this one as the safety comes untouched. For what it’s worth the left guard also gets beat in a one on one matchup. The others do well to stymie the blitz.

This is why I question what happened. Either the protection has to roll to that side or the TE has to be aware he needs to chip the safety. You can’t let a man go free like that. My guess is the TE is at fault, but I can’t be certain.


Remember the first defensive sack? The Bills run the same play, but it’s somewhat more disguised on the back end. Still it’s a four man cover 2 rush with a QB spy. Also this is 3rd and long.

On this one it’s a little more difficult to say who is at fault. It’s 3rd and 10 so it’s another long play. The Jets use nearly a max protect which means Sam has limited options down the field. I’d call this a coverage sack, but it may be Sam checking off right as a WR gets open.

The Bills rush four and drop seven in a cover 2 zone with a QB spy.

The Jets use a max protect line with the Jets ending up triple teaming (!) the NT. Meanwhile the Jets also double team the left defensive end. That leaves the two on the right in one on one matchups.

The four on two goes the Jets way as they protect Sam’s right. But problems loom on the left as the play takes a while to develop.

Eventually the one on one matchups go the Bills way which causes pressure. Here’s a good view of the QB spy which will prevent Sam from even thinking about taking off.

The routes are interesting because Anderson off the line is covered well. Within a half second of Darnold checking off to the middle route that’s across the back zone, Anderson gained a bit of separation on the corner. His route would take him to the outside of the safety, so in theory there may be a lane. The safety had decent position for awhile, but turned his shoulders which a well thrown ball had a chance take take advantage of.

By that point though the line had begun to fail on the left which ended up causing Sam Darnold to tuck and run.


This one is once again the left side losing a one on one matchup. Watch as Osemele gets shoved backwards, and the rest of the line collapses. This one is on Sam though as he should have read man coverage and taken off.

The Bills have a middle stunt on with two coming from the right of Sam with one from the far left. In the middle the LB and NT run a stunt with a loop.

The line is all one on one matchups with the right side of the line covering the two outside guys. Kalil and Osemele switch guys as the stunt moves in. Meanwhile there’s Beachum in a one on one.

At least twice the lane to the left side opens up.

This one is partially on Sam as he waited a half second too long and tripped on his lineman’s feet. Check out the area that was left open due to the coverage.

Look at the defenders. There’s no one covering the middle of the field, and there is no one remotely open at the deciding moment. In this case, taking off is the best hope.

I’m not sure what the right answer is to the Jets sack problem. Perhaps this week we will see a change to how they plan on swinging the protection.