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A Game of Adjustments

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Kevin Wexler-USA TODAY Sports

In the first half of Sunday’s game against Miami, the Jets were able to hit a couple of big third down plays against Dolphins blitzes. On both plays the Jets left in two extra blockers to pick up blitzers. They were able to exploit the one on ones the blitzes left against the three receivers who went into patterns.

On the first series of the game, tight ends Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin stayed in to block on a third and 9.

Sam Darnold found Breshad Perriman in a one on one. Perriman won his matchup, and Darnold hit him deep for a 37 yard completion that set up a field goal, the Jets’ only score of the game.

On a third and 9 in the second quarter the Jets again left Herndon and Griffin in to block and sent only three receivers into routes.

Miami again blitzed. The extra blockers helped the Jets deal with it. Denzel Mims got open, and Darnold found him for a short pass over the middle he turned into a 30 yard gain.

The closest Dolphins to Mims were an edge rusher and a linebacker who initially blitzed and then subsequently dropped to try and protect the middle of the field. They didn’t have much of a chance against Mims anyway, but they were late in their drops because of the blitz. That combined with the extra blockers helped the Jets move the chains again.

Things changed at halftime. To be more precise, some things changed at halftime.

Every time the Jets got into a third and long (third and 8 or longer) in the second half, they stuck with their first half formula. They put Griffin and Herndon on the field together and left both in to block. This left them with a three man pattern.

Unfortunately the Dolphins seemed to make a halftime adjustment. After being burned by the blitz in the first half, they played coverage. In four third and long plays they rushed only four on three of them. On the other they rushed five. That appeared to me to be what’s known as a green dog blitz. A green dog blitz isn’t the original playcall. It allows the guy assigned to cover a receiver to blitz once he sees his man is staying in to block.

The Jets were left running three man patterns into defenses with six or seven men covering. The passing lanes were totally clogged, and the only receivers who look open in these images were roughly 10 yards short of the first down marker.

The Jets found themselves in good play calls in the first half. The extra blockers helped them pick up the blitzes.

In the second half the Miami adjustment left the Jets in bad shape. The extra blockers didn’t do much good since there weren’t extra blitzers to pick up. The Jets were left with three receivers running into loaded defensive backfields.

Give the Dolphins coaching staff credit. They made a change, and Jets coaches never picked up on it.