With just 24 seconds in regulation and trailing by 3 points, the Jets got the ball back against the Giants. They needed to move the ball down the field quickly.
In this situation, the offense’s most realistic hope is to get the ball far enough down the field that a quarterback can reach the end zone with a desperation pass or two. Anything else requires both a major defensive mistake and top notch offensive execution.
On the play, the Giants only rush three men. The Jets leave in an extra blocker along with their five offensive linemen.
It’s six blockers vs. three pass rushers. On the back end, that means it’s four receivers vs. eight defenders in coverage.
This means receivers will need extra time to get open, but they should have it because the pass rush will need time to get to the quarterback. A big play can be on the table if the quarterback is patient and willing to let the play marinate.
Anecdotally, this has been a problem for Zach Wilson through the season. He has been anxious quick check down in these situations but not here.
On this play, three of the receivers are to the right side of the field. If all of the receivers are on the same side, that is usually a sign they are in the progression.
Without any timeouts, the Jets were likely trying to get the ball to the sideline. The red receiver is on a deep to run off any defender covering the sideline (and a potential homerun target if the defense busts the coverage.) The yellow receiver is the primary target. If he isn’t open, he will cut up the field, and the orange receiver will be targeted.
On the other side of the field is Garrett Wilson. Garrett doesn’t appear to be in the progression.
You might ask why the Jets aren’t putting their best receiver in the progression. Well, the quarterback frequently has the option of going to the other side of the field if he likes the matchup or how the play is developing. There are likely going to be less bodies on the side with only one receiver so he might have a favorable matchup.
As you can see, Garrett is running a vertical route, and the deep defender is worried most about getting beaten deep so he is retreating.
For all intents and purposes the Giants have a double team on Garrett. The deep defender would normally be responsible for the inside part of the field, but he is laser focused on not getting beaten deep. This leaves a lot of space for Garrett to get to. You can see Zach Wilson is throwing the ball before Garrett gets there. You can also see the middle of the three deep defenders (not circled) is shaded to the far hash because that’s the side with most of the receivers. It gives Garrett a little extra room to operate.
This is a very well executed play by the Jets and Zach Wilson in particular.
Even on a long developing play where you have more blockers than rushers, the quarterback might have to move a bit away from the rushers to buy time. Zach spots the matchup he wants and throws with anticipation. This is a big time throw.
It should have allowed the Jets to get up to the line, spike the ball, and try a pass or two to the end zone.
Fortunately it was even better than that since Kayvon Thibodeaux jumped offsides. The Jets declined the penalty, but even a declined penalty stops the clock until the next play is snapped. The Jets had new life.
To be continued...