Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team’s play caller. Joe Brady stepped into that role Sunday for the Buffalo Bills. There were many factors that led to Buffalo’s blowout win. One of them was Brady calling a great game.
On several key plays, rather than going up against the Jets’ vaunted cornerbacks, Brady opted instead figured out ways to scheme his running backs open.
Take this red zone play near the end of the first half. Smart play callers use the tight area to their advantage creating congestion for defenders. The Bills bunch their receivers to the right side of the formation.
The end result is a lot of bodies in a tight area as Buffalo leaks running back James Cook to the flat.
Jets communication is not very good. CJ Mosley ends up colliding with two of his own teammates on his way to try and meet Cook in the flat.
The result of the play is a walk in touchdown for Cook.
The Jets really need better communication on this play. It’s a tough spot because Mosley has a long way to go and a lot of traffic to fight through. Some sort of switch probably made sense there, but it likely would have left Mosley one on one with a wide receiver. In an area as tight as the red zone, you might live with it. It sure beats a touchdown that easy.
Early in the second half, the Bills faced a critical fourth and one.
Buffalo puts a man in motion, and Brandin Echols follows. It isn’t particularly relevant to the play, but it tells us the Jets are in man coverage. Why else would Echols follow a player in motion?
Let me give you a relevant stat. In Brady’s almost two year stint as Panthers offensive coordinator in 2020 through 2021, the Panthers faced a fourth and one 17 times. They ran all 17 times.
The Jets knew this. But Brady knew the Jets knew this. A key component of good play calling is knowing your own tendencies and how to use them to manipulate a defense.
At the snap, CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams are flying in against the run even though there isn’t even a formal play fake.
Meanwhile our old friend Ty Johnson is leaking into the flat. It looks like he was Quincy’s man. There are three keys. First is Quincy immediately looks to Johnson and starts running his way once he sees there isn’t a handoff. Second is Sauce Gardner and Jordan Whitehead are both lined up on the same side of the field as a wide receiver and a tight end. Third is Whitehead is looking at the tight end.
It’s an easy completion for a first down. Whitehead has an opportunity to at least save a touchdown, but helps turn the play into a disaster.
This isn't meant to pick on Jets linebackers. Both Mosley and Williams have been outstanding this year and deserve to end up in the Pro Bowl. As you can see, there were other components on the plays that failed as well.
This is more giving credit to Brady for finding plays that worked and staying away from throwing into the strength of the Jets defense.