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Jets early down play calling vs. Texans got more aggressive in the second half

The Jets opened things up on early downs once we moved to the third quarter.

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets scored zero points in the first half of their Week 14 win over the Houston Texans and 30 points in the second half.

I don’t think you can say it was all due to playcalling, but there was a definite change of approach after the teams went to the locker room. This was particularly true on first down.

In the first and second quarters of the game, outside of a kneel down to run out the first half, the Jets had 10 first down plays. Seven of these were runs. They netted only 12 yards on these run plays. Meanwhile, Zach Wilson was a perfect 3 for 3 for 35 yards when the Jets went to the air.

The script flipped in the second half. Before garbage time (in fourth quarter when the Jets led by more than two scores), the Jets ran 11 pass plays against 6 rushes on first down. Wilson was a perfect 7 for 7 throwing for 77 yards. There also were a pair of sacks and two scrambles (one of which resulted in a lost fumble).

Now it’s very easy to read too much into this. Obviously it isn’t as simple as, “calling first down passes produces good results.”

But as we have discussed in the past, the Jets can put Wilson in a better position for success when they throw on early downs as the defense is expecting a run. I do also think there’s something to the idea that ultraconservative playcalling has limited the offense’s ability to have success.

What is interesting is that it doesn’t seem like the initial gameplan was to be aggressive. The Jets remained conservative with their first down calls until halftime.

I’m not exactly sure what changed at the half. The Jets were in the midst of executing their typical “keep the game low scoring and let the defense win the game” plan.

It’s for the best that the Jets coaches had a change of heart, though. A close game turned into a laugher. To be clear I give the most credit to the players, particularly Zach Wilson. But it was nice to see the offense open up.