Yesterday, Josh McCown quietly passed for 354 yards and two touchdowns (well, three ... okay, two). However, the Jets were held to just 17 points and their late comeback bid fell short.
He obviously spread the ball around well, made some fine throws and even added a couple of first down runs. However, today we're going to focus on some missed opportunities he had that could have enabled him to extend drives.
Here's an image from a third down play where McCown rolled right to extend the play after his initial options were covered. He ended up taking a coverage sack here, but as you can see, if he'd kept his head up, he would have seen Eric Tomlinson leaking to an open spot underneath. With a simple dump-off, Tomlinson would easily have been able to fall forward for a first down:
After they punted, the Jets got the ball back quite quickly, but McCown made another bad read on the next drive. The Patriots send the left cornerback on a blitz and Robby Anderson is immediately looking for the ball as the hot read. An immediate throw to Anderson gets the Jets an easy first down with a chance for Anderson to make something happen in the open field:
McCown read the situation late, just in time to sidestep the cornerback, but he would have instead had a chance to check it down to Matt Forté underneath for another probable first down. He didn't see him and ultimately threw it away. They did actually pick up the first down but then McCown was intercepted a few plays later, setting up the tying score.
On this fourth down play, he had to avoid the rush again, but having done so, he threw behind an open Tomlinson to lead to a turnover on downs:
As with the Terrence Brooks fake punt interception a few weeks ago, the Patriots would have been better off to let that one fall incomplete for a turnover on downs, although they only lost seven yards.
Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, the desperation fourth down play that ended the game and again required him to extend the play with his legs was a big missed opportunity:
Check out Travaris Cadet leaking out over the middle and then towards the right sideline. He shows visible frustation at not getting the ball at the end of the play on what should have been an easy pitch and catch but McCown panicked and essentially tried to throw a Hail Mary.
If McCown makes this play, there's still work to do, but the Jets would've had the ball at the 20 with about 12 seconds to go, so they would at least have had a couple of shots at tying the game.
On both this play and the missed throw to Tomlinson, just a little bit of composure would have led to two big plays. McCown has probably exceeded expectations overall, but the potential is actually there for the offense to do even more.
PREVIOUSLY: Reviewing the rotations