We're going to continue today's analysis with some things you might not have noticed from yesterday's loss to the Dolphins:
The Killing Kearse
Jermaine Kearse had a disappointing game with just 20 yards on nine targets and some concerning mental errors, effort lapses and body language.
However, two plays in particular were bigger than they seemed at the time in retrospect.
In the final minute, an open Kearse inexplicably stepped out of bounds before catching a short pass from Darnold. Maybe this doesn't seem like a major deal because it was only a short pass and at least it stopped the clock.
However, instead of 3rd-and-short at about the Miami 45, this gave the Jets a 3rd-and-10 in their own half. As a result, Darnold eschewed a couple of underneath options and threw a low-percentage downfield pass that was broken up. Of course on 4th-and-long, he had to make a desperation throw that was picked off.
The Kearse play was reminiscent of Dustin Keller on opening night against the Ravens in 2010 when he caught a fourth down pass near midfield with the Jets down by one point but then needlessly stepped out of bounds before the first down marker.
The other costly error from Kearse was a drop in the flat on 3rd-and-19 following a delay of game penalty. While it seems unlikely he'd have picked up a first down, there was at least five easy yards and probably more, but Kearse seemed to make a half-hearted attempt to come up with the ball. Jason Myers missed a 50-yard game-tying field goal on the next play. Perhaps he wouldn't have missed from 45 or less.
Deflecting the issue
One area that the Jets have been very inconsistent this year is in terms of making plays on the ball defensively. You may be surprised to know that they are fourth in the NFL in this category. However, as you can see, these have tended to come in bunches:
The Jets didn't have many on Sunday but a couple of the passes they did deflect were very interesting because of where the pass would have gone were it not deflected.
Brandon Copeland made a great play to deflect a third down pass ... but did he disrupt Brock Osweiler's biggest mistake of the day and deny the Jets a potential game-changing play?
Osweiler's throw under pressure was forced and Darryl Roberts was in perfect position to jump the route. While he turned his head late, he still would have had time to locate the ball and, depending on how cleanly he picked it off, possibly would have had a chance to return it for six.
Marcus Maye's reaction is telling too. It looks like he can tell that Roberts was going to be able to make a play on that.
On the other end of the scale, it would have been particularly bad for the Jets had Jamal Adams not deflected this pass at the line:
Darron Lee had a tough assignment to avoid the wash and get out to the back in the flat. In addition, Buster Skrine passed the slot receiver off to Avery Williamson, who did not pick him up. While the Dolphins perhaps wouldn't have scored a touchdown on that play, they should have had a first down inside the five-yard line, so Adams' intervention probably saved the Jets four points there.
The worst play of the day
After a pair of face mask penalties had given the Jets a 1st-and-10 at the 36 late in the third quarter, this was an ideal opportunity to move into scoring range to tie the score or even take the lead. However, this is the play they opted to run on first down:
For some reason the Jets thought it was a good idea to run behind Chris Herndon here and the outcome was predictable. Herndon has struggled as a run blocker all year but they put him in at fullback to lead block for Elijah McGuire between the tackles. While James Carpenter and Spencer Long were also at fault on this play, McGuire had nowhere to go because Herndon was blown up in the backfield. It was a waste of a down and also moved them out of field goal range (they eventually got back into range but Jason Myers missed a 50-yarder).
It was obvious that this play was set up to fail and Darnold should have the ability to recognize this and change the call. Would he have done so, though?
In a recent interview, Sam Darnold described Herndon - his roommate at training camp - as "an excellent blocker".
He is wrong.
Herndon wasn't the only player to struggle as a blocker this week. Akeem Spence had a dominant display, gaining consistent penetration, mostly against Brian Winters. Also, Brandon Shell was beaten a handful of times off the edge by Cameron Wake.
Perhaps the most frustrating play was this one though. On 3rd-and-21, the Jets smartly ran a screen to Trenton Cannon that went for 14 yards and set up a field goal to bring the Jets within a score. However, with three blockers out in front of him, you'd like to see a much better effort than this to actually make a block:
With some of the obvious frustration of the receivers manifesting itself in poor body language and apparent lack of effort, could this be bleeding into the rest of the offense? It's not a good look seven days after your head coach called this unit out because of their poor effort in the Chicago game and challenged them to lead the charge in Miami.
Much more analysis to come later today and over the next few days. Please let us know who you'd like to see us feature in more detail in 3-on-D and 3-on-O.