We're going to continue today's analysis with some things you might not have noticed from yesterday's win over the Cowboys:
What a difference a Darnold makes
Let's look at some stats to emphasize how much of a difference Sam Darnold's return made in a number of areas:
25-yard plays vs Dallas: Four
25-yard plays in the first four games: Two
Tight end production vs Dallas: Three catches, 28 yards, TD
Tight end production, games 1-4: Five catches, 17 yards
Quarterback hits vs Dallas: Two (both sacks)
Quarterback hits, games 1-4: 42 (including 23 sacks)
Receivers with at least one catch vs Dallas: Seven (season high)
Receivers with at least three catches vs Dallas: Five (season high)
Le'Veon Bell yards per carry vs Dallas: 3.6 (season high)
Le'Veon Bell targets vs Dallas: One
Le'Veon Bell targets in the other four games: 32
Sam Darnold, yards per attempt vs Dallas: 10.6
Jets QBs, yards per attempt, games 1-4: 5.0
Robby Anderson vs Dallas: Eight targets, five catches, 125 yards, TD
Robby Anderson, games 1-4: 21 targets, 11 catches, 131 yards, no TD
Offensive touchdowns vs Dallas: Three, including two TD passes
Offensive touchdowns, weeks 1-4: Two, including one TD pass
Darnold simply made several plays Luke Falk was unable to in similar situations, often turning a would-be sack into a positive play. In effect, the offensive line, playcalling and receiver play didn't need to be any different to be able to have success.
The one concern would be how fast Darnold came out of the gates only to slow down in the second half. Was he able to overcome any rust through the adrenaline of being back in the line-up and, if so, is that sustainable? And has the success Dallas had in slowing him down in the second half - although much of that was achieved through ball control on offense - given upcoming opponents a blueprint to slow them down in the games to come?
Slowing down the breakdowns
One interesting number from Sunday's game was that Dallas only had one play that went for more than 20 yards. This is a clear sign that the Jets' backfield communication has gradually improved since Neville Hewitt has had to take over the headset from the injured CJ Mosley.
That one play that went for more than 20 actually came while Hewitt had exited the game and Albert McClellan was playing the Mike position and manning the headset in his place. The play went for 23 on a third down dump off to Tavon Austin, as both McClellan and Trumaine Johnson overpursued.
In terms of downfield completions, the longest was a 20-yarder to Jason Witten which wasn't a coverage breakdown; Jamal Adams just slipped leaving Witten momentarily open.
Perhaps the closest thing to a breakdown came on this third down conversion, where both Johnson and Brian Poole reacted to the underneath option. Had Dak Prescott thrown a pump fake and then thrown downfield, it could have gone for a much bigger play before Marcus Maye could get across:
Otherwise, the Jets' pass coverage was pretty good, although they did get lucky with a few drops and some key offensive injuries on the Dallas side.
The Jets are so good, they can beat you standing on their heads
Foley Fatukasi, ladies and gentlemen...
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.