Special Teams Review: Jets-Bills

We've been breaking down this week's game against the Bills. We wrap up the postgame analysis with a look at the special teams.

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - Zuerlein Steak

Kicker Greg Zuerlein had a perfect day with three field goals and an extra point, along with six touchbacks on six kickoffs. It was far from routine though, as holder Thomas Morstead didn't get the ball down cleanly a couple of times, he had to re-kick the game-tying extra point due to a delay of game and got the go-ahead field goal through a sea of hands as the Bills got some good pressure against Laken Tomlinson and Jeremy Ruckert.

In his other role as punter, Morstead was underwhelming but his numbers were acceptable. One bounced out of bounds, two were fair caught and one was a short return. He did have punts of 50 and 54 yards but his other two were just 39 and 31 yards. Nick Bawden and Thomas Hennessy were shoved back into his lap on one punt.

With the Bills punting, Bryce Huff created some good pressure on one punt rush. Bryce Hall was the main guy on field goals and extra points trying to come off the edge and get pressure.

Kick coverage - Hardee worth mentioning

With six touchbacks, two fair catches and one punt that bounced out of bounds, the Jets only registered one special teams tackle all day and even that wasn't actually a tackle as Jamien Sherwood was simply the nearest man on a short return out of bounds.

Predictably, Justin Hardee was the man who got downfield to force the fair catches. Hardee and Ashtyn Davis also got downfield well on the short return.

It's interesting that, with Brandin Echols suspended and Irvin Charles inactive due to a numbers crunch, the Jets used Hall as the other primary gunner, despite the fact he hasn't done much in that role in the past.

Return game - Win one for the Gipper!

Xavier Gipson won the game for the Jets with his exhilarating 65-yard punt return. The key to this play was that Gipson initially started off to the right but Adrian Amos allowed his man to beat him upfield so Gipson cut to the left. The gunner on that side had made his way across the field and Hardee and Davis were able to seal him off in the middle of the field.

At that point, Gipson had open field ahead of him and an easy path into field goal range untouched, but was able to take it all the way because he was patient enough to allow Chazz Surratt to make a cut block (which was perfectly legal despite the TV broadcast suggest he could have been called for tripping) and Hall to sprint 60 yards downfield to take out Tyler Matakevich. Gipson put a nice move on the punter to get to the end zone.

Aside from that play, Gipson took one short kickoff out to the 22 and another one from the end zone past the 25, and was blown up immediately on his other punt return attempt.

On the first of those kickoff returns, Bawden had a pancake block but Surratt didn't stay on his man. The other one saw Hardee miss his block and the punt return saw Hardee somehow end up on the ground so the gunner had a clean run at Gipson, but it was not clear how. That perhaps should have been a penalty.

Hall also operated as a primary vice and got beaten once leading to a fair catch.

That wraps up the post-game analysis but we'll be back with the 3-on-D and the 3-on-O over the next few days...