Special Teams Review: Jets-Broncos
We've been breaking down this week's game against the Broncos. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - Mann Down
Kicker Greg Zuerlein had a good game for the Jets again, as his counterpart on the Broncos missed two kicks. Zuerlein made an extra point and field goals of 45, 33 and 40 yards.
His longest kick, as time expired in the first half, gave the Jets the lead for good at 10-9 and came despite the fact that Tyler Conklin and Cedric Ogbuehi allowed pressure on the right side. He somehow hit the kick to the left and faded it between the uprights.
Punter Braden Mann had fun in the Denver altitude, as he had to punt eight times and averaged almost 55 yards per punt. He did have three that landed in the end zone, a couple of which were very close to bouncing out near the goal line. There was only one disappointing punt that was shanked out of bounds and even that one almost went 40 yards.
Mann's best kick was downed at the one-yard line and his net average was 47 yards even with the three touchbacks.
He also deserves credit for handling a few tough snaps from Thomas Hennessy, including a few on the placekicking unit and one that he almost dropped before getting his punt off.
The Jets also used Mann to kick off and he predictably had touchbacks on all four of his attempts.
Kick coverage - Echs-n-Effect
Justin Hardee was the only player on either team credited with a special teams tackle, as he cleaned up to stop the return man for a short return after Brandin Echols had got downfield first and missed the tackle, but slowed him up. Hardee got downfield well to force a fair catch on another Mann punt too.
Echols would later be in the perfect spot to down Mann's punt inside the one-yard line, but nobody really had a shot at rescuing any of Mann's three touchbacks.
Return game - Berr-ly Involved
Braxton Berrios didn't really get a chance in this game, as every kickoff was a touchback and every punt was either a fair catch, out of bounds or downed. You probably could have predicted this would be the case beforehand as the Broncos would obviously seek to neutralize him.
Denver punted a few times on 4th-and-short so the Jets left their defensive starters in more often than they otherwise would have. DJ Reed and Sauce Gardner both got beaten by the gunners on punts that Berrios had to fair catch.
On one Broncos punt, the ball deflected off one of their players down the field and Berrios almost tried to scoop it up and run. There is no risk there, because if you muff it, the ball is dead anyway, but if you field it cleanly and make some yards, the return does count. In the end he thought better of it, as the coverage unit was alert and in position to blow him up, but it's a sign he knew what the situation was.
That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...