Special Teams Review: Jets-Lions
We've been breaking down this week's game against the Lions. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - Smashed Greg
Kicker Greg Zuerlein failed to connect on the potential game-tying kick as time expired, although he did make a short field goal and two extra points. His three kickoffs included two touchbacks. It's tough to blame Zuerlein too much for his miss, because it was a 58-yarder.
Punter Braden Mann had a rough day though. He averaged 50 yards per punt, including a 55-yarder that led to a fair catch. However, his net average was only 32 yards as he put three in the end zone and had one returned for a touchdown. Another punt went out of bounds.
It's tough to put too much blame on him for the touchdown. This was a low returnable kick, yes, but the Jets were backed up to their one yard line and Mann had to rush to get this kick off with a 10-yard snap and pressure allowed by Tyler Conklin.
The Lions also missed a long field goal with pressure off the edge, which appeared to be from Tony Adams.
Kick coverage - Jeff gets an F
The Jets didn't really get near Kalif Raymond on his punt return touchdown. The main issue here, other than Mann being unable to get enough hang time on the ball to allow his coverage to get down the field, was that Jeff Smith and Hamsah Nasirildeen overpursued badly. From that point onwards, DJ Reed missed a desperation diving tackle and Mann was pancaked near the end zone.
Also on punts, Justin Hardee got downfield well to force a fair catch, but Adams failed to down a punt near the goal line.
The Lions only returned one kickoff with Ashtyn Davis doing a good job of cutting the return man down near the 20-yard line. That was the only special teams tackle by any Jet on Sunday.
Return game - Berri Frustrating
Braxton Berrios tried but failed to give the Jets a spark as his four kickoff returns (including one that was re-kicked following a penalty) were all stopped short of the 25-yard line and his only punt return went for just six yards. Berrios fumbled in the open field and then recovered the ball on one return, costing him a chance for more yards.
Among those failing to make their blocks were Nasirildeen, Davis, Hardee, Adams, CJ Uzomah and Ty Johnson. Adams was also beaten twice by the gunner, forcing Berrios to make a fair catch.
Perhaps Berrios' best play saw him bluff a fair catch and then duck so the ball bounced into the end zone for a touchback. That sums up a disappointing day for the special teams unit - on a day where, without their quarterback and best defensive player, they could have used a good performance from them.
We'll be back with the 3-on-D later today and the 3-on-O tomorrow...