Special Teams Review: Jets-Miami
We've been breaking down this week's game against the Dolphins. We wrap up the postgame analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - Mann of the Moment
Kicker Greg Zuerlein wrapped up a strong season with two field goals and one miss from 55 yards. For the second week in a row, the long miss set up good field position for the other team and led to a field goal.
Zuerlein also had two touchbacks on all three of his kick-offs. He ended the season with 47 touchbacks on 56 kickoffs, grading out as one of the best in the league in that role. It's curious that Braden Mann had this job initially because his numbers were much worse (33 yard average start line, as compared to Zuerlein's 25).
Mann's rough season ended on a high as he had one punt go out of bounds inside the two yard line, one fair-caught inside the 10 and two others that got the return man backpedalling and forced a fair catch. His last punt was a shorter one, perhaps designed to prevent Tyreek Hill from getting the ball, but that worked out okay after a kind bounce.
Jermaine Johnson got good pressure on one punt.
Kick coverage - Lights, camera, Ashtyn
The Jets had no special teams tackles on Sunday as all four of Zuerlein's kickoffs were touchbacks and Mann's five punts saw two downed and three fair-caught.
Ashtyn Davis did a good job of getting downfield on the punt that went out of bounds at the goal line and appeared to get a piece of it as it was crossing the sideline, to make sure it wasn't a touchback. Davis also got downfield well on one of the fair catches.
Predictably, Justin Hardee beat his man downfield on four of Mann's five punts to prevent any returns, but couldn't add to his team-high tackle total which leaves the first-time pro bowler fourth in the NFL.
Return game - Diminishing Returns
Braxton Berrios didn't get a chance to return any kickoffs so he ended up ninth in the NFL in that category. He did try to return one off the bounce and got out past the 30, but it bounced in the end zone and that's an automatic touchback.
On punts, he had one of his best returns of the year as he slipped the first tackler and got upfield for 20 yards. Then he again beat the first man on a shorter return later on. Unfortunately for Berrios, he ended up one short of the minimum requirement to qualify for the end-of-season rankings in this category. Otherwise, he would have been third in the NFL.
Bryce Hall had a good block on Berrios' best return but got beaten downfield by the gunner on one of his fair catches. Berrios did end up as the league leader in that category once again.
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...