Special Teams Review: Jets-New England

We've been breaking down this week's game against the Patriots. We conclude today's postgame analysis with a look at the special teams.

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - Greg ZuerDOINK

Special teams played a huge role in yesterday's game given the field conditions, so credit should go to the Jets' units for their contributions to the win.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein made three field goals in tough conditions. His fourth missed off the upright, which is understandable but if it did go over, the game would have been essentially over a lot sooner at 12-3 rather than 9-3. On kickoffs, he had three touchbacks and one that was returned from the three-yard line.

For the second straight week, an overload enabled someone to sneak in-between Max Mitchell and Kenny Yeboah to pressure Zuerlein on the miss. Last week, the same thing happened but with Billy Turner rather than Mitchell in as each of whom had somebody to block.

Punter Thomas Morstead punted seven times and kicked off once in difficult conditions and had a shank and a few line drives with net yardage around the 30 yard mark. However, he had three outstanding punts to boost his numbers. One was fair caught, one went out of bounds and one was downed at the three-yard line and all three of these were for more than 50 yards. His kickoff was just a squib kick - strange that they asked him to do that unless Zuerlein was struggling or maybe Morstead is contemplating retirement and wanted to get on the field one last time.

New England had one really bad snap that bounced to the punter near his own goal line but the Jets didn't have a rush on. Another time, the Jets did rush and Irv Charles got close.

Kick coverage - Dashing Ashtyn's hopes

Ashtyn Davis legitimately had a chance to lead the league in special teams tackles this year but didn't have any in the last three games and ended up with 12, just one off the league lead. He did clean up on one after the runner was tripped by Jamien Sherwood, but didn't get credit.

Sherwood has had a nice year on special teams and finished strong with three tackles in this game to end the year on 10.

Jarrick Bernard-Converse was also credited with a tackle, as were Charles and Chazz Surratt who was initially credited with a forced fumble, recovered by debutant Xazavian Valladay. This was overturned, though, perhaps unfairly.

Charles and Justin Hardee did well from the gunner positions, with Hardee forcing a fair catch and downing a punt inside the five, although Hardee overpursued once and Charles missed a tackle. Hardee also had a penalty for running out of bounds and Charles got into a few scuffles with Brendan Schooler.

Return game - Blocks of 'wood

Xavier Gipson had two absolutely terrible plays on Sunday. One saw him muff a punt (but at least he fell on it immediately as the vices deserve credit for giving him plenty of room). The other saw him return a kickoff where he had a huge hole at the 30 but for some reason opted to change direction and go laterally where he was brought down at the 23.

After that mistake, Gipson was a lot more decisive (perhaps having been instructed to be that way by the coaches) and it showed. He ended up with 87 return yards in total and also saved a ton of yards by coming up fast to field a line drive or bouncing punt which would have bounced for extra yardage.

On those returns, Sherwood had three good blocks but let his man get off the block to stop Gipson once. Nick Bawden and Will McDonald each also had a good block but Hardee got beaten by the gunner on one fair catch.

Gipson ended the season with a 9.7 yards per punt return average which was not good enough to land him in the top 10. (Braxton Berrios was 10th with 10.2). He was second in the league in kick return average, though...although that's only because there were only TWO qualifiers. He led the league in total return attempts and was second in yardage.

We'll be back with the 3-on-D and 3-on-O over the next few days...