Special Teams Review: Jets-New England

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

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - Mann in the Middle

Braden Mann was a busy man. With the futility of the Jets' offense and multiple re-kicks due to penalties, he ended up having to punt 13 times. His numbers were solid until the final punt, which was returned for the back-breaking game-winning touchdown.

On that kick, the Jets opted to kick down the middle, despite having had good success kicking to the sideline in that direction with Marcus Jones an obvious threat. The Jets presumably hoped some vital seconds would run off the clock by doing it this way. Mann presumbly was told to kick as deep as possible so can't be criticized for out-kicking his coverage if that's the case.

Mann had one that was deflected and only an 18-yarder as a result. A running into the kicker penalty was assessed on that, so he got a chance of a do-over, but this penalty shouldn't have been called because of the deflection which came as Thomas Hennessy got beaten up the middle. The officials obviously missed this.

His best punt was a 57-yarder fielded inside the 10-yard line. He had a few other chances to pin the Patriots close to their line, but didn't do so well with these. He had a 29-yarder downed at the 14 and another kick inside the 20 but returned out to the 28.

Mann's two kickoffs were a touchback and a short kick that was returned to the 30-yard line.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein was literally only on the field for one play (unfortunately), impressively judging the crosswinds to hit on a 45-yarder and holding his nerve having done the same on a 40-yarder only for the officials to rule that it didn't count due to a delay of game penalty.

Kick coverage - Justin Holdee

Justin Hardee was once again in the middle of everything for the Jets. He had two tackles cleaning up, one in the open field and one after Ashtyn Davis blew up the return to slow up the returner. He also beat his man to force a fair catch and drew a holding penalty against a double-team.

On the downside, he was called for a penalty for going out of bounds to try and beat another double and almost got called for fair catch interference before the officials decided he was engaged with a blocker. Hardee was blatantly held on that play, as he also was when sealed off by a double team to set up the winning punt return.

On that punt return, Tyler Conklin, CJ Uzomah and Micheal Clemons were all unable to get across to prevent Jones from breaking into the clear. Conklin overpursued, as did Uzomah, who appealed for an illegal block in the back penalty but it was clear the impact came from the side. Mann obviously missed the tackle in the open field.

Other contributors covering kicks included Jamien Sherwood, who blew up a punt after Brandin Echols missed his tackle, only for this not to count because he took off too early and was illegally downfield on the kick. Clemons also had a good open field hit, Davis made a tackle by the sideline and Uzomah knocked the return man out of bounds after Echols stretched the return out wide.

Return game - Ty Soldier

Braxton Berrios didn't have much of an impact in the return game once more. He had just nine yards on two punt returns and 21 yards on his only kickoff return.

Berrios, who took three fair catches and let a couple bounce - one that went for a touchback and one that was downed at the five - was perhaps concerned about the wind. He muffed one kick out of bounds although this was a low-risk gamble to try and catch the Patriots napping, but he also took a fair catch on one punt where Jeff Smith and Hardee had the gunner locked up so he should've had some room to run.

Sauce Gardner, Davis and Echols were guilty of getting beaten on Berrios returns that were stopped short or plays where he had to take a fair catch.

On kickoffs, Ty Johnson and Elijah Moore also fielded one each. Moore took the kickoff after the winning touchdown out of bounds with one second to go but the home timekeeper allowed the clock to run out. Johnson fielded a short kickoff and broke a few tackles to get out to the 34. Bryce Huff and Berrios failed to sustain their blocks on that one.

That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...