We've been breaking down this week's game against the Packers. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - A walk in the Parks
The biggest factor in the kicking game this week was all the blocked kicks. Quinnen Williams blocked a field goal and then Micheal Clemons blocked a punt that Will Parks returned for a key touchdown. Clemons' penetration was also a factor in the Williams block.
The Jets also had a punt of their own blocked as Ashtyn Davis perhaps misread the situation and went to the wrong side when a rusher stunted underneath and in between Jamien Sherwood and Marcell Harris. The Packers had already fired a warning shot when CJ Uzomah got beaten for another near-block.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein didn't have a kick blocked, but his 53-yarder just before halftime was wide. He made a shorter field goal earlier in the first half and all three of his extra points before his late chip shot essentially iced the win. Zuerlein also had touchbacks on five of his six kickoffs.
Punter Braden Mann's stats don't look that good due to the fact that his punt which was blocked actually rolled past the line of scrimmage. It therefore counts in his statistics as a six-yard punt. This is unfortunately for Mann, because it wasn't his fault and really skewed his numbers. (For the record, Clemons fielded this ball, but was not allowed to advance it because it was past the line of scrimmage).
Other than the one that was blocked, Mann was lights out, with punts of 50, 50, 58 and 61 yards. The only punt he had that was less than 50 yards was landed inside the 15-yard line and there wasn't much in the way of return yardage. So he ends up with a respectable 45 yards per punt average (and a 41 net), but it would have been over 52 without the deflected punt counting against him.
Kick coverage - The Hardee Boyz
Justin Hardee continues to impress on special teams. This week he blew up two returns with good tackles. He is now just one off the league lead for total special teams tackles and it's rare that they're cheap ones where he just dives on the pile at the end of a return or cleans up for someone else.
On another play, Hardee got downfield well to bottle up the return despite being double-teamed with Sherwood and Harris combining for the stop. He also had one play where he got downfield and missed the tackle, but slowed the return man up. Brandin Echols then also missed the tackle before Davis cleaned up. Echols also blew up a return for a short gain himself.
The only kickoff that was returned was run back to the 30 as Kenny Yeboah missed a tackle. Sherwood cleaned up with a good open field tackle that saved a much longer return.
Return game - Rising from the Ashtyn
Braxton Berrios had a couple of good returns in this game, the best of which were a 19-yard punt return and a 29-yard kickoff return. Unfortunately, the 19-yarder was called back due to a holding penalty from Davis as his block sprang the return.
The 29-yarder was a well blocked play with Davis, who had an active day, making a good block. Ty Johnson, Tyler Conklin and a double team block from Parks and Uzomah also helped create room for Berrios to get out near the 35 and almost break it. Johnson also fielded one kickoff in the end zone but opted not to run it out.
On punts, Echols was beaten twice by the gunner, leading to one fair catch but Berrios slipped the first tackle on the other one for a decent return.
One interesting note was that Elijah Moore was back deep with Berrios on at least one kickoff return. Is this a sign that the Jets are trying to find other ways to use him since he hasn't been a big part of the offensive gameplan in recent weeks? Or could the Jets be looking to set up some kind of reverse action?
That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...