Special Teams Review: Jets-Steelers
We've been breaking down this week's game against the Bengals. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let's review the key contributions...
Kicking game - Mann of Steel
Kicker Greg Zuerlein had another solid game with a successful field goal and three extra points. He also had four touchbacks on his five kickoffs. The only one that wasn't a touchback was a strange one, as the Jets had to kick off from midfield following a Steeler penalty. Zuerlein kicked with Deuce Carter serving as his holder rather than off a tee with the apparent goal of laying it up short to hopefully blow it up inside the 20.
However, the kick was far too short and the upback fielded it at the 18 and got out to the 26. They could have saved a yard by just booting it through the end zone.
Punter Braden Mann had a decent day with his best punt taking a Jets bounce for a 59-yard net. He had one punt fielded inside the 10, but returned 10 yards and another that was a little short but his overall numbers were solid.
Kick coverage - Buy or Marcell?
Justin Hardee had another solid game in kick coverage as he was credited with a tackle, got downfield to down a 59-yard punt and forced a fair catch. He blew up one punt with a forced fumble that could have been a gamechanger but somehow a trio of Jets, led by Brandin Echols failed to come up with it.
There was one punt where Hardee overran it, but Marcell Harris was right there behind him with a big hit to limit the return.
For the second week in a row, Echols got downfield well on a punt, only to run past the return man as he assumed it would be a fair catch. Hardee and CJ Uzomah cleaned up on this one following a short return.
The only kickoff that was returned was Zuerlein's pooch kick, which was returned to the 26 as Jamien Sherwood missed the tackle but Carter and Micheal Clemons cleaned up. Sherwood was credited with an assist on the play where Hardee forced a fumble.
Return game - Braxton Zeroes
Braxton Berrios wasn't very productive against the Bengals and had literally zero return yards in Sunday's game. He still made valuable contributions though, as a couple of his four fair catches saw him come up fast to grab the ball rather than let it bounce and potentially risk losing 10-20 more yards of field position.
On kickoffs, the Steelers were clearly trying to keep it away from him and this backfired on one play where Chris Boswell hit it out of bounds so the Jets got it at the 40. Another kick was laid up short and fielded by Ty Johnson, but he got blown up before the 20 as Uzomah couldn't make a block.
The Jets kept their first team defense stayed in on a couple of punts that were on 4th-and-short. DJ Reed got burned by the gunner on each of these and Tony Adams got burned by the gunner on another where the Jets otherwise might have had a decent return set up..
Berrios was also back to potentially return the 59-yard field goal attempt before halftime, but the kick was good - and a stadium record at that.
That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...