Unexpectedly, the Giants opted to line Jason Pierre-Paul -- who had played at right defensive end all season -- on the left side. The Jets perhaps weren't prepared for this, because right tackle Breno Giacomini had a horrible time with him. Pierre-Paul was wielding his protective mitt like a weapon, something which is supposedly against the rules these days, and he rocked Giacomini over and over again as he racked up consistent pressure all game long.
This was the source of most of the Jets' issues on the offensive line on the day. Giacomini didn't give up a sack, but the amount of times he got beaten in pass protection was well into double figures. Right guard Brian Winters was able to save him a couple of times but Pierre-Paul still got home on a couple of the plays where Winters came over to double-team him.
It was a strange game for Winters, who started the game pretty well but then had a series of really bad plays in quick succession -- allowing two run stuffs, a sack and a quarterback hit. Then he seemed to settle down again, although he also got called for a hold and had a poor second half in the running game. Is it unique to consider an offensive lineman as "streaky"?
D'Brickashaw Ferguson also gave up a sack, but again this came about because Giacomini was beaten first and Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to escape out the left side. Otherwise, Ferguson only gave up a couple of pressures and had a good performance as a run blocker.
Led by Nick Mangold, the running game looked really good early in the game, as the Jets drove downfield in impressive fashion, but then it seemed to stall inexplicably. Giacomini and James Carpenter also looked good in the running game in those early stages. Obviously once they were trailing the Jets ran a lot less anyway. Carpenter did get beaten a couple of times in pass protection in the second half though, once for a hit and once for a sack. He also had a personal foul after getting involved in a Giacomini-inspired scuffle.
As noted in the previous section, the Jets opted to use a lot of screen passes to mitigate the pressure from the Giants, an approach I know plenty of people wish previous offensive coordinators had taken more often. All three interior linemen contributed here and each made key blocks on the Bilal Powell touchdown, as Mangold had a highlight reel moment when he pancaked two separate players on the play.
That was a play the Jets ran unsuccessfully earlier in the year, but I had identified it as one that nearly worked. Even though it was a third-and-15 dumpoff, I was out of my seat when Powell caught that because I knew it was going places.
In a similar vein, they missed one good opportunity earlier in the game. This was a nicely designed play though, worth recapping. Maybe they'll get this one right before the season is out, too.
The Jets have two receivers on the left side clearing out by running towards the middle of the end zone. Chris Ivory has faked a run up the middle, and Ferguson has let the edge rusher get upfield and is riding him to the inside.
Ivory leaks out to the left side of the pocket to catch a short pass from Fitzpatrick. He's heading out toward the sideline, and if he can turn the corner, there's nobody else on that side of the field.
Unfortunately, neither Carpenter nor Mangold are able to sustain their blocks and a slightly inaccurate pass and perhaps a less than ideal path out to the flat slowed Ivory's momentum. It's a five-yard loss, but with slightly better (and easily attainable) execution, that's a touchdown. Fortunately, they scored anyway a few plays later, so it didn't matter.
Finally, even though he's out for the season, Willie Colon still found a way to contribute…by getting called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the sideline. He now has one penalty in his last zero games.
Next up … Powell had a huge game as a pass catcher, while Ivory again found his playing time limited while the Jets were trailing…