The Jets had some momentum before half time but their first drive of the second half was doomed to failure after a penalty backed them inside the 10 and then Michael Vick took an ill-advised sack near the goal line. Still, even after that gave the Bills good field position, the Jets were able to hold them to a field goal and this would be their chance to drive for a score like they had been doing in the second quarter and get it back to a one-possession game.
I was already annoyed that the Jets had been running the ball out of the end zone too often when starting at their 20 would have been a much higher percentage option. However, the lack of judgment shown on this next play was MIND-BOGGLING.
Percy Harvin fielded the punt at the back of his end zone and ran it out to the one yard line and then looked to throw a lateral to TJ Graham. Graham had been lying down on his stomach in the end zone in hopes that the Bills might not realize he was there. They did and Harvin had to eat the ball at his own two-yard line.
After the jump, I will be listing all the ways this was utterly stupid. It's going to be a long list.
1. This play is designed to work with a cross-field pass. With a kick that close to the goal post, it should never have been attempted.
2. If Harvin was going to draw the defensive players over to his side of the field, he needed to run away from the middle, not straight out of the end zone.
3. If the kick is that deep, you should just down the ball anyway. The fact it was that deep threw off the timing and also required Harvin to have no momentum when he caught the ball.
4. Graham was positioned far too close to the middle of the field too. How are you going to draw all the defenders away from that side if he's so close to the middle?
5. Graham decided to move into the lying-on-his-front position before the ball was kicked. This means every Bills player had a clear view of him doing that and only one of them would need to realize what was up for the play to be doomed to failure. He needed to lie down as the ball was being kicked so that the players were following the flight of the ball and lost track of where he had gone.
6. If he was going to lie down before the kick, the position of where he had lied down was all wrong. Ideally you need to lie down on one of the letters painted into the end zone to try and disguise the fact you are there more convincingly.
7. Having caught the ball and decided to run it out, Harvin needed to realize before crossing his own goal line that this play wasn't going to work. It should have been obvious and he could have gone down and salvaged the touchback.
8. Having decided not to throw it, Harvin's only option was to make as many yards as he could, which he might have been able to do had Zach Sudfeld actually blocked somebody.
9. Maybe Sudfeld would have had a better chance of doing that if he wasn't forced - with Jeff Cumberland - into a two-on-six blocking situation by the Jets' confusing decision to run a two man wedge and have everyone else blocking beyond the 30-yard line.
10. Even if all those things were handled correctly and it was a shorter, wider, kick. It was STILL stupid because the Jets had some momentum on both sides of the ball and this just killed it. Of course they went three and out from their own goal-line and never got anything going again until late in the game.
Some of you will be saying I'm over-complicating things and that this is a dumb play that could never work, but actually that's not true. Here's a great example of how it goes when the play is executed correctly and in the right circumstances.
Oh, but no NFL team would ever do that? Actually, the Eagles did it a year or two ago and this too very nearly worked, despite poor execution. Riley Cooper, who scored on the play, couldn't have done a much worse job of "camouflaging" himself, but the coverage unit was still drawn out of the middle and the touchdown would have counted had Brandon Boykin's pass not travelled slightly forward.
The way the Jets ran this play, I wouldn't be surprised if they, fuelled by over-exuberance at having got back into the game, decided on a whim at half-time that this would be an intelligent way to capitalize on the fact that Harvin had been drawing so much attention all week. This was the first kick-off they fielded in the second half and I wouldn't be surprised if they had never even practised the play. In fact, the attention-to-detail here was so shockingly bad that it's almost as if nobody involved had ever even seen this play run correctly and more likely that it was described to Rex Ryan by some drunkard at a bar on Saturday night.
They were still in the game at that point. After this play, it was over and everyone knew it. Idiots.
I'm so angry I can't bring myself to recap the rest of the special teams effort in detail, other than to note that the Jets had their starting defensive line on the punt block unit on more than one occasion and that Nick Folk made a nice field goal.
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