Despite the efforts of the New York Jets defensive line to beat up and harass Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton Sunday, the Jets secondary still managed to get repeatedly beaten deep, eventually costing the Jets the game. The Jets secondary got torched throughout, and mistakes by multiple players costed them in the end.
Andy Dalton 56 yard pass to CJ Uzomah
The Bengals lined up in a three receiver set, with AJ Green (#18) lined up on top against the Jets Darrelle Revis (#24). Alongside Green is Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd (#83), alone on the other side for the Bengals of the field is Brandon LaFell (#11). Dalton is the backfield with Jeremy Hill (#32), with CJ Uzomah (#87) lined up on the end of the left side of the line.
The Jets line up with a lone safety, Marcus Gilchrist (#21), with his fellow safety Calvin Pryor (#25) lined up as a “Money Back” alongside linebackers Darron Lee (#50) and David Harris (#52). Buster Skrine (#41) lines up across Boyd.
The Bengals ran a simple “4 vert” play with Jeremy Hill running an out route. Hill gets picked up by Harris immediately, but Dalton’s focus was down field. The Jets secondary used man coverage, and Gilchrist began to tread towards his right, most likely attracted by AJ Green. Pryor and Lee both immediately pick up Uzomah, but Pryor shifts his attention towards LaFell, who is also being covered by Williams. This leads to a mismatch between Uzomah and Lee, and Lee gets beaten down field.
Dalton completes the pass to Uzomah around the 45 yard line, Williams whiffs on his tackle attempt, Lee misses an open field tackle and Skrine gets nudged from behind by Boyd throwing him off-balance causing him to also miss. Williams eventually recovers and makes the tackle, but not before a 56 yard gain by the Bengals.
What Went Wrong
Pryor’s decision to cover LaFell was questionable at best. LaFell is faster than Pryor, and he was lined up in the box, giving LaFell a huge head start anyways. Williams was well positioned to deal with LaFell from the snap, and covered LaFell well on his route. Gilchrist also made a mistake at the beginning of the play, instantly going towards Green, leaving the entire middle of the field open, and allowing Uzomah to run straight down the middle for a huge gain. Right after the catch, Williams chose to play the ball instead of going for a safe tackle and missed leading to Uzomah doing even more damage.
Andy Dalton 54 yard touchdown pass to AJ Green
The Bengals line up in another three receiver set, with Boyd and Green at the top of the screen and LaFell alone at the bottom. Uzomah is on the right end of the line. Dalton is now under center with Gio Bernard (#25) in the backfield.
Skrine is initially lined up on Green, with Revis on Boyd, but Boyd motions towards the bottom, and he shifts over allowing Revis to cover Green. Williams is yet again on LaFell. Lorenzo Mauldin (#55) and Harris are the Jets edge defenders, both playing man coverage. Their counterpart, Darron Lee is in zone coverage. Calvin Pryor is lined up as a deep safety.
As Boyd motions left before the snap the Jets shift their assignments putting Skrine into zone coverage alongside Lee. Dalton runs a play fake to Bernard, and Bernard runs into the flat to be picked up by Harris, Mauldin picks up Boyd on the opposite flat. LaFell runs a crossing route over the middle, as Green runs a vertical. Revis does a good job keeping up with Green, and with help from Pryor should have taken away Dalton’s deep option.
Unfortunately for Revis, the rest of the Jets and their collective fan base, Pryor was lost on the play. Pryor begins to back pedal after the snap, but was distracted by LaFell running through the middle of the field. There is a split second where Pryor is literally just standing there as AJ Green runs by him, and he and Revis are beaten for a deep touchdown.
What Went Wrong
A lot of the obvious blame goes on to Pryor. He falls asleep of the play and allows Green to go right by him. The Jets also made another mistake in coverage up the field though. Both Skrine and Lee are covering the middle of the field, and neither drop back to help Williams on LaFell. If Lee had dropped back towards LaFell, Pryor could have focused entirely on Green and possibly forced Dalton elsewhere, maybe towards Boyd who had room in the flat, but was staring down Mauldin.
Andy Dalton 49 yard pass to Brandon LaFell
After losing eight yards on first down and an incompletion on second, the Bengals elected to hurry in to their next snap. On a third and 18 play the Bengals rushed their snap and caught the entire Jets defense (and CBS who was late coming out of a game break) off guard. The Jets entire defensive line was caught standing and the secondary took a moment to find their bearings after the ball was snapped.
LaFell sprinted down the sideline and found himself in single coverage against Williams who he easily beat one on one. Pryor was the lone safety and was way too far away to have an effect on the play. If LaFell had gotten away from Williams it would have been an easy score.
From this angle you can see every single member of the Jets defensive line getting to the line late, and getting caught off by the snap.
What Went Wrong
The Jets were not at all lined up for this play and an execution error costed them heavily. They would never recover on the drive as the Bengals continued to push the tempo before eventually scoring a touchdown.
Andy Dalton 32 yard pass to AJ Green
Sometimes a great player is just going to make an amazing play and that’s what happened here. Green runs a fly down the sideline, and he amazingly catches a well placed ball by Dalton. Even with Revis on top of him, Green completes the catch. Revis might have been able to do better, but this play is more attributed to the athletic ability of Green not a mistake by Revis.
Despite giving up a few big plays throughout the game, the Jets nearly won their week one match-up against the Bengals, falling on a late field goal. The Jets secondary, though, has a lot to work on during the short week heading into their Thursday night match-up against the Bills. Their pass coverage was awful, with every defensive back, save none other than Calvin Pryor, playing terribly throughout the game. Pryor, as mentioned earlier, made a few key mistakes that heavily costed the team marring what might have been a decent performance for him. The Jets do have a lot to look forward too, though. The Bills are not nearly the team that the Bengals are in terms of offensive weapons, and their front seven did its job of shutting down the run and pressuring Dalton when he dropped back to pass, accumulating seven sacks.
For more NFL news and breakdowns follow me on twitter!
More Bengals breakdowns:
Header via Fox Sports