All-22 Review Week 3
An ugly game, that features an ugly tape. The Bills loss to the Jets featured a variety of defensive looks that EJ Manuel had little experience against. The Jets mixed their looks, and had a go-to package that shut down the Bills passing game. Here’s the “book” on the Bills offense, for now. All-22 review.
I’ll start things off with a review of EJ Manuel’s day. The Bills rookie QB has shown plenty of good things to this point in his NFL career, but Rex Ryan’s defense was able to show him a little something of their own. We’ll check in on NFL ridiculousness on 3rd and 1, and stop to visit Colin Brown’s struggles along the way.
Jets find the antidote
EJ Manuel has been able to expose multiple coverages. He can throw in front of the safeties in a Cover 2, as we saw against New England. He’s shown a knack for finding receivers over the middle of the field, breaking in from vertical routes when Carolina was back in Cover 3.
So here it is...
This package is what really seemed to fluster Manuel. The Jets played man coverage on the Bills receivers with one safety over the top. They didn’t do it on every play, but they did have plenty of success with it.
These will look quite similar. These are sacks, incompletions, scrambles, and negative plays all rolled in to one.
A few times here and there the LBs would pass Chandler from one to the next, but the man coverage (with varying distances and press coverage) was a constant that the Bills struggled to beat.
Here's a full play, with Colin Brown featured...for the wrong reason.
The Bills set up in a 3 WR, 1 TE set with Manuel in the shotgun and Fred Jackson in the backfield. This is a package the Bills run as their base in passing situations. TJ Graham is often featured out on his own while Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson are split to the other side with Stevie in the slot. Chandler on this play is lined up on the left side of the offensive line.
Off the snap the Jets get their matchups...man to man...with safety help over the top.
The Bills have both Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler planning on turning out, and working to the sideline...but they never get the chance. #96 in Green, Muhammad Wilkerson blows through Colin Brown.
The Bills receivers are still working straight up the field, and Manuel is already in trouble.
Note the receivers flash to the outside....but Maneul is down.
This sack isn't on Manuel at all. It sits on Brown. However, the vertical routes the Bills receivers are running are a constant throughout the game. EJ Manuel's best throw (in my opinion) is the seam throw to both Chandler (that he'd hit for a TD later in the game...but only because the Jets badly blew that man coverage) or to Stevie Johnson. With Johnson he'll drop the ball right in front of the safety. These verticals are a strength of the team, that the Jets found a way to take away through man/press, and an effective pass rush.
This is just one play, but he had friends that looked just like him.
The Jets also effectively used the zone blitz to confuse Manuel a bit. Plenty of times you’d see NY crowd the line of scrimmage. It felt like they rushed 8 every play, right? It might have felt that way, and that’s part of the design. The Jets showed 8, and would bring 5, or 6, etc.
The Jets crowd the box and represent that they're bringing some serious pressure....but they dont.
Three defenders drop back into a zone, and Manuel is faced with a zone blitz. The near side DB that's lined up over Robert Woods comes on a corner blitz. This is from EJ Manuel's blindside and Woods runs his route...in this case it's a go.
Tight End Lee Smith flashes open on the near side seam but Maneul isn't looking this way. I'd also wonder if Woods/Manuel in the future would have the freedom to make a quick throw to get the ball to Woods with one man to beat for some good yardage.
Instead the throw goes up the sideline to Stevie Johnson. The sideline throw really killed them. We all watched it, and we all know it. Worth pointing out though is that it's not just the sideline miss that's bad, it's the other throw that wasn't made.
Over The Top
They had one. Robert Woods had 'em beat.
This is the NFL, and that means you’ll have your chances. We’re still waiting on that Bills deep ball to hit, and here are two that maybe could have. The first is a throw to Robert Woods that (it appears) EJ considers briefly.
Graham on his own runs a comeback route while Stevie moves to the flat and Robert Woods drops a double move to run as far as he can on this play.
Manuel has time. Protection holds up as the Jets rush only three and squat most of their coverage in a short zone. Woods runs his vertical, he breaks...
He rolls to the outside and then plants and screams upfield. Manuel has the time. And appears to have a look at it.
But he opts to tuck and roll instead.
Woods is open deep, but Manuel is on the move. The play is not dead....there's another chance for a huge gain. As Manuel rolls, TJ Graham slips behind the defense and the throw if completed would get big yards.
But he misses...
Graham had room, but the ball found the sideline and went incomplete. That darn sideline.
Then the 4th down play that effectively ended the game was a throw to the wrong side as well. If the sideline is a problem, how about throwing the other way, where Stevie Johnson is going full speed by a safety that’s standing still. You had room. The Jets gambled here, and very well could have been burned.
If nothing else, on a 4th and 10...Stevie gives you more of the playing field to work with.
The Jets had very good coverage most of the day. They didn't give EJ his soft zone spots to hit. They pressed the Bills WRs and forced Manuel to make throws into man coverage. He didn't do it very well. Perhaps in time he'll know the reads better. Perhaps the design of the offense will change a bit and come off the verticals when you're running so consistently against man coverage.
Now on to my favorite thing.
3rd and 1 play calling in the NFL.
I realize the Jets are in this alignment because the Bills are in shotgun. I don't care. The All-22 does a nice job of illustrating the kinds of gaps that there are in a defensive line. Run the spread, sneak, and take your first down. The Bills of course had a much better idea.
It's 3rd down and ONE. Here's the play.
Erik Pears will look to cut down low, while Urbik and Brown swing to the right. Fred Jackson takes the handoff and tries to follow the run over right guard for one yard.
The line of scrimmage is the 32. By the time that Fred Jackson gets the handoff...it's the 33 at best.
Four Jets defenders have penetrated. Pears didn't get much, and the point of attack...is being attacked. It's a mess in there.
I WOULD SPREAD THE OFFENSE AND CALL A QB SNEAK ON 3RD AND 4TH AND 1 EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAD THE BALL FROM HERE TO THE REST OF ETERNITY.
So if NFL coaches still think the best idea to get one yard is to move a ton of flesh from right to left, around a center, cut block, pull guard, blah blah blah....who am I to question it right? Maybe next time just fall forward? No? Anyone?
Do it twice.
The Bills lost 2 here. They didn't get 4th and 3.
Thanks folks. Till next week.