Key Decision #1: (NO leads 3-0/4th & 2 NYJ 1/ 3:11 Q1)
- Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has been consistently aggressive this year at seizing every opportunity to control a game. In this situation, he could have kicked a FG to go up 6-0, which isn’t a bad way to start a home game in the first quarter. However, the Saints’ first possession stalled and resulted in a redzone FG, and Payton may have felt that taking another FG in the redzone might actually embolden the Jets a bit too much. So Payton chose to go for the 4th & 2. He got the first down and a subsequent TD to lead 10-0, and that put the Jets into catch-up mode the rest of the day.
- Was Payton’s decision reasonable? Generally speaking, we like to take the sure three here – especially since making two yards is fairly daunting. However, what might have played into Payton’s thinking are the following variables: (i) playing at home perhaps mitigates any failure; (ii) a growing confidence in his defense; (iii) the Jets playing with young QB Bryce Petty – Payton may have felt that a failure on 4th down would be tolerable since Petty would be getting the ball on his own 7; and (iv) the Jets would struggle to score points in any event given they are a young team and that his own team would have more scoring opportunities throughout the game, even though the Jets defense is fairly effective.
Key Decision #2: (NYJ trails 17-7/3rd & 14 NO1/ 1:00 Q2)
- New Orleans had an opportunity to take a three-score lead at the end of the first half when the Jets intercepted Brees deep in Saints territory.
- On 1st & 10 from the New Orleans 11, Petty threw complete for a four-yard loss. On 2nd down, Petty threw short and incomplete.
- On 3rd down, Petty was confronted with a Saints blitz and threw complete and short again for a minimal gain. The Jets ultimately kicked a FG to close to 17-10 at the end of the half.
- In this series, we really can’t quibble with Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles for staying conservative with his young QB and guaranteeing the FG; after all, a one score deficit on the road after one half is a good position to be in – especially when you’re a 16-point underdog. Our only thought was to perhaps attempt one ball into the endzone; a TD here could have really shifted momentum quite drastically. It’s a quibble, but a very slight one.
Key Decision #3: (NYJ trail 17-10/ 1st & 8 NO8/ 8:52 Q3)
- This was the Jets’ last best opportunity to finally tie the score, but in this series, they once again were a bit too conservative for us. Another small quibble with Bowles – because he’d done a terrific job of pushing this game deep into the Q3 – but quibble nonetheless.
- On first down, the Jets ran it – no gain. On 2nd down, a short pass to the right – incomplete, and on 3rd down, another short pass to the left – incomplete. No shots into the endzone. The Jets settle for another FG and trail 17-13 and ultimately lose 31-19.
- While Bowles lost the game, we feel he’s an above average game manager. He shows a good feel for his talent, and the maturity of his team, so he never coaches beyond their abilities. He may lean being a bit too conservative at times, but thus far this season, the Jets have been a tough out in almost every game, even though his team is young and they’re playing with a journeyman QB in Josh McCown.
- The New Orleans offense almost gave this game away with three turnovers, but their defense came up with key stop after key stop. At a couple of points in this game, DC Dennis Allen starting blitzing a bit too much (e.g., the Jets’ first TD drive, the Jets caught Allen in a blitz on a key 3rd & 3) at times, but the Saints are reaching a new level of confidence in their defense.
- On the Jets’ first TD drive, they faced a 3rd and goal at the New Orleans 2-yard line. Saints DC Dennis Allen called the perfect coverage; a run blitz by safety Vonn Bell, who had a clean shot at Jets RB Bilal Powell. But Powell juked Bell and ran in for the TD. This is a perfect illustration of how a coach can make a good call, but they also need help from the players to execute, or else it looks as if the entire operation failed.