Jets’ Third-Down Success Sparks Offense

Posted Dec 4, 2017

Green & White Remained Persistent on the Ground, Shell Shows Progress at RT

The Jets posted a season-high 38 points in Sunday’s win over the Chiefs in large part because of their ability to extend drives as they converted a season-high 65% on third down.

Quarterback Josh McCown credited the success to a combination of coordinator John Morton’s play calling and the execution. McCown did a good job of spreading the wealth as he completed passes to six players, four of which converted at least one third down. The 38-year-old also used his legs to move the chains as well in addition to his two rushing touchdowns.  

“When you can do that and the guys outside are there and you can do it converting passing the ball, then they change coverage,” McCown said. “They have to go to more man so then you can, as a quarterback, have the option to make the plays with your feet. They gave me an opportunity. I think it’s a collective effort of everyone that gives us an opportunity to convert at a high level and that’s what we had yesterday.”

Against the Buccaneers in Week 10, the Jets had 11 third-down attempts of over 10 yards. Three weeks later, the offense predominantly worked with short-yardage situations on third down, one of the reasons head coach Todd Bowles said the offense played well. Of the team’s 20 attempts, 11 of them were under five yards.

“There were a lot of them that were manageable,” Bowles said. “We didn’t have the third-and-11 pluses like we had the past couple of weeks. We had some third-and-shorts and were able to execute them.”

Sticking with the Run
The Jets’ formula for offensive success contains balance. In the Green & White’s five wins, they’ve averaged 35 rush attempts and they had a season-high 49 runs against the Chiefs. The unit amassed 488 yards as McCown eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark for the second consecutive game and third time this season.

“It’s complementary football,” running back Matt Forté said. “The run sets up the pass and the pass sets up the run. It was just kudos to Johnny Mo calling the runs at the right times, sticking with the run game and also knowing the coverages. Josh knew what they were in a lot of times and which guy was going to be open. He hit those open receivers. Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson made some big plays in the passing game as well.”

Shell Game
The Jets didn’t allow a sack in Sunday’s high-scoring affair and Chiefs OLB Justin Houston, who leads Kansas City with 8.5 sacks, had a quiet afternoon. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum credited second-year RT Brandon Shell for Houston being a non-factor.

“Brandon Shell did a wonderful job blocking him,” Beachum said. “I don’t think it was anything schematic that we did differently than what we do every week. Coach Morton does a great job of mixing up the protections, runs, sliding each way, giving tackles help when we need help and just servicing the whole offensive line. He did a great job. I tip my hat to Brandon Shell. He’s doing a great job and is continuing to mature.”