Film review: What was Tony thinking?

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
9:19
PM ET
One last look at the Jets' loss to the Seahawks, with our weekly film breakdown:

EXPLAINING THE INEXPLICABLE: By now, you've probably seen the footage of Mark Sanchez on the sideline, looking disgusted after he was replaced by Tim Tebow for one play in the fourth quarter. It came after a 32-yard pass to Dustin Keller, giving the Jets a first down near midfield. It was a weird time to use Tebow. On Monday, Rex Ryan explained that they did it because of a certain look by the defense. He didn't offer specifics. Here's what he meant:

The Jets changed personnel groupings between plays, going from a run look (2 RBs, 2 TEs, 1 WR) to a pass look (2 TEs, 3 WRs). The Seahawks stayed with their 4-3 base defense. The Jets put Tebow in shotgun, as usual, and went to an empty backfield. On paper, this created favorable matchups across the board. The Seahawks were confused or perhaps they preferred their base package to guard against a Tebow run.

Either way, the Jets should've been able to exploit it, but the Seahawks actually covered it well. Tebow's pass to Jeremy Kerley was incomplete. They got a first down because of defensive holding, but was five yards worth all the aggravation?

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Concerned about the wide receivers' ability to get off the line against the Seahawks' big, physical cornerbacks, coordinator Tony Sparano used a lot of bunch formations. Obviously, the plan didn't work, as the Jets averaged only 3.6 yards per pass attempt -- lower than their average per rush (3.8). You don't see that every day. But there was at least one play in which the bunch produced open receivers.

It was the interception at the Seahawks' goal line.

Keller ran a corner route and he was open for a split-second, but Sanchez's throw was late and lacked velocity, resulting in the interception. Sanchez tried a pump fake and appeared indecisive, and the delay was costly. He probably kicked himself watching the film because Stephen Hill was all alone in the back of the end zone. He stood there, under the goal post, with both arms raised. Sanchez didn't see him or didn't think he could get him the ball.

CAN ANYBODY RECOGNIZE A BLITZ? The Jets continued to suffer protection breakdowns against the blitz. Two of the three sacks were recorded by unblocked rushers. The common denominator was FB Lex Hilliard. Moments before the snap on a third-quarter sack by DE Bruce Irvin, several Jets pointed to the left side of their formation; clearly, they recognized something. The protection slid to the left, including Hilliard. Irvin came from the right, blowing past RT Austin Howard, who thought he had help.

On a fourth-quarter strip sack by CB Richard Marshall, the Jets failed to pick him up on a front-side slot blitz. Hilliard leaked out of the backfield on a pass route, and Sanchez had no "hot" receivers on the front side. Sanchez saw him coming, but instead of taking the sack, he tried to make a play and coughed up the ball. Sound familiar?

STUFFED TURKEY: Going into the game, the Jets lead the league in short-yardage rushing -- 15-for-15 (third or fourth down with two or fewer yards to gain). So what happens? They get stuffed twice in a row on their opening drive.

On third-and-1, DT Brandon Mebane knifed inside RG Brandon Moore to disrupt the play, stopping Hilliard for no gain. On fourth-and-1, Jason Smith, used as an extra tight end, got knocked on his rear end and Keller missed his block on LB Mike Morgan, who stopped Shonn Greene for no gain.

SAY WHAT? Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had an odd explanation for his team's first-half struggles in the running game. On Monday, he told a Seattle radio station the Jets' lack of intensity disrupted their zone-blocking scheme. Huh?

"(The Jets) weren't coming off the ball well," he said. "We were, so we were out ahead of them. I thought they were doing it collectively ... It was really them not playing great technique up front."

Actually, I thought the front seven played with a lot of intensity for three quarters. That came off as a lame excuse by Carroll, whose team eventually finished with 174 rushing yards.

ODDS AND ENDS: On Sidney Rice's 31-yard TD catch, it looked like the Jets were in a Cover-1 look, with S Yeremiah Bell in the deep middle. He got caught too far to the left, unable to help CB Ellis Lankster, who got beat in man-to-man out of the slot ... CB Antonio Cromartie took the bait on the Seahawks' razzle-dazzle TD. He left his man, Rice, expecting WR Golden Tate to run on an end-around. Tate pulled up and found Rice all alone for the 23-yard TD ... Nice pressure by LB Calvin Pace on Mike DeVito's strip sack, which resulted in a TD ... Sanchez got blasted one time when C Nick Mangold missed his block.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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