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The Jets have Josh McCown in the shotgun and are in four-wide. Odds are that they are going to throw the ball here. Let’s first talk about the call. In the team press release, coach Todd Bowles had no thought of calling something safer here. But here’s the thing, a throw outside the numbers takes longer to get to the receiver, therefore increasing the chances of being picked off. A short pass or a run would have protected the football. On the 15 yard line, the ball must be protected. They cannot lose that game in regulation.
Now we talk about how it unfolded. Look at the formation. There are four down linemen and nobody else close to the line of scrimmage. A run would have picked up a chunk of yardage. A throw over the middle would have been open as well. These would have been safe decisions. The play call could have been different but the quarterback could have audibled as well.
He didn’t change the play to a run, so out they go into their routes. McCown had safer options than the one he chose. He had a receiver open short by the 20 at the top of the screen. He had a receiver open in the slot to the left. McCown could have directed either of those two receivers into the box in the middle of the field. But he throws outside the numbers instead to Jermain Kearse in the red circle. The circle is red because the throw is dangerous.
Even if you forget about Bobby McCain, the guy who ends up making the interception, there are still two other guys in the area. He can’t step into it and throw it with any zip because the pocket is pushed back in his face. Take a look:
See how Kelvin Beachum has been pushed right back into McCown’s face? There is no way he can throw this on a line. He can get it off, but he has to barely stride and basically short-arm the throw. At this point, with the pocket collapsing, McCown should have bought time with his feet if he saw nobody open and scrambled for a few yards or threw it away. A floater would have been the worst choice he could have made.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what McCown threw.
My apologies for the blurriness in the action shot, but you know what happened. Bobby McCain stepped in front and picked the pass off rather easily. The Dolphins kicked a field goal and the collapse was complete.
This play was uninspired from start to finish. McCown ran it the worst way he could have. He needed to take care of the ball and he didn’t. He showed why most of his career has been spent on the bench. But, the coaching was uninspired too. This should never have been the play call. It made no sense, despite Bowles and his defense of it.