Sunday, December 8, 2013
Jets' Antonio Allen stars on special teams
By Matt Ehalt
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It started with the long snapper.
In their preparation leading up to Sunday's game, the Jets noticed that Oakland long snapper Jon Condo didn't perform proper drops after his snaps. The Jets believed they could capitalize on this and worked all week on exploiting that tendency.
Antonio Allen blocked his second punt of the season.
In the second quarter Sunday, that preparation resulted in Antonio Allen getting a free path to Oakland punter Marquette King. Allen knew a game-changing play was about to happen.
"We about to make money off this," Allen thought.
Allen blocked the punt and recovered it in the end zone to help the Jets to their 37-27 win over the Raiders on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. It marked Allen's second blocked punt of the season (his first was on Oct. 7 against the Falcons).
"It feels good to make a play on special teams. I've been trying to get out there and make whatever happens with my playing time," he said. "It's big for me and big for the team, and we got the victory."
Oakland has been susceptible to blocked punts in MetLife Stadium this season as they also had one blocked and returned for a score when they visited the Giants on Nov. 10. The Giants too said they saw something in Oakland's formations they believed they could take advantage of.
According to Allen, the Jets swung cornerback Ellis Lankster in front of Condo, and Allen shot the A-gap to get his free shot, knocking the ball down toward the Oakland end zone. He tried to pick it up, but Allen couldn't corral it and just fell on top of it in the end zone. Allen's touchdown marked his second of the season, and he's the first Jets' defensive back with multiple touchdowns since 2010.
"It felt weird, they just let me loose" Allen said. "I was surprised I thought the tackle was going to give me some kind of push but he didn't touch me, he just let me go right through. It was big for us."
As Allen made the big play on special teams, he also was more involved in the defensive game plan after three straight games of sparse playing time. Since the arrival of Ed Reed, Allen, who has shown promise in his sophomore campaign, has seen a reduction in his playing time to the point that he barely plays.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he had made a mistake not playing Allen more and he aimed to remedy that Sunday. Allen played just 24 snaps in the previous three games, and he was in that neighborhood of snaps against the Raiders. He played extensively in the first half.
Allen, who believes he was having a "productive" season before Reed arrived, was down on himself after the game for not making an interception during Oakland's final drive.
"That's a play I got to make," Allen said. "With the defensive plays I do get I got to maximize my play time and make something happen."