Film review: The culprits on D

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
8:26
PM ET
It was one of the most humiliating games in Rex Ryan's distinguished career as a defensive coach. The Jets allowed 245 rushing yards to the 49ers, with 17 missed tackles, per Ryan's count. After studying the tape, I can provide a breakdown of the most culpable players in the front seven.

An individual rundown, comparing player snaps, team rushing yards allowed while on the field and average per carry:

DEFENSIVE LINE

Muhammad Wilkerson -- 38 snaps, 237 yards, 3 TDs, 6.2

Mike DeVito -- 29 snaps, 156 yards, 2 TDs, 5.4

Kenrick Ellis -- 27 snaps, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 5.6

Sione Po'uha -- 27 snaps, 149 yards, 3 TDs, 5.5

Quinton Coples -- 21 snaps, 142 yards, 3 TDs, 6.8

LINEBACKERS

David Harris -- 44 snaps, 245 yards, 3 TDs, 5.6

Calvin Pace -- 42 snaps, 239 yards, 3 TDs, 5.7

Bart Scott -- 40 snaps, 126 yards, 3 TDs, 5.9

Bryan Thomas -- 22 snaps, 102 yards, 3 TDs, 4.6

Garrett McIntyre -- 6 snaps, 68 yards, 1 TD, 11.3

Josh Mauga -- 2 snaps, 33 yards, 0 TD, 16.5

Aaron Maybin -- 1 snap, 3 yards, 0 TD, 3.0

Analysis: Pretty bad run defense across the board. The perimeter, in particular, was exposed. Of their 245 yards, the 49ers produced 149 outside the tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It was the second-highest single game total of any team since the start of 2011 ... This was a particularly rough game for the usually solid Harris, who missed at least three tackles. Pace also had a couple of big misses ... What went wrong? A lot of things: Poor tackling. Poor gap control. Slow pursuit (at times, it looked like players were stuck in quicksand). Also credit the 49ers for near flawless execution, using an inside-outside running attack that had the Jets completely off balance ... Perhaps the most embarrassing moment occurred in the fourth quarter, when Ellis was driven back five yards and pancaked by LT Joe Staley. If he wanted to, Staley could've re-enacted the scene from "The Blind Side," blocking him off the field and pushing him over a fence.

TEXTBOOK: QB Colin Kaepernick's 7-yard TD run typified on a few levels the kind of day it was for the Jets. First of all, it was embarrassing to receive a taste of their own Wildcat medicine. Secondly, the scoring play was a textbook example of the 49ers simply out-executing the Jets.

The 49ers had seven blockers on the left side; the Jets had only five defenders. The 49ers created a huge lane for the speedy Kaepernick. FB Bruce Miller blocked down on McIntyre; TE Delanie Walker took out Scott; RB Frank Gore, leading the way, drilled CB Kyle Wilson; Staley pulled, providing a personal escort for Kaepernick, who was untouched to the end zone.

High-school football coaches should show that play to their teams. That's how it's done.

OFFENSIVE HICCUPS: There's a fine line between success and failure on most plays. On the Jets' first possession, QB Mark Sanchez was sacked by LB Aldon Smith, who beat RT Austin Howard. Howard actually did a decent job on the play, so other things went wrong.

Sanchez looked to RB Bilal Powell on a wheel route, but he couldn't shake LB Patrick Willis. WR Chaz Schilens was the No. 2 read, but he got knocked off his route by LB NaVorro Bowman. Because of a blown coverage, WR Santonio Holmes was wide open in the middle of the field -- wide open. Sanchez, under pressure, stepped up when the pocket collapsed and never tried to throw to Holmes. Either he didn't see him or didn't have time.

A huge missed opportunity.

CRUSHING PICK: Sanchez struggled on his short passes. In fact, he completed only eight of 17 throws within five yards of the line of scrimmage, per ESPN Stats. The low point was getting intercepted on a screen pass. But take a closer look and you will see where the breakdown occurred.

Instead of allowing his man to rush up-field, thereby allowing the screen to work, Howard short-sets DT Ray McDonald. That allowed McDonald to stay in Sanchez's field of view. McDonald tipped Sanchez's floater to RB Shonn Greene, and Willis made a diving interception. That subtle mistake by Howard ruined a potential long gainer by Greene, who was wide open.

We're not absolving Sanchez for his poor performance. By my count, he missed six open receivers even when he wasn't under duress, one of which should've been intercepted.

Going into the game, Sanchez had been effective against pressure schemes -- 8.4 yards per attempt versus 5+ pass rushers. In this game, he was held to 1.8 per attempt, with an interception.

THE INEXPLICABLE BLOCK: Ryan was beside himself after the game because of a blocked punt that occurred against a one-man rush. Actually, it looked like a two-man rush, but the point remains the same. How does that happen? Here's how: Jeff Cumberland brain locked.

He released too soon from his left-tackle position and never blocked rusher Larry Grant, who had a clear path to P Robert Malone. Tim Tebow, the personal protector, never reacted. It was an embarrassing moment for the Jets' special teams, usually among the most well-schooled in the league.

ODDS AND ENDS: A lot of people blame the Jets' rushing woes on Greene, saying he's not a No. 1 back. But a clever team can scheme up a running game. Even without Gore, the 49ers rushed for 183 yards, with eight others carrying the ball ... Maybe this is a bit harsh, because he got hurt on the play, but Holmes could've demonstrated more regard for the ball instead of tossing it to an opponent when he hit the turf ... This wasn't a good game for C Nick Mangold, who had a holding penalty and allowed a sack.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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