Saturday, January 15, 2011
Jets need secondary pressure vs Brady
A statistical preview of Sunday’s Divisional playoff game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.
In the teams’ Week 2 matchup, Patriots QB Tom Brady was 10-for-18 with an interception when the Jets blitzed a member of the secondary, but in Week 13, Brady went 7-for-10 with two touchdowns. Brady completed 50 percent of his attempts in 2009 when the Jets rushed a member of the secondary with no touchdowns and one interception.
Pass pressure from the secondary will be the key Sunday. The Jets have sent a defensive back after the quarterback on 32.3 percent of opponents’ pass plays this season (including playoffs), the highest rate in the NFL and more than double the league average.
In their Week 2 win, the Jets sent a defensive back at the quarterback on 48.6 percent of New England’s pass plays, but in their Week 13 blowout loss, they used secondary pressure only 40.6 percent of the time.
The Jets are coming off of their lowest DB-blitz total of the season, sending a member of the secondary on just 14.8 percent of Peyton Manning’s dropbacks. In the 2009 AFC Championship Game against the Colts, Ryan and the Jets blitzed a DB on 58.5 percent of Manning’s dropbacks.
Last week’s wild card game was only the third time this season and fifth time under Ryan that the Jets didn’t blitz a defensive back on 20 percent of an opponent’s dropbacks.
Brady has benefited greatly from his two rookie tight ends this season. When Brady throws to Rob Gronkowski, he has the highest passer rating in the league when targeting a single receiver (143.3), just ahead of Philip Rivers-to-Antonio Gates. His 130.6 passer rating when targeting Aaron Hernandez is fifth-highest (minimum 50 attempts).
Mark Sanchez is likely to see a lot of standard pass rush -- four or fewer pass rushers -- from the Patriots this week.
Sanchez went 13-for-16 with two touchdowns when New England rushed five or more this season, and in Week 13, Sanchez couldn’t navigate the Patriots’ standard rush the way he did in Week 2.
When the Jets run the ball, look for them to attack the Patriots’ defense to the right. Of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene’s 49 rush attempts against the Patriots this season, 26 came up the middle.
Both found moderate success there, but they picked up big chunks of yards to the right side. Tomlinson and Greene combined for five first downs on 14 rushes to the right against the Patriots, just as many firsts as they got up the middle.
Tomlinson averaged 12.6 yards per rush to the right against New England this season, more than three times better than in any other direction.