AFC East

Jets Running Game Overwhelms Broncos Defense

The play-calling looks pretty good when you can run the ball at will, doesn’t it? Similar to their Week-1 win vs. the Lions, the Jets were able to do whatever they wanted on the ground against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, finishing the game with an astounding 323 rushing yards on 38 carries. This included 4 runs of over 35 yards, which is unbelievable against a defense filled with as much talent as the Broncos have.

It was clear that the Jets’ intention was to establish the ground game to take away Denver’s ability to rush the passer. It all started with some great blocks at the point of attack.

All afternoon, the Jets were able to establish and then re-establish the line of scrimmage with punishing double teams. You can see this on Isaiah Crowell’s 77-yard touchdown run below. Watch left tackle Kelvin Beachum and left guard James Carpenter blow Derek Wolfe (#95) off the line of scrimmage.

Slide1

Screen Shot Courtesy of NFL.com Gamepass

Jets 77 yd TD run

Ignore Dan Fouts’ ill-timed squiggly line.

Between Wolfe being driven back into his linebackers’ laps, and the initial inside run action, the Broncos defense was sucked inside and stuck between the tackles. Crowell was able to bounce it outside as a result. He’s got some burst doesn’t he?

The Jets also had a lot of success running inside on Sunday because of a few key elements. First, there were the good double-teams at the point of attack as mentioned above. Second, they showed run-pass-option (RPO) action on several big runs. Below, you can see tight end Eric Tomlinson (#83) and tight end Christopher Herndon (#89) running routes to the left side, pulling linebacker Todd Davis (#51), away from the middle. Fewer 2nd-level defenders and another great double-team, this time by Carpenter and center Spencer Long, sprung Bilal Powell for a nice 15-yard gain.

Jets run 2

In addition to the double-teams and RPO action, the Jets took advantage of Denver’s desire to get to the quarterback off the edge. They kept many of their runs inside, often with their tackles using a pass set to entice Denver’s edge pass rushers upfield.

Keep an eye on right tackle Brandon Shell (#72) and edge rusher Shane Ray (#56) to the right of the screen on the below play.

Slide2

Screen Shot Courtesy of NFL.com Gamepass

Jets Inside Run

Also, notice how this one run play put it all together:

  • A great double team, this time with right guard Brian Winters teaming up with Spencer Long.
  • Winters getting to the 2nd level from the double team to spring Powell.
  • RPO action to the left to pull 2nd-level defenders out of the middle.
  • Pass set by right tackle Brandon Shell to ensure Shane Ray rushed upfield – we saw them get Von Miller with this action a couple of times as well.

The Jets had it all working on the ground on Sunday.

Sam Darnold also made a few nice throws and Robby Anderson twice was able to use his speed to get on top of cornerback Bradley Roby. Anderson ran several really sharp routes on Sunday to create some separation for Darnold.

Still, the story of this game was the Jets’ ability to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball down Denver’s throat. The success on the ground slowed down Denver’s pass rush, giving Darnold more time to throw throughout the day. It also created several huge plays – again, 4 runs of 35+ yards in one game is absolutely absurd.

This is the formula for success for the Jets Offense. Run the ball and allow Darnold to be a complement to the offense. If the Jets can do this consistently and slowly expand what they ask of Darnold, they’ll be in a good place by the end of the season.

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