Anatomy of a Play  

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Jets stay true to philosophy on Favre pick to seal win

  • By Greg Smith NFL Films
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It was not a good week for Brett Favre. Let's just leave it at that.

I'll spend the remainder of the column giving credit to the New York Jets' defensive coaching staff and players for closing out last Monday night's 29-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.


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The Jets held a 22-20 lead with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining, as the Vikings faced third-and-5 from their own 21-yard line. Minnesota was 50 yards away from a game-winning field goal opportunity, and the key for the Vikings on this third down was moving the chains.

Minnesota sent two receivers to either side, with Randy Moss and Percy Harvin stacked left, and Visanthe Shiancoe and Greg Lewis stacked right. Favre was in the shotgun with Adrian Peterson to his right.

New York stayed true to Rex Ryan's philosophy and blitzed, remaining aggressive in a situation where many defenses would soften.

"Most teams play coverage in that situation. We wanted to put pressure on Favre to get the ball out of his hand quickly", Ryan said. "D-Lo did a great job of breaking on it and taking it to the house."

"D-Lo" is Jets safety Dwight Lowery, who personified coach Ryan's aggressive mentality on the game's critical third-down play.

Lowery and cornerback Kyle Wilson played in-and-out, man-to-man coverage on Shiancoe and Lewis. When playing in-and-out coverage, defenders are responsible for guarding receivers based on releases. Lowery was responsible for the receiver who first released inside and Wilson would cover the receiver who first released outside.

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Shiancoe was running an "arrow" route, as Favre called it, first pressing inside and then breaking to the outside at first-down depth. Because he first released inside, Shiancoe became Lowery's man-to-man responsibility.

Lowery said during film study of Minnesota he had noticed a formational and situational tendency that tipped him off to the arrow route.

As soon as Shiancoe slowed to make his break, "D-Lo" attacked. His aggressive coverage meshed perfectly with the Jets' pressure, and the quick throw by Favre went directly to Lowery, who returned the interception 26 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

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