Anatomy of a Play: Fine line between stupid and spectacular

The Jets are now the team to beat in the AFC. If you disagree, you should take a look at their last two performances, each an impressive road win over a playoff contender.

In two wins against the 7-4 Patriots and 10-1 Titans, the Jets rushed for 165 yards per game and had a two-to-one edge in time of possession.

Even more impressive was quarterback Brett Favre connecting on 51 of 65 passes for a 78.5 completion percentage. He only threw one interception.

Anatomy of a Play

More Anatomy of a Play:
» Slowing down Cards' passing game

The secret was Favre's patience and efficiency with the quick passing game. He has been getting the ball out of his hands after short three-step and five-step drops, hitting more slants, hitches, flats, screens, and fades. New York has been running fewer deep and intermediate routes (ie: digs, comebacks, posts, flags, etc) and it's benefited Favre, the offensive line, and consequently the entire team.

But our Anatomy of a Play segment doesn't feature Favre's new-found patience or the Jets' dink-and-dunk approach.

This week we salute the Favre we all know and love. The man who has a passion for the game that burns so strong it's kept him from missing one for 17 years. The guy who is willing to take a risk. The kid in all of us. The boy in the backyard.

That's right. Despite all of the maturity he has shown, Favre had a "gunslinger" moment last weekend that ranks right up there with his all-time greatest "gunslinger" moments.

It was nice to see he hadn't lost it.

The Jets had a 13-3 lead late in the third quarter and it was third-and-goal from the Titans' 2-yard line. The key for New York, in this situation, was to not turn the ball over. Jets players might've been thinking it, the coaches were likely thinking it, and the fans were definitely thinking it:

Brett, please, please, please, don't do anything stupid.

With Favre, there's always been a fine line between stupid and spectacular. But if you eliminate one then you lose the other, creating just another average quarterback -- and what kind of team wants to follow an average quarterback?

The Jets would've been perfectly happy in this situation for an average play. They called for another quick, three-step drop. The ball would go to tight end Dustin Keller on a short hitch route two yards deep in the end zone.

If it's not there, throw it away!

After the snap, Titans safety Chris Hope latched onto Keller's back as soon as Keller reached his landmark.

Favre realized Keller was covered. But, instead of throwing it away, he pumped the ball hard and fast toward Keller. Then Favre spun back to his right and moved in the other direction.

No! What is he doing?!?

Favre wasted no time in locating his backside intermediate route -- Laveranues Coles' dig, running along the back of the end zone from right to left.

Three defenders were converging on Coles. Corner Chris Carr was chasing from behind, safety Michael Griffin was hovering in front, and Hope, who was now free to leave Keller, was threatening from the backside. The throw would have to be great.

After the pump fake to Keller, Favre hadn't placed his left hand back on the football to firm up his grip. He also never stopped to set his feet to get leverage on the throw. The pass was late in the down, over the middle, in the red zone.

It was definitely stupid.

Luckily for Favre, the throw was spectacular. It whizzed by the hand of linebacker Keith Bullock and met Coles perfectly in stride between Carr, Griffin, and Hope for the touchdown that virtually sealed the win over the unbeaten Titans.

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