Jets Shut Down Moss, Welker Early, Then Held on for Dear Life

It's been three days since the Jets traveled 170 miles north to Foxboro to upend the Patriots, but there's still plenty to sift through. The story line coming out of Thursday night was the play of the wily old vet, Brett Favre, but the Jets defense, at least in the first half when New York stormed out to a 24-13 lead, also did a splendid job of shutting down New England's two big-play weapons: Randy Moss and Wes Welker. And head coach Eric Mangini didn't even need to cheat to make it happen.

According to's Bucky Brooks, Mangini employed a scheme that the Patriots used to torment Peyton Manning during the early part of the decade. Brooks writes:

"The Jets unveiled a hybrid 'two-man bracket' coverage in the first half that effectively double-teamed Moss and Welker on passing downs. The scheme ... uses a combination of press coverage and two-deep principles to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the passing game. In the scheme, corners are instructed to aggressively 'press' or jam receivers at the line of scrimmage while taking away all inside releases. They maintain a trail position as the receiver works up the field, and undercut all in- or out-breaking routes. The safeties protect the corners by covering the deep halves of the field to eliminate all deep throws down the sidelines."

And the game plan was nearly flawless over the first 30 minutes; Moss didn't have a catch and Welker caught just two passes. It also explains why Matt Cassel was targeting the Patriots' No. 3 option Jabar Gaffney and tight end Ben Watson.

Of course, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels made the requisite halftime adjustments and the Pats outscored the Jets 18-7 in the final two quarters of regulation. Welker ended the night with more than 100 receiving yards and Moss, who only had three catches, hauled in the all-important game-tying touchdown pass with one second on the clock.

Still, a win, as they say, is a win, and the Jets are now 7-3 and in first place in the division. And even though they couldn't shut down both Welker and Moss for the entire game (and to date, nobody's been able to do that), New York was able to contain them long enough to build an early lead and hold on for dear life. It wasn't pretty, but it counts.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us