Geno Smith did a lot of coming of age Monday night, playing a clean, zero turnover game, leading the Jets to a come from behind win over the Falcons, 30-28. Geno showed poise and maturity, which were beyond his years.
Let’s look at the performance, courtesy of our friends from Pro Football Focus:
First of all, his overall numbers were huge. 16-20, 199 yards passing and three touchdowns. Yes, the yardage wasn’t high, but he was accurate. The West Coast offense doesn’t need someone to throw for 400 yards every week, it needs someone to be accurate. 80% completion rate would qualify.
He also posted an NFL QB rating of 147.7. You cannot get much better than that.
The charting of Geno’s passes reveals that he was most accurate over the middle of the field, 11-12 for 167 yards and two touchdowns. His touch on the deep ball was evident, as he went 2-2 down the middle over 20 yards, racking up 67 yards and the one score to Jeff Cumberland.
The exciting part was Smith’s accuracy on the short to intermediate routes, (zero to twenty yards), going 14-17 for 132 passing yards and two touchdowns. As we have talked about many times before, the hallmark of the West Coast offense is the short to intermediate passing game. The fact that Geno’s accuracy is improving in this area is exactly what this team needs to succeed.
The Jets didn’t do as much work outside the numbers, going 5-7 for 42 yards and one touchdown. He missed on one deep ball, outside the numbers, which is uncharacteristic. We can let that go, however, in an otherwise terrific performance.
Now, how did Geno Smith perform under pressure? He was never hit as he threw, which is a testament to the performance of the offensive line as well as Geno. He also dropped back eight times with a blitz coming, yet only one of his four sacks occurred, which again puts credit on both the line for giving him time, as well as Geno for getting the ball out.
Geno Smith’s accuracy stayed high, whether he was under pressure or not. Whether he was blitzed or not, under pressure or not, Geno kept his completion percentage above 50%. Only under pressure did it drop a bit. Geno dropped back 13 times under pressure, and completed 57% of his passes. In all other scenarios, he never completed less than 70%, which is proof of his vastly improving accuracy.
The only black mark, the only element of the game that Geno needs to work on is his pocket awareness, and it shows in the numbers. Three out of the four sacks that Geno took Monday night, occurred when the Falcons were NOT blitzing. The sacks occurred on a basic rush. That means that the line does a good initial job, but Geno holds the ball too long.
There was one sack in particular, when Smith took a sack coming from his back side, and he didn’t feel the pressure coming. He has to feel that pressure, step up, throw it or run. Get it out, or get out. He has to improve there to make that next step as an NFL quarterback.
All in all, Geno Smith played the game of his young career to date. The numbers were great, he just still has work to do.