Inside the New York Jets Film Room: The Run Defense


The New York Jets entered the game against the San Diego Chargers as the number one defense in the NFL against the run. No matter how well, or poorly, the Jets played as a team, you could count on them being stout against the run. Prior to the Chargers game, the Jets had not allowed a running back to rush for more than 46 yards rushing.

So how did Branden Oliver, a fourth string running back, rush for 114 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown? How did the league leading New York Jets get gashed for 162 yards on the ground? Here’s why.

The Jets defense decided to forget how to do the one essential element to stopping the run. They forgot how to tackle.

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Read on for some screenshots to illustrate what I mean.

First, the big 52 yard run by Braden Oliver:

David Harris has a chance to stop Oliver before the gain reaches more than just a few yards. But take a look at Harris’ technique. Can you see how he is extending only one arm? Very uncharacteristic of David.

Harris is easily pushed off by Oliver, and down the field he runs.

Later in the same run:

Dee Milliner, who played well overall, had his shot to hold the gain far below 52 yards. In the picture is his chance to bring Oliver down. Again, however, Milliner only uses one arm.

Oliver easily throws Milliner’s arm away, and it is off to the races.

Some run defense, and this was far from the only instance.

We go back to early in the game, to a run that didn’t even involve Oliver, it involved Donald Brown. He took a Rivers handoff around left end for 13 yards, but it too could have been stopped.

Early in the play, Calvin Pace makes a great move to meet Brown in the backfield. However, instead of simply tackling through the body, Pace tries to take him down high. Going high is never going to work.

Brown easily pushes Calvin Pace away, and onward he takes it down the field on the Jets run defense.

Next, Dawan Landry meets Brown, with the chance to hold Brown to a modest gain. But, Landry also goes too high.

Brown pushes Landry away and converts the play to a first down.

This went on all day to the Jets run defense. The Chargers were able to run the ball on the Jets defense whenever they wanted to. The numbers told the story. Branden Oliver ran for 114 yards, 73 of them after first contact. The run defense was not able to bring anyone down all day.

If you can’t tackle, you can’t win. And it is scary, when the best part of your team goes down the bowl. It makes you wonder what could happen next.