Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do you care about the Jet's Safety against the Patriots? (2012)

If you care about the safety that resulted from Sanchez's failure to handoff to Shonn Greene, I will tell you exactly what happened. The announcers, during the game, misanalyzed this play badly, and I can't bear to let their explanation stand.

The ball fell loose when Sanchez tried to hand it off to Greene. But Sanchez did not mishandle the ball.

NFL handoffs are carefully planned. The quarterback extends his hand to give the ball to the runner at a specific spot, at a specific moment. It was obvious to everyone that this play was messed up by the defensive player Wilberforce, who bulled his way into the Jets' backfield. In fact, if you look at the replays, you will see that Wilberforce, and the Jet trying to block him,  were standing exactly where Greene was going, to receive the handoff. Greene could not bear to run into these two men; if he had, there would probably have been a fumble anyway. You can see Greene change direction, darting just a little closer to Sanchez. He was aiming for daylight, to the right of the Jets blocker. Had he been able to run there, he might have gotten away from Wilberforce.

However, Greene's change of direction meant that he was closer to Sanchez than expected. Sanchez was reaching past him, and a fumble resulted.

I would like to have a quarterback who could think incredibly fast in these situations. Sanchez should not have handed the ball off at all. And perhaps Greene should have done something else, as well. But you can credit Wilberforce for this fumble, by occupying the spot at which the handoff was to occur.

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