The New York Jets were down four, and despite facing what was a 3rd & 13, Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Quincy Enunwa on a 24-yard strike that put New York inside the 5-yard line. After an incompletion on first down, Fitzpatrick’s touchdown to pass to Eric Decker on second play put the Jets ahead.
In the 2015 season, many teams have run what we know as “rug routes”. This route is basically a two-receiver combination where one receiver gets in the way of both cornerbacks, leaving the other receiver to slide underneath and get the ball in open space. On this play, Byron Jones was the guy the Jets targeted, but it actually wasn’t the rookie who got the play wrong. Let’s dissect that touchdown play to see what went wrong:
At this stage in the field, the Cowboys are trusting their cornerbacks to man up and cover the man opposite them. When Decker goes in motion, the rookie Jones sticks with. But as Decker goes across the middle of the field, Jones notices the routes that will ensue. Look at the next thing Jones does:
Jones starts raising his hands, a sign in the Cowboys’ defense to switch man. Jones is yelling to Carr as he notices that Decker is going to slide underneath Brandon Marshall to get open. What should happen next is Carr should leave his man and switch to focusing on Decker while Jones will take over Carr’s previous responsibility of covering Marshall. Instead, here’s what happened:
As Fitzpatrick hikes the play, Marshall intentionally runs into Jones which frees up Decker from his defender. Because Carr fails to switch to Decker, it leaves for a wide-open touchdown reception for Decker:
While Carr did play well in this game, this was a huge mistake by him. It’s truly unacceptable that a rookie knows what to do on this type of play rather than a guy who has played in Dallas for four seasons now.
Now that Dallas is out of playoff contention, they can focus on what they’re going to do over the offseason. One route the Cowboys might go is designating Carr as a post June 1st cut. Nevertheless, this play shows the boneheadedness of Carr, but also just how well Jones has developed in 2015. There are a ton of uncertainties on this Cowboys’ defense, but one thing that’s for sure is that the Cowboys really found a star in their first-round pick out of UConn.