Breaking down the data: Jets vs. Panthers

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Numbers and pictures from the Panthers victory over the Jets

It was an interesting game, one that saw the Panthers run a reverse from a read option play, a statue of liberty of play, score on a pick-six, and block a punt for the first time in three seasons. Last Sunday was also the first time all season that the Panthers had won a game in which they were out-rushed.

Carolina put up 30 points on the Jets, but it wasn't the offense's day. Two of the Panthers three touchdowns came from a Captain Munnerlyn pick-six and the field position of Jason Williams' blocked punt.

The Numbers

The Panthers normalized their personnel usage, regressing towards the mean. While there was the usual favor for 11 personnel, Carolina utilized a lot more multi-TE sets. Ben Hartsock saw extended periods of action. One of the other major players, as one would expect, most of the plays ran from 22 personnel occurred late in the fourth quarter as the Panthers ran out the clock. Play-calling from 11 personnel was also much more balanced than normal, the end of half two-minute drill exacerbating the divide between run and pass.

Personnel Runs Passes Total
11 5 16 21 (34%)
12 7 5 12 (19%)
21 5 3 8 (13%)
22 10 2 12 (19%)
23 3 0 3 (5%)
14 0 1 1 (2%)
01 0 2 2 (3%)

Personnel 1st half 2nd half
11 pass 11 5
11 run 2 3
12 pass 2 3
12 run 4 3
21 pass 2 1
21 run 5 0
22 pass 1 1
22 run 1 9
23 run 1 2
14 pass 1 0
01 pass 2 0

The read option was again largely ignored, totaling just three carries for a meager 8-yards. I think, in part, its struggles may be linked with a lack of usage. Perhaps, especially so in the last two weeks, the coaches are loathsome to probe a 3-4 front. The more inventive plays, also being the more successful read option plays, have been sheltered by the offensive coaching staff.

On defense Carolina played a solid game blemished by a couple of big plays; a Chris Ivory 35-yard run brought about by a New York motion causing Chase Blackburn to screen Luke Kuechly, and a Geno Smith 35-yard pass where Kuechly over-pursued the tight end.

The Jets were fairly shrewd in their selection of running plays, calling plenty of runs from lighter personnel groups and spread formations against the Panthers nickel defense.

Front 1st half 2nd half Total
4-3 11 8 19
4-2-5 16 23 39

Like last week, Carolina ran a lot of man coverage, much more so in the first half this week.

Front & Coverage 1st half 2nd half Total
4-3 Man 3 1 4
4-3 Zone 1 4 5
4-2-5 Man 4 3 7
4-2-5 Zone 6 14 20

As the Jets started airing it out in the fourth quarter, Carolina used a lot more nickel zone coverages.

The offense struggled in the red zone against the Jets, scoring one touchdown on five red zone possessions. This has been part of a developing trend that is very concerning for the Panthers. In the last three weeks Carolina has converted just 33%, four of 12, red zone possessions into touchdowns. The Jets were able to hang around into the fourth quarter because the Panthers had to settle for field goals. When competing against a playoff caliber offense Carolina will need to score touchdowns.

A lot of Carolina's struggles in the red zone stem back to Cam Newton's inconsistencies as a red zone passer.

Rz1_medium

Newton's target on this play is Greg Olsen on the corner route to the pylon. At 6'5" 255 lbs. Olsen is a very tough matchup in this part of the field.

Rz2_medium

To start, Newton shuffles through his three-step drop demonstrating poor footwork. The quarterback has a clean pocket to step into and set his feet, but he passes it up.

Rz3_medium

Cyclicly, because Newton doesn't take a hitch-step, he never squares his shoulders to his target. Cam should have his shoulder blades pointed towards his intended target.

Rz4_medium

Without aiming the pass, or setting his feet, Newton doesn't have very much control on the ball's trajectory as he releases the pass.

Rz5_medium

As a result, Newton's pass lands in the first row of the cameramen, several yards out of the end zone.

Instead of kicking an extra point, Graham Gano trots onto the field for the 22-yard field goal.

It's nice to want tall, burly 'red zone weapons' for Cam, but a lot of Carolina's red zone passing woes can be mended as Newton improves the consistency of his mechanics in the red zone.

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