What the Jets were saying about the red-zone inefficiencies

The story of the New York Jets’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday was all about the red zone. The Vikings were able to finish drives, the Jets were not. Plain and simple.

The Vikings were 3/3 in their trips to the red zone. The Jets went 1/6. That was the worst red-zone performance for the Jets with at least six red-zone chances since Week 3 of the 2014 season against the Bears.

The Jets got a little too cute and a little too soft at times when they got inside the 20 and it caused them to settle for a little too many field goals. Credit Greg Zuerlein for nailing all five of his attempts, including setting a franchise record with a 60-yard field goal just before halftime, but that strategy won’t win a team a lot of football games, even one with a defense as strong as the Jets. Robert Saleh said so himself.

“They were three-for-three and one-for-six, or one and one-of-three in goal to go situations. Can’t win the game just kicking field goals.”

Quarterback Mike White, who had another strong performance and helped give the Jets a chance to win the game despite the red-zone inefficiencies, also believes those missed opportunities changed the complexion of the game, and he starts the blame by pointing the finger at himself.

“My job as a quarterback is put our team in the best position, and that’s scoring in the red zone,” White said after the game. “So starts with me. You gotta figure out how to put the ball in the end zone and if we can do that you can win games.”

White also gave some insight on the last play, the dropped pass by Braxton Berrios (via post-game transcript):

What did you see on that last play?

The last play we were trying to get all eligibles into the end zone. They essentially took Garrett (Wilson) away in the boundary. Harrison Smith was waiting on Elijah (Moore), and the safety just drove on Corey (Davis). We thought at the time he was our best option, felt the rush on me, so I didn’t want to finish up with the ball in my hand. Just wanted to give our guy an opportunity and see what was going to happen.

Mike, what about the throw to Braxton?

Right. It’s actually a credit to Braxton. It’s not the route the play called for. It was a break in and then back out, but he kind of saw the opening, and that’s just how he plays football. He sees things differently than others, and I was on the same page with him. And we just couldn’t connect.

So was that like an option route?

No. He goes to the angle and then comes in, then breaks back out. And he just saw the linebacker playing so heavy outside on him and he just saw the space. And luckily he did because that was really the only option we had. They sat on our out route. They sat on (Tyler) Conklin in the corner, and that was the soft spot in the defense. Tons of credit to him for finding it. We just gotta — I gotta figure out how to put that ball a tad more in front of him and let him securely make the catch instead of making a tough catch.

Credit White for not throwing Berrios under the bus, but it is still certainly a catch Berrios could have made.

Speaking of Berrios, he was also asked about the red-zone issues after the game. “It was one of those games,” Berrios said. “Whatever plan they [Vikings] had, it was good, and it was really sound, and they executed in the red zone a little bit better than we did throughout the game. We fought. Obviously, it was another one of those dog fight games, and we scratched some claw back. We really had an opportunity there at the end.”

Berrios also believed he had a shot at catching that last pass and should have caught that final pass.

“That’s on me. It’s fourth down. He has everything in his face, the rush coming, and he’s seeing bodies falling everywhere. He put it where it should’ve gone and so that one is on me.”

All that being said, while the focus will undoubtedly start with that play, the overarching story is the Jets missed five chances to come away with at least six points on drives. One other thing to keep in mind is the Jets had almost 500 yards of total offense, even with having to play catch-up most of the game.

If the Jets can bring everything together, have their offense click and finish drives, they can score with just about any team in the league. They’ll need that this week in their rematch with the Bills. Or the Jets can just hold the Bills to 17 points again like the first meeting. Either way, the offense could use a big day in Buffalo this week.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire