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Other Week 15 Game Recaps

Week 15 Game Recap: New York Jets 19, New Orleans Saints 31

What you need to know

New York Jets

Many were expecting the New York Jets to get blown out, but that didn't happen. In fact, New York was within one score late in the game. Its defense, however, yielded numerous big plays to New Orleans' talented backfield duo that kept the game just out of reach. Given the circumstances, Bryce Petty played well. He didn't take any sacks, limited turnovers, and threw a late touchdown pass to Elijah McGuire. Robby Anderson saw a team-high 12 targets as he and Petty picked up where they left off from last season. When he wasn't peppering Anderson with targets, Petty leaned on his rushing attack, which averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Two running backs, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, scored New York's touchdowns.

New Orleans Saints

Despite what the final score looks like, the Saints and Jets played a tightly contested ball game that the Saints needed to keep pace with the Carolina Panthers in a tough NFC South division. The score looks a little more lopsided after Mark Ingram tacked on a long garbage time touchdown at the end of the game to seal the Saints victory. The defense was really put to the test this week after the offense turned the ball over 3 times and had 2 touchdowns overturned by replay. Michael Thomas could have had a huge game, but had 2 touchdown catches overturned by replay. The defense really stepped up with 2 interceptions of Bryce Petty and limited every Jet running back to under 50 yards rushing. The Saints close the season with 2 divisional matchups against the Falcons and Buccaneers. A win against the Falcons next week would knock Atlanta out of the division title contention.

New York Jets

QB Bryce Petty, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 39 - 179 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0
All things considered, Bryce Petty played well. He executed a conservative game plan by leaning on his rushing attack and making easy throws to his running backs and wide receivers. All of his reads were defined and the route concepts were fairly basic. New Orleans challenged him with third down pressure-and he handled it well by standing in and delivering the ball. Petty threw one interception, but it was a good throw that ricocheted off his receiver's body. Petty's two favorite targets were Robby Anderson and Elijah McGuire. Anderson, who saw a game-high 12 targets, locked horns with talented rookie corner, Marshon Lattimore. Petty gave Anderson opportunities to win-and the talented young receiver made plays. McGuire made two big plays, a 38-yard catch-and-run on a crossing route, and a 2-yard touchdown on a pylon route. While the big plays were encouraging, the game plan was very conservative. Petty played well enough to earn another start, but fans will want to see Christian Hackenburg at some point.

RB Bilal Powell, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 44 - 1 (1 targets)
Bilal Powell ran with patience and intensity against New Orleans' front seven. Powell capped off a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with 2-yard touchdown run off left tackle. A toss sweep was called, Powell stiff-armed Vonn Bell in the backfield, and broke into the end zone. Prior to the touchdown plunge, Powell had runs of 6, 2, and 11 to put his team in the red zone.

RB Matt Forte, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 24 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (5 targets)
Alike McGuire, Forte also made his triumphant return to his home state. However, unlike McGuire, Forte failed to make an impact. He was quickly bottled up for short gains and didn't make an impact as a receiver.

RB Elijah McGuire, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 24 - 0, Rec: 3 - 48 - 1 (3 targets)
The Louisiana-Lafayette product made a triumphant return to his home state. McGuire was mixed in with Powell and Forte-and made two big plays. In the third quarter, McGuire ran a shallow crossing route, caught the pass, turned up field and ran into daylight for a 38-yard gain. In the fourth quarter, McGuire ran a quick pylon route, caught the pass and ran untouched for a 2-yard touchdown. McGuire has shined-and deserves more carries over the final two games.

WR Robby Anderson, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (12 targets)
Despite being matched up against talented rookie corner, Marshon Lattimore, Anderson was peppered with a team-high 12 targets. He ran his normal route tree, which features short-to-intermediate crossing routes and was the defined first read on the majority of his routes. Lattimore was physical with Anderson at the line of scrimmage, but the talented young receiver worked through him. He had a long grab of 15 yards on a sideline route.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)
Kearse was the second option behind Anderson. Kearse worked the short areas of the field and did his damage on short crossing routes and screen passes. He had a long gain of 12 yards on a catch-and-run on a shallow crosser.

WR Chad Hansen, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)
The rookie wide receiver was deployed in the slot on three wide sets. He had a long gain of 24 yards on a deep post route.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
Another week, another forgetful performance. The big tight end had a long gain of 9 yards on a comeback route.

New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 36 - 285 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
Brees could have had a 300+ yard and 4 touchdown day if a few things had gone his way, but rather settled for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns. There were 2 Michael Thomas touchdowns overturned by replay. The first had the second-year wide receiver ruled down at the 1-yard line rather than scoring the touchdown and the second confirmed that he stepped out of the back of the end zone before getting his second foot down. Brees later rectified the 2 lost touchdowns with a 4-yard strike to Thomas and a 10-yard catch and run by Alvin Kamara. Brees' lone interception came on a pass tipped by Brandon Coleman. This just added to the terrible day by Coleman as he also lost 2 fumbles. Brees kept his cool throughout the game and made sure the Saints were in a position to win at the end. Brees really favored his top 3 targets in Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara with 24 of his 36 attempts going to those 3 players. There is no time to rest for the Saints as Carolina beat Green Bay and Brees will have to outduel Matt Ryan next week to stay atop the NFC South.

RB Alvin Kamara, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 44 - 0, Rec: 6 - 45 - 1 (7 targets)
After suffering a concussion last week and having to exit the game, Kamara cleared protocol and was back to splitting time in the Saints backfield this week. It was interesting to hear that the coaching staff went back to look at old film of Reggie Bush to find ways to best use Kamara in the Saints offense. The rookie running back had 1 more touch than Ingram but did not rip off the same big plays that he did. Kamara did add a 10-yard catch and run touchdown, but only managed a 12-yard rush as his long and 29 of his 45 receiving yards came on a single play. The touch distribution shows the coaching staff's trust in Kamara and their belief that he is totally healthy. The Saints have a two-headed rushing attack that will be difficult to stop for any team in the playoffs.

RB Mark Ingram, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 74 - 2, Rec: 5 - 77 - 0 (6 targets)
Ingram was having a subpar day in the rushing department until the final Saints drive of the game when he ripped off a 50-yard rush off the right tackle for a touchdown. He simply outran every defender who had stacked the box to stop the run up the middle. Ingram was barely touched on his way to his second touchdown of the day. His first touchdown was a power run right up the middle from the 1-yard line. Ingram also played a bigger role than usual in the passing game and managed more yards than Alvin Kamara for the first time since the beginning of the season. With 151 total yards and 2 touchdowns, Ingram effectively retook control of the Saints backfield. It is interesting to note that Ingram and Kamara both had 12 rushing attempts, but Ingram had the big 50-yard rush to pull away. On top of that, he added a 54-yard reception. This also tells a story of how 2/3 of his yards came on two big plays. It will be interesting to see if the touch distribution is as close next week against Atlanta.

WR Michael Thomas, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 93 - 1 (11 targets)
Thomas managed 9 catches for just under 100 yards and a touchdown. Normally that would be an amazing week for any player, but Thomas could have done so much more damage. He had one touchdown overturned when the replay official ruled he was down at the 1-yard line rather than rolling into the end zone and then had a 20-yard touchdown catch taken away when his second foot came down just out of the back of the end zone. This was still a very productive game by any receiver's standards and he rectified the touchdown issue later in the game with a 4-yard reception. Thomas caught the ball 2 yards short of the end zone, made a move and walked across the goal line for a touchdown. Thomas was clearly unhappy after the second touchdown was overturned, but got to feel some redemption on his third touchdown attempt.

WR Brandon Coleman, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (5 targets)
Normally a player does something really good to make this recap list, but this week Coleman is added for causing 3 turnovers by himself. The Saints offense could have easily put the Jets away early and cruised to a victory, but Coleman decided he wanted to make the game closer. Coleman fumbled and lost the ball twice, and had a Drew Brees pass tip off his hands for an interception. Despite the poor play, Coleman still ranked 4th in targets this week and figures to play a big role as long as Ted Ginn is out.