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Jets Q&A: Why did they pass up throwing early?

Joe Flacco #5 of the Jets walks off

Joe Flacco #5 of the Jets walks off the field after the Jets 34-28 to the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on November 22, 2020 in Inglewood, California. Credit: Getty Images/Katelyn Mulcahy

Where was the passing game in the first half?

It was nonexistent, and that was somewhat by design.

Joe Flacco said the Jets wanted to run the ball to keep Chargers pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram from wrecking the game.

Flacco threw only eight passes in the first half and completed three of them — two to Ty Johnson and one to Chris Herndon. Incredibly, the three starting receivers whom Adam Gase constantly talks about — Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims — didn’t have a catch. They were targeted only twice.

"That wasn’t obviously planned," Gase said. "There were some plays that were called to those guys. Ball didn’t go there."

It did in the second half, though. Flacco started taking shots and his receivers made plays. Mims caught three passes for 71 yards, Perriman two for 59 (including a 49-yard touchdown) and Crowder one for 16 yards. The Jets put pressure on the Chargers’ defense and picked up a few pass-interference penalties.

"We felt like we really had to run the ball early," Flacco said. "They’re a defense that spot drops. We felt we could take some underneath guaranteed completions early in the game. That didn’t happen. In the second half, we made the decision to attack them and start to make it happen for ourselves."

It proved to be too late.

Who called the plays?

It looked as if Gase took back the play-calling from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains after halftime, but Gase said that wasn’t the case. He said Loggains tells him the play and he gives it to the quarterback. Gase said that is the way they’ve been doing it in the three games in which Loggains has called plays.

"I help on some of the third-down stuff and two-minute stuff," Gase said. "When I get involved in the two-minute stuff, for me to have the communication, it just goes quicker."

Why did the Jets go back to kicker Sam Ficken?

Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer had said Ficken would be the kicker when he returned from a groin injury that wound up costing him three games. Ficken wasn’t sharp, though, going 2-for-4 on extra-point attempts.

Sergio Castillo performed well when Ficken was out. He made all four of his extra-point tries and was 6-for-7 on field- goal attempts.

"I was a little surprised that [Ficken] missed those," Gase said. "He looked fine in practice. He went through all of the evaluations that we thought we should go through. We felt like that was who we were going to go to if he was healthy."

Who got hurt?

Left tackle Mekhi Becton left and had his knee checked but finished the game. Running back La’Mical Perine (ankle), right tackle George Fant (knee, ankle) and offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (ankle) didn’t finish the game. Fant’s injury appeared to be the most serious and he will have an MRI on Monday. 

New York Sports