The San Francisco 49ers took a 17-3 lead on the New York Jets on Sunday, and looked like they were all set to run the Jets out of Levi’s Stadium. However, the second half brought more of what we have seen all season long as the 49ers gave up 20 unanswered points en route to a 23-17 loss.
After the game, Chip Kelly took the blame for conservative play-calling. And the Jets seemed plenty happy to take that play-calling and run with it. Head coach Todd Bowles, and defensive lineman Leonard Williams were both asked about adjustments they made in the second half. Bowles first was asked what the defense did to hold Colin Kaepernick to four passing yards in the second half,
“Well, we didn’t do much. We stopped the run. You know, we thought if we could make him pass on third down we could try to get after him a little bit, and we got some pressure on third down.”
Williams was asked about halftime adjustments. Carlos Hyde had 141 rushing yards on seven carries in the first half, and was held to 52 yards on ten carries in the second half. The offense as a whole went into a shell, and that made it easy on Williams and the Jets:
“We didn’t really make any adjustments. What we really had to do was just stop the run, so we can start pass rushing. In the second half we did a little bit better at stopping the run so that we can get some third down situations and start sacking the quarterback. It was just a matter of finishing. That is what we did in the second half.”
I’d like to think the Jets defense made some kind of adjustment at halftime, but it is entirely possible Bowles just told them to get their heads out of their [site decorum] and start tackling people.
We don’t know what happened in the locker room at halftime, but one difference we did start to see is more blitzing. I’ll need to go back and look, but it seems like Kaepernick’s success went away once the Jets started bringing more pass rushers at him. He was 7-of-7 for 95 yards to start the game, and it fell apart from there. I don’t know if that was quite a “halftime adjustment,” or something in the second quarter, but there was definitely an adjustment at some point.