The Jets beat the Dolphins, in a bittersweet victory. On Sunday, the Jets pulled out the walk-off win with a Sam Ficken field goal as time expired. The game was ugly and featured 10 field goals, seven from Miami. The Jets’ defense allowed yards but not points. Ex-Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick had an impressive day rushing, but could not find the end zone. Sam Darnold and the offense struggled mightily in the second half. The game was decided by a controversial penalty, which moved the Jets into field goal range. Ultimately, the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention because of wins by the Titans and Steelers.
Bend But Not Break Defense
The banged-up Jets were without star safety Jamal Adams and Brian Poole in the secondary. Surprisingly, the Jets’ defense allowed ageless wonder, Ryan Fitzpatrick, to run for 65 yards, including 50 in the first half. The Dolphins as a team ran for 122 yards, which dropped the Jets’ rush defense to second-best in the league behind the Bucs. Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins downfield, getting inside the Jets’ 10-yard line three times in the first half. However, the Jets’ defense held strong, forcing the Dolphins to kick field goals each time. At halftime, the Jets led 16-9.
Seamlessly, the trend continued in the second half. The Dolphins got down to the 9-yard line after a 38-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Blessuan Austin. Yet, the Jets held the Dolphins to another red-zone field goal. In total, the Dolphins ran 18 plays in the red zone, of which only two gained 5 or more yards. Incredibly, Miami was able to get to the red zone on six possessions and did not score a single touchdown. As a result, Dolphins’ kicker Jason Sanders set a franchise record with seven field goals.
In last week’s loss in Cincinnati, the Jets’ offense underperformed against the worst rush defense in the league. This week against Miami, the Jets got to play the worst scoring defense in the league. Additionally, the Dolphins have the worst pass defense in the NFL, when adjusted for opponents. Despite the Dolphins’ weaknesses on defense, the Jets did not score in the first or third quarters.
However, in the second quarter, Darnold led a 10-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson. The Jets were able to score again late in the first half, on a miraculous touchdown catch by Demaryius Thomas. Called incomplete on the field, the referees overturned the play, after a review. This would go on to the be last Jets’ touchdown for the day, as they settled for only two field goals in the second half.
Sadly, the Jets were without Pro-Bowler Le’veon Bell and it showed. In the second half, the Jets ran 16 rushing plays, which resulted in only one first down. Back-up Bilal Powell led the Jets with 74 rushing yards. But, Powell only had three rushes for four yards or more in the second half.
The biggest decision of the game came late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was not made by either team but by the referees. Darnold faced with a third-and-18 at the Miami 46-yard line, with only 47 seconds left in the game, down 21-19. On an incomplete short pass attempt to Vyncint Smith, there was a booth review, as to whether or not a defensive pass interference took place. The referees reviewed the play and called the penalty on Dolphins’ rookie Nik Needham. The Jets’ went from a potential fourth-and-18 to a first and ten. After a 12 yard gain, the Jets were able to set up Sam Ficken to kick the game-winning 44-yard field goal. After the Jets beat the Dolphins, it was clear that Miami head coach Brian Flores was not happy with the call.
To summarize, the Jets’ defense played well given that they were missing some of their key players. The Dolphins were able to get into the red zone six times, where they were held to field goals. The Jets’ offense did what they needed to put points on the board. The offensive line played much better after last week, allowing only one sack and committing no penalties. Although the Jets beat the Dolphins, wins by the Titans and the Steelers put a close to the Jets’ playoff dreams.
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