Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Five plays that shaped the game: Week 3
By Rich Cimini
A look back at the most impactful plays in the Jets' ugly/lucky OT win over the Dolphins:
1. LaRon's LaScore: After a lifeless first half, S LaRon Landry energized the Jets with the first touchdown of his career -- an 18-yard interception return. Landry, their defensive MVP after three games, did a terrific job of reading Ryan Tannehill. The rookie QB drifted to his right and stared down TE Anthony Fasano, who was open along the sideline. Landry dropped into a deep-half zone and broke toward Fasano. Instead of going for his customary kill shot, Landry played the ball and sprinted into the end zone to make it 10-10 at the start of the third quarter.
2. The Blitz Beater: QB Mark Sanchez had a hunch the Dolphins would send an all-out blitz in criticial situations, and he was right. Down four points late in the fourth quarter, on a third-and-1 from the Dolphins' 7-yard-line, Sanchez hit WR Jeremy Kerley for a go-ahead touchdown. The Dolphins rushed eight players, leaving the cornerbacks and S Jimmy Wilson in man-to-man coverage. Sanchez fired a seeing-eye pass that somehow got between the outstretched hands of LB Karlos Dansby and DT Randy Starks. Kerley, in the slot, ran a quick slant on Wilson, shedding at tackle at the 1 for the score.
3. The Miss: Going into the game, the Jets' opponents had made 31 of 32 field-goal attempts against them, dating to the start of last season. In one afternoon, the Dolphins missed twice, including Dan Carpenter's miss from 48 yards on their first possession of overtime. Carpenter, kicking from the right hashmark, went wide left, just as he did earlier from 47 yards. The Jets got an good inside rush, with OT Austin Howard -- 6-foot-7 -- getting his left arm way up. If Carpenter had kicked it straight, it might have been blocked by Howard.
4. Atone Time: On the second possession of OT, Sanchez hit WR Santonio Holmes for 38 yards, setting up Nick Folk's game-winning field goal. Everything about this play was perfect: RB Shonn Greene stoned the blitzing Dansby. Holmes beat bump-and-run coverage by using his right arm to club CB Richard Marshall, who was flagged for holding. Sanchez lofted a perfect pass, actually releasing it before Holmes looked back. The Jets ran 79 offensive plays in the game, and this was one of the few that actually worked.
5. The Timeout: The Jets are a lucky team, and Kenrick Ellis is a lucky man. If Dolphins coach Joe Philbin hadn't called timeout a split-second before Folk's first try, which was blocked by Starks, the goat of the game would've been Ellis. He was the left guard in the FG unit, and the 346-pound lineman got knocked on his rear end as Starks exploded between him and long snapper Tanner Purdum. Perhaps Ellis let up upon hearing the whistle for the timeout. In a radio interview Monday night, Folk said some players eased up, knowing it didn't count. It' s hard to figure why coaches wait until the last possible moment before calling timeout to ice the kicker; all it does is give the kicker a practice swing, so to speak. On the actual game winner, Ellis did a good job on Starks.