Trying to sift through the rubble

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
12:26
PM ET
Thoughts and observations on a loss that, in many ways, was more embarrassing than the 45-3 debacle in New England. (Yeah, the 10-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins was that bad.)

• The Jets aren't who they say they are. They've always prided themselves on being a smash-mouth running team and a team built on resilience, capable of amazing comebacks. Those two images were shattered by the Dolphins.

• Instead of talking Xs and Os with Mark Sanchez, maybe Rex Ryan should've done what he half-jokingly said he was going to do -- eat Mexican food. The chalk talk didn't work. Sanchez is in a bad way right now. CBS analyst Dan Fouts, who covered a bunch of Sanchez's college games at USC, said on the telecast, "I've never seen him with his confidence this low."

• After reviewing the tape, RT Wayne Hunter allowed three of the six sacks. He couldn't block Cameron Wake (two sacks). That's a tough assignment for a tackle, even the "best backup tackle in the league," as Ryan recently called Hunter. Thing is, the Jets didn't give Hunter much help, often leaving him on an island. If Damien Woody's knee injury is serious -- and it could be -- the Jets have a major issue at right tackle.

• LG Matt Slauson also allowed a sack (LB Karlos Dansby). Another sack came when Wake applied pressure, bull-rushing LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and Sanchez whiffed on his throw -- one of four fumbles. Ferguson, who actually did a decent job in pass protection on that play, recovered the fumble. Another sack came on a zero-yard scramble by Sanchez.

• Sanchez still shows poor mechanics when attempting to elude pressure. He lowers the ball to his waist, often holding it with one hand as he tries to get away. That makes it easy for defenders to slap it away. Evidently, he needs more time getting slapped around by Mark Brunell's foam baseball bat.

• On their own 6-yard line, the Jets had to burn a defensive timeout because they had only nine players on the field. I suppose they're going to blame that on Jim Leonhard being injured, right?

• On Brandon Marshall's 6-yard TD catch, the Dolphins did a nice job of creating a mismatch. They went to an empty backfield, with FB Patrick Cobbs split out to the right. CB Antonio Cromartie marked him. They put Marshall in the slot, where he was jammed by LB Bart Scott. Marshall recovered from the jam, beat Scott in coverage and found a soft spot in the zone. The Jets, dropping eight into coverage, had it covered across the board -- except for the Marshall opening. And Chad Henne, proving the blind squirrel-acorn theory, found Marshall.

• Let's be honest: LaDainian Tomlinson is an all-time great, but he's nowhere near the runner he was early in the season. He didn't have a lot of daylight, but there were a couple of cracks that he failed to hit.

• The Dolphins played eight-man fronts and did a lot of run blitzing, but the Jets kept running on first down -- 18 of their first 26 plays on first down were runs. They entered the day with the highest percentage of first-down runs in the league (64 percent).

• The fourth-and-2 decision from the Miami 37 was a good call, but that was a bad time to use the Wildcat. The Dolphins were all over Brad Smith's inside handoff to Shonn Greene; it was almost like they had the Jets' playbook. Wake must have read something because he knifed inside from the edge, knowing it would be an inside run. It might have had a different outcome, but FB Tony Richardson missed his block on Dansby.

• Bad clock management on the Jets' last drive. Jerricho Cotchery made a short catch with 2:12 remaining and they failed to get off a play before the two-minute warning. Then, with 1:19 to play, Sanchez spiked it on a first down, killing their momentum after a nice pass to Cotchery. He panicked in that situation; there was no need to clock the ball even with no timeouts remaining.

Santonio Holmes prides himself on having "late hands" -- the ability the flash his hands at the last possible second before making a catch. Ideally, that tactic disguises his intentions, tricking the defender. Well, on his end-zone, his hands were too late. Holmes, wide open, was so nonchalant that he didn't get his hands out at all, and the soft pass grazed off his shoulder pads.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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