Sunday, September 23, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Jets 23, Dolphins 20 (OT)
By Rich Cimini
MIAMI -- The Jets overcame a 10-0 deficit and the loss of star CB Darrelle Revis (knee) to beat the Dolphins 23-20, on Nick Folk's 33-yard field goal with 6:04 remaining in overtime. They caught two huge breaks. Dan Carpenter missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in OT. And Folk's initial attempt was blocked, but he got a second chance because Dolphins coach Joe Philbin had called a timeout to ice Folk.
What it means: The Jets (2-1) showed plenty of heart in a virtual must-win. Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, whose relationship blew up on this field this past New Year's Day, enjoyed their most prolific day together -- connecting for 147 yards. Holmes' 48-yard catch set up Folk's game winner. But don't put too much stock in the win. The Jets have serious issues, especially on offense.
Deserted island: Revis' knee injury appeared serious. He was carted off minutes after his left knee buckled while trying to tackle RB Daniel Thomas on a reverse screen. The All-Pro cornerback was in severe pain, the worst of all possible scenarios for the Jets' defense. Losing Revis for an extended period almost is the equivalent of losing a starting QB, as Rex Ryan relies heavily on Revis' rare man-to-man coverage skills. It would be devastating. This was Revis' first game after suffering a concussion two weeks ago.
Gloom over Miami: The Dolphins also lost their best player -- RB Reggie Bush, who suffered a knee injury late in the first half and didn't return. The Jets couldn't stop Bush, who ran for 61 yards. The Dolphins got too conservative without Bush, not trusting rookie QB Ryan Tannehill.
Tony's revenge: Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, fired by the Dolphins in December 2011, snuck out of Sun Life Stadium with an ugly but satisfying win. The Jets managed an eight-play, 53-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, ending with Sanchez's touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley for 7 yards on an all-out blitz. In overtime, they eeked out a field goal on a do-over. Their touchdown drought, which began last week, went six quarters before Kerley's score. The Jets squandered two goal-to-go situations, managing only three points.
Way off the Mark: Sanchez (21-of-45, 306 yards) pulled it out after 55 minutes of bad quarterbacking. Give him points for resilience, but he still made far too many mistakes. He threw two interceptions (the first was an awful throw in the end zone), and looked rattled at times. He overthrew two wide-open receivers, rookie Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens, on plays that should've been touchdowns. To his credit, Sanchez pulled himself together in crunch time.
Hill Street Blues: After an impressive opener, Hill has been exposed. He went without a catch for the second straight game, dropping a sure TD pass in the first half -- an absolute killer. He suffered a leg injury late in the game. He should've been benched before then, but the Jets don't have a capable veteran replacement. Holmes (nine catches, 147 yards) was the only weapon; he snapped a streak of 27 games without a 100-yard receiving day.
Big-play defense: Well, at least we know the Jets' defense is capable of making a big play, forcing two turnovers at the start of the third quarter. S LaRon Landry scored on an 18-yard interception return (the first of his career) and Revis scooped up a fumble deep in Miami territory. The plays occurred within eight seconds of each other. It was almost as if the defense, frustrated by the lack of offense, came together at halftime and decided to take over the game. This is dangerous territory. If it continues, it could create a split between the two units, an issue last season.
Tebow time: After heavy criticism for not using Tebow, the Jets finally integrated him into the offense -- as an H-back, not a quarterback. He took a season-high 14 snaps on offense -- 11 as an H-back, three in shotgun. This time, the Tebow package did more harm than good. He actually lost 5 yards on a goal-line play in which he was tackled after looking to pass into the end zone. Clearly, the Jets' grandiose plans for Tebow are a bust. His biggest play came on special teams, when he took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran for a first down to sustain a drive that ended with a field goal.
What's next: The schedule gets tougher, as the Jets return home to face the formidable 49ers.