Sunday, September 23, 2012
Jets' defense scores again
By Walter Villa
MIAMI – For the second time in three games this season, the Jets defense scored a touchdown.
That’s big for any team, but it’s vital on a day like Sunday when the Jets’ offense was struggling to score before emerging with a 23-20 overtime win.
The Jets trailed 10-3 when the Dolphins ran the second play of the second half. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill faced a second-and-10 from his own 6-yard-line and rolled right in an effort to hit tight end Anthony Fasano.
But Jets safety LaRon Landry cut in front of Fasano, made an interception at the 18 and easily ran it in for a score. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie got the Jets’ first pick-six this season, doing it against the Bills.
Landry, though, said his team’s struggling offense was not a factor in the way he played the ball.
“I always want to score, whether we’re scoring a lot or a little,” he said.
Landry, known more for his hard hits than for his coverage ability, said he had to assess the Dolphins’ “threats” before he decided to break on the ball.
But once he did, he was quick and decisive, showing the speed and athletic ability that made him a Redskins’ first-round pick and a Jets target this past off-season in free agency.
“I read Tannehill’s eyes,” Landry said. “I knew I could break in front of (Fasano). That was my mind-set when I read my threats – go get the ball.”
On the Dolphins’ next play from scrimmage, the Jets’ defense was at it again, forcing running back Daniel Thomas to fumble. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis recovered at the Miami 26.
Overall, though, the Jets’ defense did have its issues on Sunday, allowing 185 yards on the ground and 4.3 per rush. Those numbers might have been even worse had the Dolphins’ best runner – Reggie Bush – not left the game late in the first half due to an injury. Bush had 10 carries for 61 yards.
The Jets were better in the air, holding Tannehill to 16 of 36 for 196 yards and a dismal 42.8 QB rating.
But that’s still not cause for celebration when you consider that Tannehill is a rookie, the Dolphins lack anything resembling elite targets at wide receiver or tight end, and the Jets have loudly proclaimed that they are a top-five defense.
Revis, who limped off the field with 4:06 left in the third quarter, left the Jets exposed at cornerback late in the game. Tannehill took advantage and drove the Dolphins to a tying field goal on his last effort of regulation and very nearly the game-winning kick in overtime.
On the Dolphins’ last drive in regulation, cornerback Kyle Wilson was flagged for pass interference, giving Miami a first down on a third-and-2 play from the New York 42. That put Miami in field-goal position, sending the game to overtime.
Then in overtime, Cromartie was victimized by Brian Hartline, who got free with a stop-and-go double move. That play gained 41 yards to the Jets’ 35.
“They play a lot of man coverage,” Tannehill said of the Jets. “I think we did a good job protecting against anything they brought us.
“We got them on their heels with our tempo and running the ball. They weren’t able to get into their dynamic blitzes like they had shown on tape.
“But they’re a good defense, and you have to respect what they have on the outside.”