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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- We're handing out grades from the Jets' 30-9 loss to the Dolphins. The Jets won't get into a good college with this report card.
Shonn Greene's 36-yard run in the third quarter saved this from being an F. The Jets finished 105 yards, 27 more than the Dolphins were yielding per game. So that was a good thing, right? Not exactly. Until Greene's big run, which came on a first down, the Jets' first-down runs produced only 15 yards on eight attempts. The offensive line couldn't get movement, and when it did, Greene wasn't quick enough to capitalize. Without speedy Joe McKnight (ankle), the Jets operated with a tackle-to-tackle running attack. In other words, no outside speed.
This was an abomination, and everyone shares in the blame -- quarterback, line and receivers. There were four sacks, one interception, one fumble and a killer dropped pass (Stephen Hill). QB Mark Sanchez was horrendous in scoring territory. Inside the 21, he was 1-for-8, with one TD and one interception. He targeted Hill three times inside the 21, with no completions. The Jets were awful on third down (5-for-17), unable to handle the blitz. The Dolphins, playing without a starting corner, neutralized Jeremy Kerley. Clyde Gates (seven catches for 82 yards) was the only bright spot.
The Jets held them to 97 yards and a 2.9 per-carry average, certainly good enough to win. Except for one break-out run by Reggie Bush, a 19-yarder, they pretty much held their old friend in check, even forcing him to lose a fumble. The Jets played a lot of eight-man fronts, daring Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore to beat them through the air. There was a letdown on one of the biggest plays of the game: Daniel Thomas scored on a 3-yard run (on a third-down draw), ducking under tackle attempts by S Yeremiah Bell and DE Muhammad Wilkerson.
The Dolphins passed for only 149 yards, but we're not going to fall for that. The Jets should've controlled this aspect of the game, especially when Tannehill went out. They didn't do enough to affect the game -- only one sack and no takeaways on pass plays. Worse, they got burned for a couple of long plays -- 30 yards to Jabar Gaffney on a busted coverage and 37 yards to Marlon Moore, who beat CB Kyle Wilson cleanly. And how did 5-foot-7 CB Isaiah Trufant, giving away nine inches, get matched against Anthony Fasano on his 4-yard TD reception?
This wasn't just bad, it was historically bad. The Dolphins became the first team in 20 years to block a punt, block a field goal and recover their own onsides kick. The blocked punt for a touchdown, which came on an inexcusable blocking breakdown in the middle of the line, was the first against the Jets in 440 games -- the longest streak in NFL history. The Jets also allowed a 57-yard kickoff return, which changed momentum. Here's how bad it was for the Jets: Gates would've taken a kickoff return to the house, but he bumped into his own man, Demario Davis, to make it a 47-yarder.
Joe Philbin put on a clinic, embarrassing Rex Ryan and his staff. The Jets got caught napping on the onsides kick. Their special teams couldn't block anybody. They couldn't figure out the Dolphins' third-down defensive package. They stayed too long with the running game. They were too methodical in the third quarter, when they should've gone to a hurry-up offense. They failed, once again, to make use of Tim Tebow. (Wide receiver? Really?) There were miscommunications in the secondary. We could go on, but you get the point. The Jets simply weren't ready to play, and that goes to coaching.