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Saturday, December 11, 2010
Sanchez, Folk look to bounce back


Prior to Monday night, the last time the New York Jets lost a game by at least 40 points was in 2006 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The next week they recovered, beating the Miami Dolphins at home, 20-17. They face the Dolphins at home this week, hoping for a similar result.

Two Jets have had significant issues recently and will likely play a role in whether the Jets bounce back. Let’s take a closer look at their struggles and how they relate to this contest.

Mark Sanchez
In his first six games this season, Mark Sanchez threw for nine touchdowns and two interceptions. In his last six games, he has seven touchdowns and nine picks, including three interceptions in the loss to the Patriots. According to our video review team, Sanchez joined Matt Moore and Rusty Smith as the only quarterbacks this season to have three underthrown passes get picked off in a game.

One telling thing to watch could come the first time the Dolphins blitz with a defensive back.

Last week, the Dolphins blitzed the Browns from the secondary seven times and were effective, allowing only three completions for 27 yards. That’s a contrast to their season totals. Miami has allowed opponents to complete 70 percent of passes against the secondary blitz. No NFL team has done worse.

Sanchez ranks second in the NFL this season with a 107.0 passer rating when the opponent blitzes with a defensive back. Though he went only 1-for-4 against the Miami secondary blitz in Week 3, the one completion was a 67-yard touchdown throw to Braylon Edwards in the third quarter, which put the Jets ahead to stay.

That touchdown came on a blitz in which Miami had four defensive backs on the field (as opposed to a nickel or dime defense). When the Dolphins have blitzed in those four defensive back situations, opponents are 10-for-11 for 145 yards, and more significantly, no sacks allowed.

Nick Folk
Nick Folk has reverted back to the ways that led him to be cut by the Cowboys last season. The Jets lead the NFL in missed field goals with nine and are second-to-last in field goal percentage at 71.9 percent.

After a stretch in which Folk made 9-of-10 field goals, he’s since gone 7-for-13. Five of the misses have come from 47 yards or longer, so they haven’t been easy tries (all seven makes have been inside 40 yards), but they’ve been important ones. All six of Folk’s missed kicks have come in situations in which the Jets led or trailed by six points or less.

If the game comes down to a late kick, Jets coach Rex Ryan may not have confidence in his man, but Dolphins coach Tony Sparano should feel good about taking a shot with Dan Carpenter, who is tied for the NFL lead in field goals of 40 yards or longer, with 13 makes in 19 tries.

Carpenter is 4-for-6 from 50 yards and beyond, the only kicker in the league with that many field goals of that distance. That could be the difference in a matchup that has historically been a close one. The last four Dolphins-Jets matchups in New Jersey have been decided by seven points or fewer.