As ugly as the game against Pittsburgh was last week, this one against the Dolphins was worse. The only redeeming quality was that the Jets walked away with the win in overtime, 23-20.
The offense was completely inept through most of the game. The receivers and tight ends had drops and miscues. The running game was terrible. It’s time for Bilal Powell to start getting more carries. He had 10 for 45 yards. Shonn Greene had 19 for 40 yards. Or it’s time for the Jets to stop pretending they’re a ground-and-pound team. They simply don’t have the pieces to play that game.
Some of play calling was suspect – not Schottenheimer suspect, but suspect – for example, no Tim Tebow on the one yard line? Mark Sanchez had what is probably the ugliest 300+ yard passing game in NFL history – 21 for 45 for 306 yards with 1 touchdown. Sanchez was sacked once and intercepted twice, once when Clyde Gates didn’t finish his route and let the defender get better position than him, and a weird play in the end zone where somehow Stephen Hill, who has disappeared since Week 01, didn’t even make a play on a ball.
It should be noted that neither interception was as bad a decision as his choice to throw into a crowd during over time. Sanchez did manage to get the job done when it mattered, putting together a drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead and then again in overtime to put the Jets in field goal position.
On the other hand, Santonio Holmes finally earned his paycheck, with nine receptions for 147 yards. Jeremy Kerley had two receptions for 73 yards.
The defense kept the Jets in the game, with LaRon Landry running a Ryan Tannehill interception back for a touchdown and Darrelle Revis recovering a fumble, but this defense is not the elite defense Jets fans were promised. There were no sacks today against a rookie quarterback and a mediocre offensive line. There wasn’t even that much pressure. They allowed conversions on 10 of 19 third downs. They didn’t do a good job stopping the run. After Revis left with a knee injury, the passing defense also took quite a hit too. In the Revis-Antonio Cromartie-Kyle Wilson tandem, Wilson is the weakest link. Wilson was flagged for pass interference for 19 yards that put the Dolphins in field goal range in the fourth quarter when the Jets had the lead with about a minute left.
The difference in this game ended up being that New York’s kicker was perfect – Nick Folk was 2 for 2 – and Miami’s was not. Dan Carpenter was 2 for 4.
Well. A win’s a win. Jets are 2-1 and 2-0 in division play so far, but Jets fans can’t feel good about what they saw this week. The fact that the Jets could play so badly and still were able to win says more about how bad Miami is than anything positive about the Jets.
If the Jets want to even sniff the playoffs this season, they’re going to have to get a lot better in a very short period of time. A performance like the one today isn’t going to fly against the 49ers or the Texans. Fortunately, most of the mistakes today – timing mistakes between Sanchez and the receivers, for example – are correctable.
The Jets play the 49ers at home next week. Kickoff is at 1:00.