by Patrick Stanton
JetNation Senior Columnist
Brooks Bollinger (28/42, 327 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) A+ Ladies and gentlemen, youâ€™ve just witnessed the Brooks Bollinger coming out party. What is there to say really? Bollinger played an exceptional game by all standards, let alone the standards pertaining to a 3rd string QB. He stayed cool in the ever collapsing pocket, scrambled when necessary and made some very solid plays on the run. Bollinger played his heart out in this one and nearly pulled it out, doing everything within his power to allow the Jets to win this one. If Pennington isnâ€™t 100% next year and the Jets decide not to pursue a veteran QB, one has to wonder whether this might not be Bollingerâ€™s team in 2006?
Cedric Houston (15 rushes, 84 yards, 5.6 avg / 4 receptions, 40 yards): B+ Curtis Martin fans pointed to Houstonâ€™s low YPC average last week as reason to not get too excited about this kid. But after upping the average by 3 yards this week to 5.6, the Martin camp has nothing much to say. This kid is really making the most of his time in the spotlight and turned it up a notch today, almost doubling Martinâ€™s yard per carry average in the process. He refuses to go down after initial contact and is proving to be a tough guy to stop alone. If thereâ€™s any negative to Houstonâ€™s running style, itâ€™s his bruising, refuse to go down mentality that makes you wonder whether he could make it through an entire season. While on the topic of refusing to go down, itâ€™s that running style which also caused him to cough up what amounted to be a game changing fumble. The fumble dropped him to a B+ from an A-, but donâ€™t bag on the rookie for it too badly. The kid was just trying to make a play.
McCareins (2/ 57) B ; Coles (4/53, 1 TD) A- ; Cotchery (4/44) B+
I really like what Iâ€™m starting to see from Cotchery as he continues to be willing to run routes over the middle and take shots. He must be doing something good, because Bollinger has started looking for him more and more as time progresses. Coles made a nice play on the end zone fade and showed a couple good moves in the open field. McCareins was well, McCareins.
Doug Jolley (9/102, 1 TD) A
After dropping last weekâ€™s early Christmas Present from Bollinger in the end zone, Jolley wasnâ€™t about to make the same mistake twice. With a nice read by Bollinger and a little â€˜turf monsterâ€™ luck, Jolleyâ€™s 60 yard TD made for the longest scoring play from scrimmage all year for the Jets. Aside from that play, Jolley has quietly become one of Bollingerâ€™s favorite targets and is beginning to validate Bradwayâ€™s trade to an extent. While he still has a slight case of the â€˜dropsiesâ€™ that he needs to rid himself of in the off-season, I see no reason why he canâ€™t become an important part of the Jets passing game next year.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D+
Iâ€™d say the pocket collapsed one too many times today but there would have had to have been a pocket in the first place for that to be true. The Offensive Line allowed 6 sacks today and at times the line of scrimmage resembled a prison chain gang jailbreak with Dolphin defenders everywhere. When they werenâ€™t blowing assignments, the OL of the Jets were getting blown backwards by Dolphin defenders and driven into Bollinger. I hope Adrian Jones gave his title deed to Jason Taylor before the game because he got absolutely owned.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B
Dewayne Who??? For the second time in two weeks, the Jets defensive line didnâ€™t look half bad and during that time, Dewayne Robertson was nowhere to be found. Is that a coincidence or is there something there? With the ineffective Robertson and invisible Shaun Ellis absent from this weekâ€™s game, Legree, Thomas and the Jets defensive line stepped up today and played a decent game. While they didnâ€™t make a dent in the sack category, the DL, anchored by a resurgent John Abraham, were thorns in the Dolphins side all day. Abraham continues to make his case for a long term deal with another strong pass rushing effort in todayâ€™s loss.
Jonathan Vilma is like the Visa card, heâ€™s everywhere you want to be. I have to be brutally honest, I spend so much time watching Vilma that when it comes to observing Hobson and (this week) Gardner, I have to struggle to remind myself to do it. The Jets LBs did a decent job of shutting down the middle of the field to Dolphin receivers and did an excellent job of preventing Brown and Williams from beating us in the short passing game. With the exception of Williamâ€™s TD run (in which Abraham was being ridiculously held on), the Jets LB corps had a solid day.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: B-
On paper, the defensive secondary of the Jets didnâ€™t have that bad of a game, holding Marty Booker and Chris Chambers to 99 total yards on 6 catches combined. Unfortunately, they managed to waste a good effort when they gave up a 50 yard bomb to Booker late in the game that proved to be a killer. Barrett made a nice play on the interception while Erik Coleman was everywhere, leading the team with 7 tackles. This secondary has began to come together in recent weeks, albeit 15 weeks late. Letâ€™s hope they can at least use this as a spring board to a better campaign in 2006.
Ben Graham (5 punts, 43.2 avg, 53 long, 1 inside 20yd line) B+ Another solid game from Jets MVP Ben Graham. Honestly though, how many of you were hoping Graham would have had more time to pick up that terrible snap and run people over Australian Rules Style?
Mike Nugent (2/2, Made: 42, 42) A-
It would appear Nuge has shaken the cobwebs out of his leg as he continues to thread FGs as of late. While I wonâ€™t knock the pooch punt decision by Edwards, I would have loved to have seen Nugent try the shot from 53 just out of sheer curiosity. Nugentâ€™s first 42 yard FG looked like it would have been good from 52 easily. Nice tackle to save the TD on his part as well.
Coach Edwards, why do you do this to us? You and your staff were essentially coaching one hell of a game up to the point of that 1st & 5 deep in Miamiâ€™s territory late in the game. The first try into the end zone – a good call. You know you only need 5 yards and you have plenty of time, why not try to poke it in? But on second and third down, with 2 minutes remaining? I really donâ€™t get it. You still have a time out, you still have plenty of time, why not keep chipping away underneath or even running Bollinger on a draw? Edwards and Dinger hit the panic button plain and simple. They had plenty of time to get close to the goal line but chose to go for the money shot instead. Speaking of time outs, Coach Edwards still doesnâ€™t grasp the concept of clock management, as he wasted 2 time outs with 4+ minutes still remaining on the clock. The Dolphins are going backwards at that point and youâ€™re getting the ball back? Why not wait until later to burn those 2? Regardless, the Jets came to play today and Edwards, Dinger and Henderson deserve some credit. Dinger really opened things up and left the conservatism at home for the first time and Bollinger shredded the Fish apart.