Have the New York Jets finally arrived? This is the question Jets fans find themselves asking after the team’s 40-17 blowout win against the floundering Miami Dolphins. While Dolphins fans will be quick to point out (and rightfully so), that their team was without their top cornerback, their starting left tackle and their top two quarterbacks, you’ll have to excuse Jets fans for not caring. Not even a little bit.
Ravaged by injuries for much of the past few seasons, the Jets have grown accustomed to going to battle undermanned in terms of sheer talent and an alarmingly high number of players held out due to injury. Nobody cared about the Jets then. So nobody should expect the Jets or their fans to care about anyone else now.
Already without starting quarterback Tua Tagovaiola, the fins lost second-string quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the day after just one pass attempt. On Miami’s opening drive, Bridgewater dropped back to throw and was far too late in realizing that Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner was streaking in to the backfield on a corner blitz. Before he could set to throw, Gardner had a helmet planted in Bridgewater’s rib cage, leading to an intentional grounding call that resulted in a safety. It was 2-0 Jets and they led the rest of the way.
Rookie running back Breece Hall led the way on offense, picking up a combined 197 yards (100 receiving, 97 rushing) to go along with a late touchdown. All behind an offensive line that saw second-year lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker play his first ever game at right tackle after swapping from right guard to left tackle last week.
“STILL ON HIS FEET, DRAGGING DEFENDERS!!”
Kevin Harlan’s call of @nyjets rookie RB Breece Hall’s HUGE 79-yard play
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— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 9, 2022
The Jets other touchdowns, all of the rushing variety, came from Michael Carter (2), Zach Wilson and Braxton Berrios.
The game had an eerie feeling as the first half came to a close. Despite holding a 19-17 lead, the Jets were letting the beaten up Dolphins hang around and had allowed Miami to score 10 unanswered points. Largely a result of pass interference calls and poor tacking against the run for a long stretch, the Dolphins were able to climb back in the game before the Jets put up 21 consecutive points in the second half.
Even with that defensive lapse, there were some impressive individual efforts throughout. Carl Lawson picked up a sack and fought his way in to the offensive backfield several times over, picking up multiple pressures to go along with his strip sack. John Franklin-Myers had a pressure that led to Sauce Gardner’s first career interception. Quinnen Williams also continued his monster season, picking up a sack and a fumble recovery.
All in all a good day for the Jets who shouldn’t be getting too carried away over beating an undrafted rookie free agent at quarterback, but who should be plenty happy over hanging 40 points on a division rival at home. Next up? Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on the road.