EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – On fan appreciation night in the New Meadowlands Stadium, there wasn’t much that Jet fans could appreciate.
For the second straight week, the offense has failed to get the ball in the endzone as the Dolphins (7-6) downed the Jets, 10-6. Players couldn’t hold on to the ball, the run game was non-existent, and Mark Sanchez was not on the same page of his receivers all night long.
“It makes you sick,” Mark Sanchez said after the game. “I’m really upset. I think the whole team is too, but we squandered an opportunity today. We had plenty of chances to win; we just couldn’t capitalize on offense.”
In a game that was low scoring–not because of dominant defensive play, but offensive ineptitude due to inclement rain for most of the game–the biggest play was, in fact, one that wasn’t made.
On a drive that started at Miami’s 38-yard line due to a Calvin Pace strip-sack that was recovered by Sione Pouha mid-way through the second quarter, the Jets (9-4) moved the ball to the 17-yard line. On the next play Sanchez pump faked down the middle, which forced Dolphins cornerback Steve Smith to stop dead in his tracks. This left Santonio Holmes wide open in the back of the endzone. Sanchez threw to the open Holmes only to see the ball fall through his hands and hit the turf.
“For every drop there’s probably three or four poorly thrown balls,” Sanchez said. “It falls on the quarterback and I have a lot of work to do, so I’ll be the one to fix it.”
As it would turn out, that’s the best chance the Jets would have in the game.
After Rex Ryan made it known that he would receive the ball in his team won the coin flip, in an effort to jump start a Jets offense that hasn’t scored a touchdown since the third quarter of the Bengals game on Thanksgiving Day, the offense still couldn’t get anything going.
The Jets first drive ended in a three-and-out. And their second and third drives ended with turnovers by Mark Sanchez, one an interception by Nolan Carroll and a fumble that was recovered by Dolphins linebacker Quentin Moses.
“The turnovers hurt us early,” Ryan said. “We had poor execution on offense, in particular with dropped passes and the protection from a lot of guys. It shouldn’t be blamed on one person.”
The Dolphins made the most of the Jets first quarter miscues, as they scored on both turnovers, as their defense was able to hold the lead. Carroll’s interception set-up a 47-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. And the fumble recovery by Moses led to the games only touchdown, a six-yard pass to Brandon Marshall.
“It felt good, but we have to clean things up on offense,” Marshall said. “I’m one of the leaders on offense and we have to get going.”
In a game that featured total yardage numbers of 131 (MIA) and 280 (NYJ), it was clear that both sides were playing a battle of field position. And in this battle, Dolphins’ punter Brandon Fields was the warrior. He had 10 punts for an average of 56.4 yards. Steve Weatherford also had a solid game, punting the ball eight times and downing the ball inside the 20 six times.
“I tip my hat to their punter. I thought he was a big difference in this game. He punted them out of [poor] field position a lot of times,” Ryan said.
Nick had field goals of 35 and 42 yards in the game. For Folk, the 42-yarder he hit in the fourth quarter marked the first time he’s been good from 40+ yards since Oct. 17 at Denver.
Ryan, with his team ending five drives in Miami’s 35-40 yard line, chose to punt instead of forcing a shaky Folk to kick from long distances, as he’s done in the past.
The word that’s being thrown around the most to describe the state of this Jets team is desperation.
“It’s critical,” Antonio Cromartie said after the game. “Right now, we just lost two division games. We need to do things as a team and capitalize on what we need to capitalize on.”
The loss for the Jets comes as a tough game to swallow as this was an easily winnable game. After being undefeated in their division and, seemingly, controlling their own destiny just a mere two weeks ago, the Jets have suffered two straight divisional losses and look lost offensively.
The road won’t get any easier for the Jets as they will travel to Pittsburgh next week and to Chicago the following week.
- Injury Report: Eric Smith left the game with an apparent head injury. The team is not calling it a concussion, but have not rule out the possibility either. Smith did not finish the game. Damien Woody left the game did not return with a knee injury. He has been nursing this knee injury for the last two weeks. Shonn Greene finished the game but suffered neck problems, he will be re-evaluated tomorrow. Trevor Pryce left the game with a hip injury, to which Rex Ryan labeled as “minor”.
- The Jets, 31 rushes-87 yards-2.8 yards per carry, were once again ineffective with the running game.
- Sanchez’s 44 attempts matches his career high for a game. The last time he did it was in wins against Cleveland on Nov. 14 and Minnesota on Oct. 11.
- Miami’s Cameron Wake added to his NFL-leading sack total of 14 with two sacks Sunday.
- New York’s Sione Pouha enjoy a nice game, tallying 10 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery.
- With Woody out of the game and left guard Matt Slauson hampered with injuries, the offensive line gave up five sacks on the day. That’s the most the unit has given up all season.
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