The Jets (3-2) snapped their 12-game AFC East losing streak on Sunday, taking down the Dolphins (3-2) by 40-17 in the Green & White's first division matchup of the 2022 season. Here are three takeaways from the game.
The Jets landed their knockout blow in the fourth quarter with 21 unanswered points, their most in any quarter this season.
"I think it was just a mindset," CB D.J. Reed said. "Even when we were up like 9 or 10 in the fourth. We were just like basically put your foot on the neck like literally just keep going. If there's blood in the water, you have to finish it and we wanted to play the whole game out regardless of what the score was."
Last season, the Green & White averaged 6.18 points per game in the fourth quarter, which ranked No. 20 in the league and had a -44 margin in the final frame, which ranked 28th. This season, the Jets rank No. 2 in the NFL with a plus-38 margin in the fourth quarter and are averaging a league-high 11.6 points per game in the fourth.
"When the fourth quarter turned, it felt like we went up a notch in all three phases," HC Robert Saleh said. "The offense finishing drives, the defense getting the ball, the offense turning turnovers into points and defense finishing the game, keeping them out of the end zone. It was an emphatic finish in the fourth quarter and something I feel like we've been doing since preseason. … I know they don't count, but the mindset counts in terms of how we trigger in the fourth quarter and get things done."
Rookies Starting Fast
The Jets' rookie class is paying early dividends.
Sauce Gardner, the No. 4 overall pick, set the tone on Sunday. Gardner blitzed off the edge on the defense's first play and hit Teddy Bridgewater's arm. Miami's backup QB was flagged for intentional grounding, which resulted in a safety. In the second quarter, Gardner registered his first NFL pick when he undercut Skylar Thompson's pass intended for River Cracraft after it was deflected by John Franklin-Myers.
RB Breece Hall, last week's Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week, made a case for winning the award again. Hall led the Jets with 100 receiving yards and 97 rushing yards on 19 carries (5.4 avg). He also had a rushing touchdown. Hall, who fell 1-yard shy of the end zone twice, broke a franchise record for most scrimmage yards in a game by a rookie.
"It's still going to be a rollercoaster, but I think it's clear to anyone who watches our tape, we have a really cool nucleus of young men who are only going to get better as time goes," Saleh said. "It has a chance to be a really explosive group. This is just one game and we have to go to Lambeau Field [to play the Packers next Sunday]. I'm sure they are going to be pissed off next week. The challenge is for this group to not stop."
Green Bay lost to the Giants, 27-22, in London early Sunday.
Containing The Cheetah
Entering Sunday's game, Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill, who led the NFL with 477 receiving yards, averaged 119.3 yards per game, and his running mate Jaylen Waddle 95.3. On Sunday, they combined for 10 catches, 70 yards and 0 touchdowns. The Jets held third-string QB Skylar Thompson to 166 passing yards, 90 of which came in the final frame.
While the secondary played held Miami's No. 3 passing attack in check, the Jets were flagged for three pass interference penalties by three different corners, which accounted for 95 yards.
"I have to go back and watch them," Saleh said. "Just looking up [at the videoboards], I'm not sure what more our guys can do with regard to looking back for the ball and trying to make a play on it, but that's part of what they're great at, too. They get on you, they get you on your heels with all their speed and they take their shots and their 50-50 balls. … Eventually we're going to make teams pay for throwing it up."
See the best images from the 40-17 victory over the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.