2009 Week 5 Jets At Miami
There was great anticipation for this Jets-Dolphins Monday night game, and then when it was over, there was great disappointment. At least on the Green & White side of the ledger.
"We're still in first place. It just doesn't feel like it right now," said Rex Ryan, whose defense fell prey to the double-headed Wildcat of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and the eye-opening accuracy of QB Chad Henne in the Jets' last-second 31-27 loss to the Dolphins. Indeed, the loss dropped the Jets to 3-2 and back into that first-place tie with the Patriots atop the AFC East.
"We gave away a great effort from our offense. We never answered the call like I know we're able to on defense," Ryan said. "We couldn't stop the run or the pass today. Other than that, we played great," Ryan said. "Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
That's the mood one will get from a proud defensive guru who just saw his prized unit give up 413 yards, 23 first downs, nine third-down conversions and three final-period touchdowns. The last score came at the end of the 'Fins' final long drive of the night, a 70-yarder that was consummated to the delight of the Land Shark Stadium crowd by Brown's 2-yard bolt up the middle out of the 'Cat with six seconds to go.
It was a great game from a national football standpoint — five fourth-quarter lead changes surely pumped up ESPN's ratings for this game. But any good for the Jets was wiped up by the defense's struggles.
There was Braylon Edwards' Jets debut, and a successful one at that. He caught five passes from Mark Sanchez for 64 yards, most of the sure-handed, wow-factor kind. His first grab was a 3-yard TD strike from the rookie QB to even the score at 7-7 with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
He added a 34-yard leap-and-snatch — originally it was ruled a 35-yard TD — that set up Thomas Jones' first short touchdown run, and followed that with a 49-yard pass interference call drawn on CB Will Allen to frame Jones' second TD run.
"It felt good. I myself feel I helped a little bit," said Edwards, who continued his strong Monday night showings that began with three 100-yard games for the Browns all last season. "Obviously, we didn't get the win. We left some plays out there on offense, which is going to happen. We have to try and come back tomorrow, Wednesday, and clean those plays up."
Sanchez, in his first prime-time exposure as the Jets' quarterback of the present and future, cleaned up his game, not with a super passing line — he was 12-for-24 for 172 yards and one TD — but with the things he didn't do. After turning the ball over four times and getting sacked four times at New Orleans eight days earlier, he had no giveaways and was sacked once for minus-1 yard.
"Sure, taking care of the ball was a lot better," he said. "Three picks to no picks is better. Just be smart taking care of the football. We did that but we came up a little bit short."
Coming up short seemed to crush Calvin Pace as much as it did his coach. Pace finally returned from his four-game NFL suspension to start the season and the hope was that he would be the catalyst toward a return to the dominating defense the Jets showed in opening the year 3-0. Instead, the Jets had no sacks of Henne, who completed 20 of 26 for 241 yards and two touchdowns, short to TE Anthony Fasano and long to WR Ted Ginn. In fact, they didn't even have any QB hits, according to the Dolphins stat crew.
"I feel good," Pace said with a small smile. "After the first series, I think the whole comeback thing was pretty much gone. It was a little faster than practice.
"But we just didn't make plays," he lamented. "One play could've changed the game, but at no time in the game did we affect the game, make them go away from what they were doing."
Underscoring that statement was the fact that the Jets had no takeaways, not even a forced fumble.
"It was very shocking," Revis said. "We're very upset."
One play was even given up by Revis, who'd stood tall through the first quarter of the season with his shutdown coverage of top NFL receivers. But Ginn's double move got him behind Revis and Kerry Rhodes for the 53-yard strike from Henne that came between Jones' two scoring runs and gave the hosts their next-to-last lead.
"Ginn is Ginn. He's a speed guy and with that double move, I think they set me up," Revis said. "I read it wrong. That's something I take accountability for."
And this game is something the Jets need to put in their rearview mirrors, pronto. There are worse outcomes than losing a tight, back-and-forth road game to a division rival — the defending AFC East champion, after all — that was playing with some desperation of its own after starting 0-3.
But there aren't many worse outcomes than letting such a difficult defeat linger through a short week and affect the next game, which is at home against the reeling Buffalo Bills.
"We didn't do our part," said Pace. "That being said, we've got to move on. Buffalo's not going to feel sorry for us. We've just got to come back and get the next one."
Feely in the Record Book
Jay Feely also had a good night. He hit a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter to forge a 10-10 tie, then converted a "one-minute drill" at the end of the half with a 43-yarder, his longest of the season, to put the Jets up at halftime, 13-10.
The significance of the two kicks is that Feely is now tied with Pat Leahy for most consecutive field goals made in franchise history. Leahy nailed 22 straight in 1985-86 and is joined by Feely, who could claim the record for himself by hitting his next try as soon as Sunday against the Bills, who happen to be the team against which he had his last miss, from 37 yards out at Buffalo in Game 8 last season.
The Jets executed two successful fake punts. The first came on the Jets' opening drive, when they appeared to have gone three-and-out, only to have punter Steve Weatherford motor 26 yards from his 34 for the first down. It was the Jets' first fake punt for a first down since Matt Turk carried 14 yards in 2002 vs. New England. ... Then in the second quarter, upback Brad Smith took the direct snap from James Dearth and dodged his way for 12 yards on fourth-and-3 en route to Feely's first FG.
Edwards' TD catch ended a 12-game scoring drought for the fifth-year man. His last TD came for the Browns last Nov. 2 in a loss to the Ravens, Rex Ryan's team at the time. ... Ricky Williams' 59-yard reception in the first quarter was the longest by an opposing RB since Fred Taylor went 72 yards with a pass from Mark Brunell at Jacksonville in 2002.
The Jets' game captains are Sanchez, Pace, Damien Woody and Jay Feely. ... Referee Alberto Riveron, presiding over his first Jets game, announced the first penalty of the game, a false start on the Dolphins, in Spanish. ... The Dolphins wore their orange jerseys, in which they were 2-0 all-time entering the game. But when the Jets had worn white jerseys down here in prime time games, they had won their last three over the 'Fins.