Jets-Dolphins 3 Takeaways: Sam Darnold, Offense Can't Capitalize in 20-3 Loss to Dolphins

DeVante Parker Leads Dolphins with 119 Yards; Jets' Run Defense Starts Strong


Sam's Return
Much like most of the season, QB Sam Darnold and the Jets' offense had opportunities to score but could not in a 20-3 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. In his first game back after missing two starts with a right shoulder injury, Darnold completed 16-of-27 (59.3%) passes for 197 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs.

"I made two bad decisions and they ended up as two picks, and those suck," Darnold said. "But other than that I missed a couple of throws. I've got to be better. I didn't play well enough to win a ballgame today."

He added: "No one at the beginning of the season thought that we'd find ourselves in this position [0-11] at this point in the season, but at the end of the day it's football. We love our job, we love coming to work every day. We have a great group of guys that come to work every single day. We're just going to keep doing that and try and get a win this next week."

The offense had two scoring opportunities in the first half, both ending in field-goal tries. The first capped the 9-play, 65-yard opening drive and put the Jets in front, 3-0; but Sergio Castillo missed the second as time expired in the first half. In the fourth quarter, the Green & White had an opportunity to cut into Miami's 13-3 lead, but RB Frank Gore was stopped on fourth-and-1 on the Dolphins' 17-yard line.

"They do a good job of mixing up their fronts and their defenses," Head Coach Adam Gase said. "We didn't take advantage of any opportunities. We had guys open, we didn't hit them and when we made some good throws, we didn't finish the play. They're a tough defense to go against. You have a very small window of error."

It was Darnold's first time playing with his projected starting WRs at the beginning of the season -- Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. Perriman led the team with 79 yards and tied for the team lead with 4 receptions with Denzel Mims. Mims finished with 67 yards and Crowder had 3 catches for 31 yards. Perriman had two 25-plus-yard receptions including a beautiful sideline grab over Dolphins CB Byron Jones.

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Tale of Two Halves for Run D
The Jets defense, which entered Sunday's game No. 5 in the NFL in yards per carry (3.9), held the Dolphins to 16 rushing yards in the first half, but Miami finished with 104 yards on 25 carries. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 77.3 of his passes (17 of 22) in the first half and led the Dolphins to a 13-3 lead with 180 yards and 1 TD. He finished with 257 yards and 2 TDs.

"I have to give credit where credit is due," said LB Jordan Jenkins, who had half a sack and 1 forced fumble. "Fitz is a Harvard guy, he's a smart guy and knows how to make checks, pick up some blitzes and get his guys in the right position. Ultimately we didn't execute to the best of our ability on defense and we let plays go that we should have had stopped or got a flag."

He added: "We just have to go and look at some of the 50-50 balls we didn't get and look at some of the gap fits we did well and some we didn't do well. Just try and get it fixed and go out on a bright note."

The Jets young secondary started rookies Bryce Hall and Lamar Jackson on the outside for the second straight game. Undrafted rookie Javelin Guidry also saw action in the slot. DeVante Parker eclipsed the 100-yard mark with 119 yards on 8 catches, which both led the Dolphins and the Jets struggled to get off the field on third down and the Dolphins went 8 of 16.

Offense Can't Capitalize
The Jets were even in the turnover margin as the defense forced four fumbles and recovered two. Down by 13-3, DL Quinnen Williams, who finished second on the team with 7 tackles and had 1.5 sacks, popped the ball out of RB Matt Breida's hands and LB Harvey Langi recovered at the Miami 45-yard line. The Dolphins lost the ball on their next possession as Jenkins forced a fumble on RB Patrick Laird. LB Neville Hewitt recovered and set the Jets up on Miami's 26 after a 17-yard return. The Jets offense, however, couldn't capitalize and came away with 0 points off the turnovers.

"Defense stopped the ball and forced those guys to punt, especially in the second half," Gase said. "We got opportunities. We just didn't make the plays we needed to make. The red zone, we didn't get it done. Obviously, three points is what we get for that. We just have to find a way to make the plays when they are there to be made."

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